Making more money is less about more relationships, more customers, more raises at work, and more on your calendar. These are short-term solutions, that yes, will infuse your bank account. However, they fall short of addressing long-term wealth concepts. Long-term wealth focuses on concepts of quality, efficiency, and self-awareness. Long-term thinking helps build and sustain wealth. Frequently, this involves getting out of your own way and “doing less”. Below are strategies that will help you “do less” and build sustainable wealth.
- Create and trust systems
- These are your personal guard rails that protect you from yourself. Study after study shows a direct correlation between an obsession with your day-to-day finances and a negative impact on your financial well-being. Think: checking your brokerage account balances daily and paying your bills manually. Stick to a plan. Automate your bills. Revisit on a predetermined timeframe (i.e. quarterly). The time this frees up is alarming, and not just in the chronological sense, but the additional hour(s) you keep thinking about it after you log-out. Your next issue might be figuring out how to spend that time, which who knows, may be doing something more fulfilling or something that makes you even more money. That’s up to you. One last note: this is applicable to everyone, including all wealth categories and retirees. Free yourself up and don’t underestimate the pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow.
- Dance with your ego
- My personal example: I care about recognition. Being an unsung hero does not come naturally to me. My day-to-day management of this character flaw is to constantly reread Harry Truman’s famous quote, “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit.” My broader management is recognizing that my “accomplishments” mean nothing to humanity, and they also mean everything to humanity. What a wonderful paradox. While recognizing our potential is foundational to being human so is the fact that we have a very forgiving Universe that cuts us slack and shares the burden (and accomplishments) between all of us. This is not to say your ego isn’t important – it keeps you on planet Earth, makes you a human being, and gets the job done. A priest and mentor at the college I attended used to tell me to ‘dance with my shadow’. Years later, I suspect this is what he was referencing.
- Make your relationships less transactional
- Be lopsided in your giving and expect nothing in return. Provide ample value. Spend your day looking for where you can be generous (and not just with money, but with your time), rather than where you can make more money. Don’t keep score. The moment you do, the relationship has become transactional and has lost its basis. It will crumble with the test of time. If this sounds too idealistic, it’s not. It just requires a leap of faith. The money will come, and it will come abundantly.
- Say ‘no’ a lot more than you say ‘yes’
- In order to have the capacity to be generous, you must say ‘no’ to nearly everything. Shallow and wide is not very impactful. It gets your name on a plaque. Go narrow and deep and be generous with all your resources. There are plenty of us to ‘get the job done’. Our challenge as humans is less about enough bodies and more about our lack of efficiency. Be thoughtful about where you choose to give of your precious time (and money). Where is your skill set most beneficial? Who/what will appreciate your unique qualities the most? Spend your time and money there and cut the rest.
These concepts are the antithesis of busy-body ideas like:
- Playing the numbers game, quotas, and transactions
- Always telling people “you’re busy”
- Feeling like you’re always behind or treading water
- Putting fires out
- Being concerned about getting your fair share
- Thinking in days and not in quarters, years, decades, centuries
“Doing less” is a long play. You won’t notice the impact immediately, or even a year, or even 5 years from now. But, when we commit to long-term concepts that we want to fill our lives with – like quality relationships, ample wealth and freedom, and less stress – the leap of faith to long-term thinking will be required in our day-to-day lives. You will be focused on fewer, yet meaningful, activities.
The journey will have begun, though, doing less to get more.
Stay calm. Stay invested.