four a success kim

4 A’s for Success

How to achieve your dreams

Living many years in Hawaii, I always appreciated those who could surf. I borrowed my friends’ boards a few times, but I just didn’t get it.

A while back, Robert, who grew up surfing in Hilo, Hawaii, bought a surfboard and wanted to take it out in the waves. I wanted to join him, and for $10 per hour I rented one of those long, floatable beginner surfboards. We both paddled out to the waves. For about an hour I struggled, not coming close to catching any waves.

I looked to my left, and I noticed an older local surf instructor working with three young kids. I paddled closer to listen. He instructed them through the steps, from lying down on the board, to getting up on their knees, to then standing up. I took in all he was teaching them.

He glanced over at me and said, “You wanna surf today?” I shook my head yes. “Okay,” he said, “Just do what I say.”

“I can do this,” I thought to myself.

“Get ready,” he said. “A wave is coming. Paddle!” he yelled. “Paddle! Paddle harder, harder!”

I paddled as hard as I could, but the wave passed me by. He just looked at me.

“When I say paddle, I mean paddle,” he said. “You quit on the wave. You sure you want to do this?” he asked gruffly.

“Yes!” I shouted.

“Then do what I say, and don’t quit,” he ordered. “Get in position and paddle!” he shouted. “Paddle!”

I started paddling my heart out. My board was on the wave, and the wave was pushing my board. I was so excited I almost didn’t hear the old guy yell, “Stand up! Stand up now!”

Fearing that he’d hurt me if I didn’t do what he said, I got to my knees and then stood up. “Wow!” I thought. “I’m standing up!” And then I fell right off!

I had experienced the feeling of actually riding a wave, and I couldn’t wait to paddle out again. I stayed out in that water for the next two hours, and by the end, I was actually standing up and riding waves into the shore. I loved it!

Why did I succeed?

I aspired to ride a wave. With no instruction, I was frustrated and confused by the surf. The waves just kept coming, and I didn’t know what to do. The waves were winning.

All it took was a little bit of learning, acquiring some knowledge, to know what to do.

Paddling, missing waves, and paddling harder until I was on a wave, I applied the knowledge until I achieved my dream of riding a wave.

And here was the magic—not only did I ride the waves, but I actually loved the experience!

The formula for success

In life, especially when it comes to money and investing, everybody is looking for the formula for success.

For many growing up, it was reading, writing, and arithmetic. After all, that is what our schools hold up as most valuable. While these things are valuable, they are a baseline, not a ticket to success.

Over the years, I’ve developed a plan for success called the 4 A’s. It is a plan that works both for surfing and investing. Really, for any challenge life can throw at you!

Below is a quick overview of that plan. It’s not hard to remember, but, just like paddling harder than you thought you could, it takes fortitude to execute.

1. Aspire

Choose your dream. Create a clear vision of what your financial dream and financial freedom look like to you. Hold onto your vision throughout your journey.

2. Acquire

Acquire the knowledge, the education, the facts, the figures, and the data you need in order to take action. The acquire stage is ongoing because the markets and the economy are always changing.

3. Apply

Apply the knowledge you’ve acquired in the real world. Take action. Put into practice what you have learned. With a small amount of acquired knowledge, you can quickly move into the apply stage. Many small apply steps lead to more tremendous learning, which will produce results.

4. Achieve

One key to this process is to do one thing every day that gets you closer to your financial dream—which is the fourth “A,” Achieve. You will achieve throughout your entire journey. You will be achieving with each and every win or success. Be sure to celebrate every win you have along the way. It’s those moments of success and accomplishment where real joy is found.

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