Part 2 of the Monk and the Merchant.
five “Take responsibility for problems that are the result of your own bad decisions. Don’t displace the blame”
I’ve taken accountability for my actions for as long as I can remember. Growing up, my dad was a huge influence on me. There were many sayings that he would consistently use and I’ll list them here to give you an idea what growing up in a household with my dad was like:
- If it was after 6 AM and I wasn’t awake, this phrase would always come out “You’ve already slept away half of the morning…Are you planning on sleeping your life away?”
- “Either get busy living or get busy dying”
- “We send you to school, buy you books and THIS is what we get?!”
- “I just don’t understand…and I don’t think I ever will”
Mind you, I started hearing these phrases at an age of 5, probably sooner, but that is the earliest recollection of these phrases.
I haven’t always made good decisions. When I was 13 I was caught shoplifting. I was a chronic shoplifter and I kept it hidden from everyone. I would steal for no other reason than the thrill of the challenge. It didn’t matter what I would steal, as I would typically throw it away or give it away later. Mind you, these were bad decisions and I don’t condone it. I was making mistakes and it took getting caught to actually see the error of my ways. I was actually proud of myself for getting away with it for so many years prior to getting caught. My mother couldn’t understand and we had a long discussion about this. She tried to understand the motivation. My dad on the other hand didn’t even try to understand.
Let me paint you a picture. My dad is a Vietnam Veteran. He was a Medic for the 101st Airborne (Screaming Eagles). He was a light sleeper and would wake up every night at 1 AM to do a check throughout the house. He would wake up between 3:00 AM and 3:30 AM every day, even on weekends. When I got home from getting caught shoplifting, my mom woke up my dad to inform him of what happened. He pulled me into the room and had a short conversation with me. There was no punishment. He simply said, “Son, I’m disappointed in you”
You have to understand my background. I am the youngest of seven and the one that was supposed to stay out of trouble. Those words that my dad, my Superman, said to me that night completely changed my life. I have never done anything and would never do anything to make my dad feel disappointed in me again.
I had to pay back a $2,000 fine to the place that I was caught and have been straight-laced since.
Principle six “See challenges as stepping stones, not as obstacles”
Joliet Junior College is the oldest community college. One of the few classes throughout my academic career that was my bane was Chemistry 101 with Dr. Matthews at JJC. I dropped this class twice, although the second time was because someone stole my lab work for the semester and I wasn’t able to complete all of the work on time. I was working 2 jobs (Sam’s club from 3-9 PM and Eagle [no longer exists] from 10PM to 6AM). Because of all the hours that I was putting in, I chose to take one semester of just chemistry with Dr. Matthews and made it through with an “A”. Knowing that I could tolerate discomfort made the rest of undergraduate “easy”.
Principle seven, “Be meek before God, but Bold before men.”
Getting back to some of the prayer conversations that I had with God (I highly recommend the series of books regarding conversations with God), I was humbled before God when making my decision for a career. In this career, I have had to stand my ground many times. As someone that cares deeply about the profession of physical therapy, I stood my ground many times and lost multiple jobs because I wouldn’t sacrifice my morals.
Principle eight, “Live debt free and below your means”
Hello Dave Ramsey! This is where the Ramsey influence comes into play. I actually purchased this book at EntreLeadeship One Day.
You know that saying, If I knew then what I know now then there would be so many changes in life. Like many, I am coming out with student loans and made some poor financial decisions over the years. I am now digging out of the hole of debt. Luckily, we have a big shovel to start digging out of the mess.
If you are in debt, this is a great plan to start following. I paid off more debt in the previous year than I did in the 5 prior.
Principle nine, “Always keep to your budget”
This is something that is very difficult and takes practice. It takes time to understand fixed and variable expenses. Trying to cut fixed expenses is hard, but there are companies out there that work to reduce fixed expenses such as Bill Shark. This company reduced our internet and phone bill.
Variable expenses such as going out have been greatly reduced as my family is attempting to get out of debt. I’ve been out of school for 10 years and still have student loan debt around my neck. We are planning on getting out of debt in the next two years, all except the mortgage for now.
Principle ten, “Loaning money destroys relationships”
I’ve never borrowed more than $20 dollars from friends or family because the guilt of being in debt to them changes the relationship. I don’t think that it affects everyone the same way. My brother has owed me $100 dollars for years and it’s just never going to be paid back. I realize that, and it was the best $100 dollar lesson I could’ve learned.
Principle eleven, “set aside the first ten percent to honor God”
I have been much better at this over the years, but am no where near tithing. Honoring God doesn’t mean that I have to give to the church. I now donate to so many of the local charities and purchase gifts for kids in need during Christmas. This was the first year that I did the kid’s gifts, but it felt great. The thought that a kid wouldn’t have a gift to open is heartbreaking. Pairing that with the fact that the only gifts that this particular kid wanted was winter clothes, jackets and boots made me sad. Knowing that there are kids in this country that don’t have the basic necessities is heartbreaking.
I realized that giving to others is selfish in that the way that I feel after giving hasn’t been recreated by anything else I’ve done.
Principle twelve, “Understand the power of partnership”
The ship that won’t sail is a partnership. Understanding the power of partnership is important. This principle goes beyond business. A marriage is a partnership in which both individuals work to make the unit stronger over time. I am still curious as to the power of the business partnership because one person always has more leverage than the other. This leverage can be dangerous to the partnership because it can always be held over the other’s head. If there is a 50/50 partnership, which includes 50/50 work ethic, I may be convinced otherwise. I just haven’t seen it yet.
Thanks for reading and I hope you get something from the links provided in the article.