Here’s a convo my 5 y/o son and I had the other day:
5 y/o: “What are you eating over there???”
Me: “A chocolate bar – mmm mmm it’s tasty.”
5 y/o: “How come you can have a chocolate bar right now and I can’t?”
Me: “Because I’m an adult – and adults can do whatever they want.”
I probably should have said “Because you’re still eating your dinner” or “you can have one later” or “here’s a little piece of it if you pay attention to the lesson I’m about to teach you,” but instead I played the adult card. And I ain’t gonna lie – it felt good :)
Think about just how FREE all of us really are right now? And how much damage/trouble/awesomeness we can get into at any point of our lives now that we’re on our own? Don’t want to do the dishes? Forgettabout it! Want to sit on your ass and gorge yourself of ice cream and Netflix? Go for it. Want to call in sick and play video games all day long? I get controller #1!
Sure we still have bosses and spouses and police officers keeping us all in check (“I swear officer, I thought it was Halloween! I wasn’t trying to take all the bank’s cash, I was trick-or-treating!”), but at the end of the day we really do get to do whatever the hell we please.
And that’s exactly where the scary part comes in. Because unfortunately, there’s also this thing called “consequences.”
Webster Dictionary defines it as…. Pshh. Y’all know what consequences are! (Why do writers always go down that route btw? As if we’re all so dumb we literally need to go back a couple decades and bring out the dictionary??)
Here was the rest of the convo w/ my 5 y/o:
5 y/o: “But daaaaaaad, that’s not fair!”
Me: “Well, there’s also these things called “consequences” when you do things as an adult. For example, if I eat this chocolate bar I may get fat or get a toothache or upset your mother for taking the last one from the box (psst – don’t tell her!). So while it is cool we get to do whatever we want, we also have to make sure we’re okay with any bad stuff it can bring, especially if it affects someone around us.”
5 y/o:”What does affect mean?”
Me: “Look it up in the dictionary.”
(Just kidding… although this is the right way to bring up a dictionary ;))
Me: “It means everything you do can change something else. If you go and hit your brother right now, he’s going to cry and then you’re going to your room for a time out. Just like if I were to hit our neighbor I’d probably be hauled off somewhere too – called jail. So even if you want to do something sometimes, it’s good to think twice about it unless you really like getting into trouble.”
5 y/o: “Ahh… I can’t wait until I become an adult.”
Me: “So you can eat chocolate bars?”
5 y/o: “No, so I can punch my brother!”
I started reading this new book called 10% Entrepreneur by Patrick McGinnis, and it reminds me a lot of this adult stuff. Simply for the fact that it helps contain us more, despite our brains thinking other avenues could be better for us.
For example, everyone thinks self-employment is all rainbows and freedom and full of cash money millionaires. And while that’s partially true, there’s also a whole other dark side to the game when things are anything but. I can’t tell you the times I’ve considered shutting it all down or getting a new job or not knowing if I’ll be able to support my entire family from this crazy thing called “a blog.” Yes it’s fun and yes there are advantages up the ying-yang, and technically you don’t ever have to work if you don’t want to and just take off traipsing around the world, but at the end of the day it all rides on your shoulders and your shoulders only because you’re The Boss. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and you’re not wearing any seat belts.
Without self – and emotional – control, you’re doomed.
Which is the basis of the 10% entrepreneur idea… I’ve only read the first handful of pages so far, but the notion is that it allows you to still dabble in making money on the side and starting your own hustle, but with only 10% of the effects. You’re still tied to your day job and the structure, but you also get to reap the rewards of putting yourself out there. And I’m going out on a limb and will say that the amount of *positive* return on that effort will likely be much greater than 10% too – making the deal even sweeter.
As the tagline of the book goes: live your startup dream without quitting your day job. Check it out if you’ve always wanted to dip your toes into business – it could be a good solution for ya!
With everything in life, there’s things we WANT or THINK we want to do, and then there’s the realities of what could happen if we act on them. Eating a chocolate bar won’t cause much of problem alone, but if you’ve already eaten 87 of them or have high sugar levels or they cost $7.00 a pop, then yeah – you’re probably going to have issues.
Just like if we sit on our asses watching TV all day or quit our jobs on a whim to start a new venture or anything else we desire in our lives. Moderation: good. