Blog | Personal Finance

5 Reasons You Aren’t Rich (Yet)

So many people ask, “Why am I not rich?” without realizing their own attitudes and self-limiting beliefs may be to blame. It’s time to disrupt yourself.

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So many people ask, “Why am I not rich?” without realizing their own attitudes and self-limiting beliefs may be to blame. It’s time to disrupt yourself.

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Colon Powell, who recently passed, said it best: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”

Yet, so many of us continue to look for the shortcuts to our goals. It’s human nature to want to take the path of least resistance, to avoid mistakes, and to steer clear of hardships. But unless you’ve won the lottery or come into a large inheritance, few people achieve financial freedom without rolling up their sleeves, making a few wrong decisions along the way, and applying those lessons learned as they move forward.

You’ll undoubtedly hit roadblocks along the way — many people become disheartened and give up right away. Others plug along for a while, but without results, they soon give up. Only a tenacious few can push forward through all the unpleasantries and into greatness.

When you can’t see the forest for the trees

I often meet people who have been following the path for a while and don’t understand why they aren’t any closer to becoming rich. They’ve read the books, taken courses, and can read and interpret the financial column of the newspaper with ease.

Many of them approach me asking, “I’m financially literate, but why am I still not rich?”

My answer to them is: “It might not be something you’re doing, but something you’re feeling that’s holding you back.”

When they look at me with complete bewilderment, I explain that our emotions and behaviors dictate our future more than we care to admit. And sometimes, it’s the things we’re feeling or the attitudes we’re carrying around that are keeping us from moving forward.

If you subscribe to the law of attraction theory, then you know that thoughts become things. And you have a lot of thoughts each day — could your own mind be sabotaging your goals?

5 questions to help you discover why you aren't rich... yet!

There are five main reasons why financially literate people may still not develop abundant asset columns that could produce a large cash flow. Most people struggle with one or more of these factors, whether consciously or unconsciously. Conquering them is not easy, but it is necessary to achieving true wealth. Let’s explore each one:

  1. Am I not rich because of laziness?

    We all think we know what laziness looks like: Lying on the couch for five hours straight watch Netflix and eating popcorn. If you accuse a hardworking person of being lazy, you’ll get a very angry retort.

    But laziness affects all of us, and busy people are often the laziest people of all. People easily become “too busy” to take care of the important things, like their health, their family, and their money. They go to their job and work all day, and are too exhausted when they get home to do anything else.

    When they aren’t busy with work or family, they’re often busy watching TV, playing golf, or shopping. Yet deep down they know they are avoiding something important.

    That’s the most common form of laziness: laziness by staying busy.

    So take a long, honest look at your life. Is your excuse for not investing the fact that you’re too busy? What does that mean? What are you really busy with? And how is that holding you back from financial freedom?

  2. Am I not rich because of bad habits?

    Habits control our future. Cultivate bad ones, and your future slips out of your control.

    Bad habits are often the worst things holding us back. They’re extremely hard to break; it takes discipline and continued conscious effort.

    A lot of people don’t have the discipline to break their bad habits. And worse, many people don’t even realize that their habits are bad in the first place. For example, someone who sleeps late on the weekends might think they’re catching up on needed sleep. But that habit is taking away several hours that they could be researching investments or building a side business.

    Examine the habits in your life. Some of them might be so ingrained in your routine you don’t notice them. But how are they holding you back?

  3. Am I not rich because of fear?

    This is by far the most prevalent reason most people are not wealthy. If you weren’t afraid of anything, what would you do right now that could make you rich? Quit your job? Start your own company? Invest your savings in assets?

    So many people spend their time reading and studying and increasing their financial literacy, but when it comes to acting on their knowledge, they balk. They’re afraid.

    Fear is understandable. Taking risks, making changes, it’s all scary. It’s alright to feel afraid. What’s not alright is letting your fear overwhelm you to the point that you don’t take action. That’s when fear goes from being natural to being a roadblock standing in your way of true freedom. Fear can even be your friend — don’t miss these three reasons why every woman should embrace fear.

  4. Am I not rich because of cynicism?

    Cynicism is another form of fear. It’s a distrust that prevents you from having the confidence to move forward.

    This distrust could be of yourself, and manifest in overwhelming self-doubt. It could be paranoia about the markets, or questioning a solid deal, and backing out of an investment at the last minute.

    However cynicism manifests itself, it will hold you back. You have to learn to distinguish between a genuine concern and an overblown fear. If you are financially literate, and have done your homework, you have to trust in your ability. You can’t let others talk you out of what you know is right, and you can’t talk yourself out of trusting in your knowledge.

  5. Am I not rich because of arrogance?

    Robert’s Rich Dad often said, “Every time I have been arrogant, I have lost money. Because when I’m arrogant, I truly believe that what I don’t know is not important.”

    I have found that many people use arrogance to try to hide their own ignorance. They bluster through, overcompensating with confidence to hide the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing. Instead of humbly acknowledging where they need to change, they blame other people and circumstances for their own failures.

    Put another way, many arrogant people will read this blog and probably think, “That doesn’t apply to me.” Go figure!

    If you can’t be honest and humble with yourself, you don’t have a chance of achieving financial freedom.

3 steps to changing your mind and changing your life

If you’re suffering from one or more of the above, don’t fret — you still have a very good chance of having all your financial dreams come true. All you have to do is learn to conquer the roadblock(s) holding you back.

Of course, that’s not easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult — otherwise everyone would be rich. But acknowledging the factors holding you back from becoming rich is the first step. With practiced effort, you can overcome these bad habits and emotions and find your way to freedom.

Change is tough for anyone because it requires us to move from what is comfortable to what is not. Even if change means something healthy, it still feels uncomfortable.

For instance, if you are overweight and want to get healthy, you have to stop eating bad foods and start exercising. As you know, this is much easier said than done. Eating healthy foods is hard mentally (and physically if you're used to feeling fuller than you need to be), and exercising has real physical pain associated with it. It's much easier to stay in your routine than to change it.

But the reality is that if you want to really change what you have in life, you have to change who you are and what you do.

What does this mean in practice?

  1. Redefine your identity.

    If you are someone who watches television every night, that can become a part of who you are. You don't realize it, but your habits start to become not just something that you do, but a part of your identity. That is why when you try to change, you run into resistance. Your mind is revolting against an attack on what it sees as your core self.

    It becomes imperative to recognize this, to call it out, and to take back control of your identity. You must consciously choose who you want to be and redefine yourself rather than let your subconscious decide.

    So, for instance, rather than waste hours each night watching TV, you must redefine yourself as a person who studies and learns about money and investments. By making this conscious shift in your identity, you win half the battle in achieving change.

  2. Redefine your friendships.

    Another thing that can hold you back is your friendships. The old phrase, "Birds of a feather flock together," is very accurate. If you're having a hard time achieving the change you're looking for in life, take a look at your friends. Are they encouraging you to get better or are they tempting you to fall back into old ways? If it's the latter, it's time to move on and find new friends who can travel to the next level with you, not drag you down.

  3. Redefine your routine.

    Once you've changed your identity and relationships, it's imperative that you create new routines that lead to success.

    If you want to be healthier, you have to actually diet and exercise, not just talk about it. This might require you putting some money where your mouth is, going to a gym, and hiring a personal trainer. The money and the accountability will motivate you to keep at it.

    If you want to be financially free, you have to learn how money works and begin investing. This might require you to find a partner who will learn and invest with you to keep you accountable, and finding a mentor who will challenge you on how you spend your time and resources.

Disruption leads to prosperity

In the tech world, the buzzword "disruption" is often used. Disruption is an idea or product that comes in and profits off of an industry that is comfortable and no longer innovative. Uber is an example of a company that disrupted the taxi industry to great effect. They are now worth billions of dollars because they didn't accept the status quo.

In our own personal lives, disruption is essential-in our identity, friendships, and routines — if we want to change. Today, take a look at your life and see how you can disrupt it for the better.

Original publish date: March 16, 2017

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