How to Become Rich: Discipline
This is a guest post by Colby from That Charles Life . He writes about personal finance, world travel, teaching ESL and self development. He is currently pursuing Financial Freedom while teaching English in China .
They say the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Why is this? Luck? Coming from wealthy heritage? A strong network? Perhaps. Surely those help in some cases. I suggest there is a real key driver that separates the wealthy from the rest. I don’t believe it’s something you’re born with or into. I believe it’s a characteristic you cultivate.
It takes discipline to make more money
I don’t believe a higher salary or earning more money in a year is the only way to reach financial freedom. To be rich or acquire financial independence sooner, requires more annual income. It’s just math. Whether that’s a higher salary from years of intensive study, a high income from excessive overtime hours works, or maintaining multiple jobs or side hustles. Those all require discipline. Those who work 40 hours a week or less may complain they can’t get ahead or don’t have enough extra money to invest. Many times, it comes down to not having the discipline to sacrifice their spare time to make more money. They don’t have the discipline to study ridiculously hard for 4-8 years to achieve that high salary.
Are you willing to give up some weeknights, and probably some weekends to focus on what needs to be done to earn more money?
Can you hack 70-hour work weeks to retire in your 40’s?
It takes discipline to save money
Sacrificing material pleasures, having the discipline to avoid eating out or splurging on yourself is not always easy. I truly believe how much you save is just as important to as how much you make. I’ve consistently made much less money per annum than many friends, yet none of them have an investment portfolio. Few have assets. They recklessly spend away their freedom.
It takes discipline to walk past that clothing store, it takes discipline to pack a lunch every day, it takes discipline to count and review your income and expenses.
Can you meal prep at home on Sunday nights to save money on restaurant expenses? Are you able to maintain a smaller wardrobe to see your bank account grow? Can you question your need for purchases before throwing down the credit card?
Are you willing to pay yourself first?
It takes discipline to become financially educated
This comes easier to some people. For myself, I am naturally interested in money and financial freedom. Looking at spreadsheets and reading balance and income statements is intriguing to me. It takes discipline to stay up to date on the market and research different companies and indexes. Staying on top of your investments, making unbiased decisions and keeping emotions out of the mix requires discipline.
Consistently and regularly reading books and articles on how to improve yourself and your financial situation takes work. Will you be one of the people who puts in this work?
Are you able to get that MBA, or commit to a life of continuous self education?
Taking action requires discipline
The entrepreneurs who started their own businesses. The couples who retired in their 30’s. The people who relocated to reduce their expenses. Most people who are wealthy, or financially secure, took action. This action is the antithesis of procrastination, and that takes discipline.
Are you ready to get off your ass, and make it happen? Every single day?
How to discipline yourself?
Honestly, I believe it comes down to consistently making small improvements or choices every single day. Rome wasn’t built overnight. It was built over an extended period. Consistency and positive action can move mountains. Drink water instead of soda. Take a cold shower. Bike to work instead of the bus. Pack a lunch every day. Start writing or reading 30 minutes every day. Incorporate that business. Find a second job. Start looking into your expenses and see where your money goes.
Every small positive thing you do builds discipline. Every time you reduce a negative action or expense, you are building momentum, and over time, discipline.