Ever since I was studying I had this urge to do great in life. First, it was being a good student, and then I was going to make it on the corporate ladder. I was going to leave my small town with its closed-minded views about the world, travel often and never run out of things to do or people to meet. After studying marketing management I expected to one day be a big marketing manager (and eventually even CEO) of an ever bigger company. I was going to be rich and I was going to have the good life I imagined.
About 4 years ago, I saw this documentary on Netflix, The Secret, about the law of attraction. Although strongly overdramatized, it had some ideas I still stand by today. Positive thinking, the power of the mind and the value of gratitude are things you should take into consideration when you’re trying to achieve something in life.
The power of the mind, for example, is something I consider to have a lot of influence in life. Not only being aware and in control of your own state of mind, but also in regards of external experiences such as pain. Pain is something that acts as a warning function. It shows us what not to do or what to be careful of. Now, if you bring pain upon yourself (by for example having a new tattoo, waxing your legs etc.), this function is not really needed. By being aware of this and controlling your mind, you can reduce this pain dramatically.
Looking into history, many people who achieved great things in life have acknowledged the power of this mindset. Just look at the following quotes:
- Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve – Napoleon Hill
- Imagination is everything, it is the preview of life’s coming attractions – Albert Einstein
- All that we are is the result of what we have thought – Gautama Buddha
- Whether you think you can or can’t, either way you are right – Henry Ford
- First, think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare – Walt Disney
Robert Collier, the author who inspired the Netflix movie, said to visualize the things you want. You have to see it, feel it and believe in it. Once you have this mental blueprint, you can begin. Visualizing could start by a simple vision board, so that’s what I did. Admittedly some parts of the board should be updated (read: sticking smiley faces over that ex who’s no longer in my life), but the main ideas are still valid. The only things that aren’t that accurate anymore are the material desires I used to have. A big house and fancy car I don’t need and therefore no longer want. (although the Ford Mustang ’64 convertible will forever be my dream car 😍).
Now all of this to show that I’ve had these big ambitions in life for a while now. I just didn’t really know how to achieve them yet.
While having these great ambitions, I also experienced some sort of duality. Something I also really longed for was freedom. And however you may twist and turn it, corporate and freedom don’t necessarily go hand in hand. I wanted to travel. I wanted to experience all that was out there in the great big world and live a life full of endless adventure. And so I did. At least for a year. However scared I was, I booked a ticket to South America. There was no way back.
Fast-forward one year and many incredible experiences and people later, I get back home to Belgium. Back to reality. Job hunting. Unfortunately (or better yet fortunately), my mindset had changed. I no longer wanted to work my ass off for someone else, the freedom had won the better of me. All I wanted now was to be happy. I wanted to keep experiencing what I did, on my own terms. Making my way up the corporate ladder wouldn’t give me the freedom to do so.
While traveling I had met many people who had found their own way to live a life of travel, almost permanently. Was it working while traveling, doing seasonal work or simply taking off for a couple of months a year, they had done it. They had found a way and so could I.
Regardless of this, I settled on a 9 to 5 job. I started working as a project consultant, doing different short time jobs in a variety of companies. This would keep me interested and give me the opportunity to learn different fields and trades in a short amount of time. My plan wasn’t very clear. In the back of my mind, however, I might have considered gaining experience to, in time, start my own business. This would ultimately allow me to travel and work at the same time.
It wasn’t until 4 months later, when I got back in touch with someone I met the year before, that I actually started to see things more clearly. He, a person who in my eyes had already succeeded in life, made me listen to an audio book, rich dad poor dad.
Rich dad poor dad tells the story of the author, Robert Kiyosaki, and how he grew up having two dads, his poor dad who was his real father and his rich dad, who was the father of a friend. Both people influenced his attitude towards money and investing. The book encourages you to adopt the same mindset and improve your financial knowledge.
Now of course, reading this wouldn’t be enough. I actually listened to the majority of the books in the rich dad series (which are many) but I still had a lot of work to do to get where I wanted to go. All these things were still pretty new to me so I started reading, listening and learning even more. First of all I had to make a shift in mindset and paradigms.
The main thing the rich dad series had taught me was to no longer work for money, but to make money work for me. How to do this is by creating passive income through things like real estate, trading/investing, business and patents or royalties. For me, now was the time to do so. I had nothing to lose, no family of my own yet, no mortgage payments, nothing. The worst that could happen was losing all the money I invested, which would mean just starting again from scratch.
The first things I would be focusing on were investing on the one hand, and real estate on the other hand. How exactly I started with these you’ll be able to read in my next posts! But first be sure to read the second part of this post, explaining which insights you can get from this story. More specifically I’ll focus on how to get more clarity on your own ambitions and goals in life.
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And don’t forget to make it happen!