“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

If you remember one piece of advice from anything you ever read on this blog my hope it’s that you understand financial independence may only be achieved if you fully understand what benefit financial independence is going to provide. You are not striving to have financial independence simply to accomplish the feat.

You want the life being financially independent will provide, and once you have a clear understanding of why you want to achieve financial independence, you immediately create momentum toward that goal.

The steps needed to reach your goals become vividly clear, and the work necessary will actually become easier once you understand your “why.”

You must paint the highly-detailed picture of what you want your life to become.

You must spell out, in specific detail, the exact life you want if money were no concern. Otherwise, you have no compass – no navigation system to steer your decision-making.

How many times have you heard the story of the lottery jackpot winner who goes broke, or the bankrupt professional athlete that once made millions?

When you do not know what you want your life to be, you have no map guiding your decision-making. This is how the lottery winner loses everything and the professional athlete ends up selling his championship rings.

This important first stage on your post-bankruptcy journey is really the biggest tipping point you’ll experience. Having a clear vision for your life separates you from most everyone else.

Most people spend more time planning a vacation than they spend planning their life, and that is why most people are broke. There is nothing guiding their financial decision-making.

When you have a clear destination you’re working toward, you do not feel you are making sacrifices when you choose to avoid accumulating “stuff” in your life.

You do not feel that driving a ten-year old Toyota Camry instead of that shiny new BMW is a sacrifice, simply a choice you’ve made because you desire your destination more than you desire the benefit a BMW provides getting you from points A to B.

Plus, the semantics of “choosing” versus “sacrificing” is a big deal.

When you choose something you are empowered because you are working towards something greater.

If you are sacrificing you are giving something up. You create a negative mindset; a mindset that places a strain on your willpower. You only have so much willpower; it’s not an unending resource.

Finally, having a specific understanding of what you truly want out of life will have a significant impact on your subconscious.

In the impactful book, Think and Grow Rich, author Napoleon Hill describes the power of your subconscious mind,

“You may voluntarily plant in your subconscious mind any plan, thought, or purpose which you desire to translate into its physical or monetary equivalent. The subconscious acts first on the dominating desires which have been mixed with emotional feeling, such as faith.”

When you continuously focus on a desired result that excites you, you benefit from your subconscious mind. You will become more keenly aware of opportunities that arise in your life that will further you down your path to financial independence.

Unless your subconscious mind is tuned to your desired destination, you will not catch on to all of the opportunities you have available that will bring you closer to your goals.

How do you determine the vision for your life?

You need to grab a pen and a notepad, or open a new note in your phone, and write down the answers to the series of questions below.

Be very specific in your answers, and provide each answer with the mindset that you already have more money that you’ll ever need.

  1. What activities or interests do you enjoy most in your current life?
  2. What are the things that provide you the most excitement and joy?
  3. What would your typical average day look like if money was no concern?
  4. If you had one-year to live what would you do?
  5. If you had the same energy and naiveté you had when you were a little kid, what activities would you take on?
  6. What would keep you awake at night with excitement?
  7. What hobbies to you enjoy most?
  8. What activities have you considered trying but have not yet tried due to lack of time or money?

It’s ok to want material things, as long as the experience you gain from those material things is what you truly want, and not what you believe others will think about you or want for you.

You cannot gain happiness through the approval of others. You can only become happy and successful by first making yourself happy.

This is the time to be selfish. If you do not make yourself completely happy, how can you make others completely happy or teach your children how to be happy?

After you’ve written down your answers to these questions we want to hone in on your vision, or your “why.”

Review your question answers. Are there commonalities or themes found among several of your answers?

Is there a certain experience you wish to make a part of your daily life, or a skill you would like to master?

When my wife and I created the vision for our lives, we found our answers to these questions had a lot of overlap. As a result, we defined the following 4-part vision for our lives:

  1. We want to have maximum freedom in our life, of both time and location.
  2. We want to have the freedom of time to spend as much time as necessary playing the central role in the education of our daughter, and have the freedom of location for her to experience many different places and people.
  3. We want our life’s work to be creating useful products and courses to help others live their ultimate life.
  4. Finally, we each want to pursue our hobbies in a serious and meaningful way, on a daily basis.

You’ll want to spend some serious time developing your vision, and the vision you ultimately create for your life is entirely flexible.

It may change over time. As long as you always have a clearly defined destination you’re working toward, and that destination drives your daily financial decision-making, you are making progress.

Once you have your vision crystallized, you need to burn it into your mind. When you focus on a particular thing that thing expands in your life. This concept is precisely why the poor remain poor, the middle class remain middle class, and the rich get richer.

You see, there are two types of mindsets pertaining to money. First is the abundance mindset. When you have an abundance money mindset, you do not focus on the money you do not have.

Instead, you focus on the idea that there is more than enough money available for you, and regardless of what is happening in your life there will always be money that comes into your life.

Those with abundance mindsets tend to be the risk takers, investors and entrepreneurs.

These folks feel compelled to put their own money to work despite risk of loss, because their abundance mindset reassures them the choice will ultimately be in their best interest. They focus on having an abundance of money, and money expands in their lives.

The second money mindset is one of scarcity. Those with a scarcity mindset constantly worry about paying the next month’s bills.

They dwell on what they do not have. They refuse to take any financial risks such as purchasing securities or investing in real estate.

They stay at a low-paying job although they dream of starting their own business. You will never have “enough” money when you continually focus on not having “enough” money.

What you choose to think about, and ultimately place in your subconscious mind, will manifest itself throughout your life.

If you focus daily on your vision, and how your life will feel once you arrive at the destination you’ve chosen, you place the vision into your subconscious thoughts.

Those thoughts create your feelings, feelings cause you to take action, and your actions provide the results.

When you place your vision in your subconscious mind, you have vision-driven actions that will lead you to the life you most desire.

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