The Best Year Ever

The wonderful aspect of this time of year is that everything resets starting tomorrow.  As we close out one year, another one open's up.  In the business world, most companies start their new accounting period beginning with the 1st.   This means that everyone is starting at the same place...zero.  No matter how poorly one did in 2012, the turning of the calendar  means that all is forgotten.  It is a new life for everyone.

Conscious Change

One problem that most have is they do not commit to making a conscious change in how they go about things.  For the cast majority of the population, the new year will be a repeat of the last year.  The reason I say this is because 2012 was simply a repeat of 2011.  Most lead lives that string together the repetitiveness of a mediocre life.  I detest taking this pessimistic view but that is what my research reveals.  Few ever take the initiative to radically change their lives.

I mentioned the word commitment.  Before anything can take place, one must fully commit to that end.  And, before that can happen, one needs to consciously decide what change is going to occur.  This is where most people are lost.  They do not look at their lives and commit to changing something.  Instead, they allow circumstances to dictate to them what occurs.  While I will admit that life has a way of throwing us surprises, the bottom line is that some of what occurs in our lives is within our control.  It is crucial that we focus our attention on these areas.

Sadly, of those who do decide to alter some part of their lives, most fall into the "New Year's Resolution Syndrome" where they make a half-hearted commitment to doing something.  The problem with this concept is the simple fact that it is too easy to fall back into the old habitual behavior.  We tend to live our lives according to patterns.  It takes great effort to eliminate a destructive pattern and replace it with another.  Failing to have total commitment almost ensure failure.  Hence why all those people with brand new gym memberships on the 1st of the year waste the next 11 months before it lapses.  The conscious change was not fully committed to resulting in poor performance. 

Rise Above Mediocrity

One commitment that I want you to make for the New Year is to rise above mediocrity.  Now, I know some of you are going to be offended by me calling you mediocre.  If you happen to be one of those people who is truly excelling in most areas of your life, then I commend you.  However, the greatest percentage of the population excels at under performance and exist on a plane that really is not worth living.  In short, they ascend to the heights of mediocrity and remain there.

The problem lies in the fact that society, in general, accepts mediocrity as the norm.  Politicians like to talk about the middle class but, when you think about it, what is the middle class really?  It is the largest number of people who reside at "average".  And this is something that society promotes as an ideal.  "Be comfortable" is the mantra.  Hogwash.  You are here to excel and squeeze everything you can out of life.  From this point forward, keep this idea firmly planted in your mind.

So how do we go about squeezing everything out of life that we can?  It starts with making the commitment to be above average in everything that you do.  No matter what you the activity, strive to be better than most other people.  Notice how it does not says "strive to be the best".  There are couple reasons for this.  Realistically, being the best in any field is unattainable.  Unless you are LeBron James in basketball, there is always someone who is better out there.  So why chase down something that is unattainable?  The other reason is because of the time commitment required to achieve top status.  To become one of the world's best pianists, as an example, is going to necessitate years of study and practice.  Contrast that with being able to play the piano well and be able to wow others at a dinner party.  This might only require a year or so to achieve this level. 

You will be surprised how incredible your life can be if you are above average in many different areas.  Few understand the concept of compounding outside the realm of finance (most do not understand it there except when they see their credit card balances compounding) but it equally applies to talents.  We will use money/finance as an example and see how above average will make a person rich. 

To start, we will take an above average income earner.  This person is not wealthy by his or her salary.  Now we will take the field of investing.  What are some areas that are important?  Chart reading is a technique used by many successful stock investors.  Therefore, our example will strive and accomplish the task of becoming an above average chart reader.  At the same time, for fundamental analysis, knowledge of financial statements is a must so this person will attain the same state.  Of course, to invest, one needs money so our individual will also be an above average saver operating his or her household budget better than the masses. 

With all these qualities, do you think this person will be mediocre in the area of personal finance?  Let us review the list of all the areas that he or she is above average:

-Income...has a bit more money to start
-Savings...more investment money through prudent spending
-Chart Reading....will be able to find trades based upon technical moves that others miss
-Financial Statements....can uncover investment opportunities based upon valuation of a company.

Having these 4 traits, will make this person rich over time.  Notice how he or she was not the best in any one area.  In fact, excelling in any one area is not required.  A person making $50,000 a year who is able to save 15% of that income while earning an average above 12% annually will become very wealthy given enough time.  These numbers are above average but no where near the best.  Yet, this is enough to break out of the mediocrity realm and into success.

The compounding of talents nets great rewards.  Strive to outpace most in as many areas as possible and watch how rapidly your life changes.  Make this your goal for 2013.

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