(By Teeka Tiwari) The heat was oppressive, the work was hard, but the young man rejoiced. As he straightened his back, a smile crept across his lips and he stood tall amid the fertile fields of his father. As firstborn son, his birthright was assured and he basked in the knowledge that one day, all he gazed upon would be his.
What if I told you that this young man traded all the wealth that was due to him for a bowl of stew?
You see, after coming in from the fields he was famished, and his younger brother offered him a pot of hot, delicious stew if he would only trade his firstborn position with him, and the young man said yes. He traded a life of wealth and comfort for the immediate satisfaction of his burning belly.
How idiotic, right?
It's amazing how fast we can spot the idiocy in others, and yet remain so blind to the same faults in ourselves. And that's why this story, which is actually the Old Testament parable of Esau, is so important. It is rich with lessons for the modern day investor and the would-be wealthy person alike, because how many of us are equally as guilty as the young man Esau?
How many of us have traded away all that we might have for the satisfaction of short term longings?
How many of us have traded away our birthright of future wealth, peace of mind and happiness for a new outfit, a new tech gadget, a new car, or an expensive vacation?
Millions of us are trading away our financial freedom every day, bit by bit, for a "bowl of stew".
(Now, before I get any angry or offended comments, this article is not about religion. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Atheist or anything else, I simply believe that the story of Esau can help you understand the financial lesson I'm trying to teach you today.)A Road Back to Wealth
Wealth creation begins with the acquisition of a very important skill. Without this skill you will be doomed to a life of fear, suffering and financial humiliation. In fact, even if you have a massive income, if you do not possess this one skill you will fail in your wealth creation efforts.
I have known folks with million dollar plus incomes who didn't have this skill, and they ended up broke and living off the good will of friends and families. I've also known folks who never made more than $50,000 a year, yet built a foundation of wealth that lasted across generations because they had this one skill.
Had Esau possessed this skill, he never would have made such a lousy deal. And I guarantee you: If you can learn this skill, it will turn your life around and transform your future into a paradise. It's not easy. Most people never learn it. But I promise you, if you can master this one skill you can have anything you want.The one skill you must learn in order to become rich and happy is impulse control.
If you can create a strategy for controlling your impulses, then there is nothing stopping you from creating the life you have always dreamed of.
Think about it... how many times have you traded away doing the right thing -- such as saving your money -- for doing the easy thing, like buying an expensive car, vacation, clothes etc.? Doesn't that make you just like Esau, trading away your financial freedom for a little bit of short term comfort?
You see, the self made rich people I know have learned the vital importance of delayed gratification
. They put off small comforts now for greater comforts later, and they do that by controlling their impulse to spend, their impulse to act like a big shot, their impulse to gamble, their impulse to watch TV, and their impulse to give up. It all comes down to managing your impulses and doing the difficult thing over the easy thing.
Easy to say, tough to do.A Plan for Building Your Future
Every time you sacrifice your long term goal to a short term impulse, your will becomes weaker. Every time you put your long term goal over your short term impulse, your will becomes stronger, and it actually becomes easier and easier to do the right thing. Just like working out a muscle, the more you develop the habit of choosing your long term goals over your short term desires the easier it becomes.
But in the beginning it will be very difficult. If you've never picked up a weight before and all of a sudden start doing bench presses, guess what? Your muscles are going to hurt! The same is true when you start choosing good decisions over easy ones. But instead of your muscles screaming, it will be that little voice inside all of us that will be pleading and making deals with you to just make an exception "this one time".
Or it will be your kids who will debate with you all day long as to why they just "have to have" a cell phone, an iPad, a new car or more spending money. You are going to have to ask yourself a question: What is more important, hitting your yearly savings goals so you can build a long term future for your family, or sacrificing that future so your child can have a new iPad?
We all saw what Esau did. What are you gong to do? How badly do you want to be financially free? How badly do you want a worry free retirement?
Because once you make that decision... the rest is easy. All you have to do is imagine your child saying, "Dad/Mom, would you mind trading your retirement dreams so I can have a new iPad?"
This is one of the strategies I use to battle my own impulses. When a choice is before me, I actually imagine a voice asking me if I want to trade my long term goal for this short term impulse. I've used this technique to become a better saver, a better husband, a better father, and I also used it to lose 80 pounds.
Get clear on what you really want out of your life and what you need to do to get it. Then, every time you are greeted with an impulse decision, ask yourself: Am I willing to trade my long term goal for this short term impulse?
If you do this every time, then I guarantee you that you will transform your life.