Step 7 – Just do it, enjoy it, and share it!
Tony’s message is simple here: The secret to living is giving.
Look at how far we have come as a species and realize that we’re extremely lucky. We have incredible technology that allows us to video chat with people from across the world, we have advanced medicine which will allow life expectancy to continue to rise, and we have all the opportunity in the world. Most of us have access to the internet where we have a world of information at our fingertips. Unfortunately, most people use it to look up funny cat photos and argue with strangers on the internet (keyboard warriors).
In this section, Tony discusses 3D printing, living longer, medical improvements, solar energy, NASA and their emergency shelter initiative, robots, tissue regeneration, nanotechnology, etc. The possibilities are endless. The future is much brighter than you think and every day we are making breakthroughs like never before! The quality of life is slowly improving for the entire world. It’s not as grim as some doomsdayers think it is.
Again, let’s go back to the question – what will give your life lasting meaning? You may think you want a million dollars because that money would fulfill certain needs and give you power, freedom, happiness, etc. But remember, you can have these feelings now, without the money. Give these to yourself now. Having money won’t actually change anything that is internal to your-self. So, find out what it is that you really want. Don’t just master the game of money, master the game of fulfillment, health, and relationships. As Tony says, “You don’t want to be the wealthiest guy in the graveyard.”
“Happiness isn’t something ready-made. It comes from your own actions” Dali Lama
“If you have a billion dollars and are ungrateful, you’re a poor man.. but if you have very little and are grateful for what you have, then you are truly rich.”
How can you improve your life right now, without money? Ask yourself this… How do you cultivate gratitude? Start by looking at the force that controls your mind, thoughts and emotions. Our decisions control the quality of our lives. Tony lays out 3 key decisions that we make throughout the day that determine the quality of our lives ad determine if we feel rich or poor.
1 – What are you going to focus on?
Where focus goes, you go. Focus on what you have and be grateful for what you have. Focus on improving your quality of life and those around you.
You have no reason to be ungrateful. Half of the world lives off of less than the cost of a coffee! According to GlobalIssues.org, 3 billion people live on less than $2.50 per day, and 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 per day. There is so much to be grateful for which doesn’t have anything to do with money. All the things you use in life were put there by the people who came before you, so you at least have them to thank for laying the ground work for the internet you browse, the books you read, the knowledge they acquired from experiences and passed on to you, the roads you drive on, the utility infrastructure you use. Someone had to lay all that ground work before you, so you have a lot to be thankful for. Again, focusing on what you have can be a very powerful practice.
Do you focus on what you can control or what you can’t control? You can’t control some things, so don’t focus on that. Instead, focus on your circle of influence. I will dive into this a little more when I finish reading the 7 habits of highly effective people. So far it is a great book and he talks a lot about working in your circle of influence. Don’t worry about what you can’t control.
You are not a “victim”, and if you think you are, you’re deceiving yourself. Take responsibility for your circumstances and your life. There is no one else to blame. Change your way of thinking, and things change.
2 – What does it mean?
How we feel about our lives has nothing to do with the events in our lives or financial condition. It’s controlled by the meaning we give these things. Your life becomes whatever meaning you give it. When you get into an accident what meaning do you give it? Do you tend to think it’s the end or the beginning? When something of significance happens to me, I look at it and question why. Is there a reason this is happening, and if so, why? I like to peel back the layers of an event and look at the root cause. All things happen in a way to guide us and to teach us something, so pay attention to those clues and if you can’t get to the bottom of it, at least you are starting by just becoming aware of it.
So, the next time something odd, or strange, or significant happens, become aware of it and say, hmmmm, that was interesting, I wonder why that happened.. And then ask what it means. I believe all events happen in order to help us grow, so look for that. You will get better and better at noticing these events and in-turn, you will start becoming more aware. Most people have a belief that things happen for a reason. It’s true in my book. When terrible things happen, they can seem like the end of the world at that moment, but think about an event from your past that you thought was terrible at the time. Did it help you grow? What did you learn from it? Can you look back on it and laugh? Some events I freaked out about are pretty comical now when I look back on it.
