We lounged back into our floating chairs, drinking in more than the margaritas in our hands. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees. The sun was shining, beating against our skin. The sound of the Caribbean steel drums softly played in background.
Paradise. Pure paradise.
“Why can’t we live like this always?”
Well? Why can’t we?
“Yeah right. As soon as we make a million dollars, this is what we’ll do.”
And so we flew off to our home with a mortgage, our 9 to 5 jobs, credit card bills to pay, and all the stress that comes with it.
Have You Established An Unrealistic Goal?
“When we make a million dollars, we’ll …”
I bet you’ve said it too. In fact, I bet it’s a phrase that’s used all across the world every single day.
But what does a million dollars have to do with anything? What will $1 million (or whatever your number is) really do for you that you don’t already have in place? Why is that the one thing that is holding you back?
In many cases, I find people use money as a holdback for one of three reasons:
1. You’re afraid of letting go of what you currently have in your life.
A million dollars is unattainable to most of us. It’s not something we can put our hands on in a short period of time.
Human nature tells us to be comfy and cozy, doing things we love and are comfortable with. We don’t like change, and appreciate when everything around us remains the same. Change is scary; why would we want that in our lives?
Instead of searching for change, we choose to keep things secure around us, even if we don’t truly love what’s already in place. Rather than setting ourselves up for failure, it’s much easier going with the flow.
So we use the million dollar figure – something that is unattainable in our current lives – as an excuse to not move forward with our dreams.
Maybe you’ve used it as a way to avoid starting up the business you’ve had in the back of your mind. “When I have a million dollars in the bank, I’ll start that business idea I have…”
When I told myself I needed a million in the bank before I was willing to start my own business, I was confirming the hidden belief that starting a business was scary. I may have to go months without a regular paycheck. I may have to learn things I currently didn’t know. And all of that scariness had its costs. For me to be willing to give it all up for something scary, I needed something secure as well.
That’s where changing your approach can help. After all, we all know we don’t need a million dollars to start up a business. So what is it that you do need in order to move forward? For me, it started out by developing a business card, signing up for a business class and attending a networking event to tell people about my new idea. The more I talked about it, the more life the idea took. And that little bit of positivity gave me what I needed to push a little harder.
2. You’ve never defined what you want in your life.
When you use the money concept in a generic way, it allows you to forgo thinking about the details it will take to put it into place.
So when I said “I’ll start a business once I have $1 million in the bank”, I gave myself permission to ignore the details of what it would take to put the business into action.
I didn’t have to think about what I would name the business. I didn’t have to worry about ordering business cards. I didn’t have to think about what I would sell. Or how I would run the day-to-day operations from my home.
In fact, I never saw the business at all. Instead, I used the concept to keep my dreams on a pedestal, instead of bringing them back down to earth and giving them what they truly needed to succeed.
3. You’ve never defined how much it costs to put your dream into place.
Very few things in life take one million dollars in your checking account to make it feasible.
Let’s say your dream is to go to Europe for a year. You can get a round trip airline ticket for around $1000, depending on the country you choose to fly into.
Then you need a place to stay. If you look at airbnb, you can easily find housing for $1000 a month and end up with a very nice place, even in the heart of the best cities in Europe.
Next comes food. Food won’t cost you any more than you are paying right now where you live, especially if you use the kitchen in your airbnb rental for most of your meals.
How about transportation? The train system works very well to get around, which could add a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to your expenses, depending on how much you travel. And if you want to travel extensively, you can pick up a used Fiat or Mini on Craigslist for a few thousand dollars.
Add it up. That’s a $1,000 for a plane ticket, $12,000 for a nice apartment, $5,200 for food (at roughly $100 a week), $5,000 for transportation, throw in a few thousand for incidentals, and you’re still well under $30,000 for a year in Europe!
That’s a long way from having to have a million dollars in the bank to make your dream of traveling in Europe for a year a reality.
Have you ever added up the numbers before? Like in the European calculations above, the numbers may truly surprise you when you see they are more doable than you thought they would be. And that’s the point.
We put off our dreams for a time when we have less fear about the unknown, and we BLAME it on lack of money because that’s what we’re taught to do. Yet we don’t have to. We don’t have to put off our dreams for when we have stronger bank accounts to support our actions. In most cases, we have all we need right now.