3 – What am I going to do?
The actions we take are heavily influenced by our emotions and thoughts. Emotions, thoughts, and actions can all be primed. You must train yourself to focus and feel good. Priming for self-esteem influences the monitoring of one’s own performance
The best way to get started is to develop a 5-10 minute practice to cultivate gratitude each day. Do it in the morning to jump start your day. Don’t make it into a chore because that will defeat the whole purpose of it. Don’t just think of the things you are grateful for, feel those feelings as well. You can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. Tony’s routine goes something like this: Reflect on what you are grateful for, send love and blessings to all people, focus on three things for you to continue to thrive (three things you want to accomplish), and then visualize yourself achieving that and feel those feelings as if you have already achieved it.
A lot of us have this mindset of always wanting more. We want to earn more, we want to have more things, we want to have a bigger house, a better car, and more, more, more. Your mind is still a 2 million year old structure and its main goal is survival. We still have that reptilian part of the brain and you have to control it.
“Stand guard at the doors of your mind” Jim Rohn
The key to life is growth and contribution. Find something you would give your life for. What are you most passionate about? What would you like to create or give, and to whom?
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give” Winston Churchill
So, as Tony states in his book, “here comes the counter intuitive part.” This book has been about how to earn and save more, which can be like a disease. Always trying to earn more and more, but you have to ask…. for what? We all know those people that just work and work with the only purpose being for more money. Working just to make money isn’t going to fulfill you. As thousands have said before, find your passion and do that, and naturally the money will come.
Now, the counter intuitive part of this book. Find ways to give. The more you give, the more you get. I can say that this is true for myself. When I wasn’t giving, I didn’t get a lot in return. The more I started giving, the more I get in return. It feels very good to give. Don’t give just to get something back. Give because you want to. Find something that inspires you to give. Tony advocates for Swipe Out, which goes toward world hunger, child slavery, and disease. Every time you make a purchase at the store with your debit card, it gets rounded to the next dollar, and that change goes to Swipe Out. So for example, if you buy a bagel for $2.55, you get charged $3, and the $.45 goes towards Swipe Out.
For me, I also give to Kiva. Kiva makes micro loans to entrepreneurs across the globe in developing countries (I think about 80 countries). I like this because 100% of the money goes to the person trying to improve their business, whether it is a farm or small shop. I really love it because I’m helping people who are empowering themselves. They are trying to do something to improve their situation. Also, once they pay back their loan, I can reinvest that money to help more people. That money will keep helping people over and over again.
It doesn’t have to just be money. You can give your time, your love, your knowledge, your presence, etc. The more you give, the happier you are. There have been many studies done on this. Here is a great article – Huffington Post, and another article Wall Street Journal.
That’s it… Those are the 7 steps to financial freedom! Read, review, and implement them today!!
Here are some other resources I found throughout the book:
Want to analyze your portfolio? Go to stronghold financial.com for a free analysis
If you have a 401K, consider Americas Best 401K. According to Tony, this is the best low fee 401K in America. If you want to see how many fees your current 401K is racking up, check out their 401K fee checker.
Use living trusts to protect your family and to avoid things like probate. Go to getyourshittogether.org
Three quick steps to fulfill your goals (Tony has many books on this topic, so check those out too)
List your short term, midterm, and long term goals and why they are important to you.
Step 1 – Unleash the desire. Make a decision to never go back. Unleash your hunger for it and have a laser like focus.
Step 2 – Take massive and effective action. Do whatever it takes to make your dream a reality. Effective execution is necessary.
Step 3 – Grace and guidance. This is when you go for what you truly want and God or the universe steps in and we have these so called “coincidences”. Acknowledge them and be grateful.
Find your gift and give it to as many people as possible. Don’t complain about outside circumstances. Start from the inside out. Declare what you intend to do. What you get won’t make you happy, but what you become will make you happy or sad. Just make small steps every day and savor and celebrate the victories. Invest in yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Become better and become more valuable. Again, focus on what you can control.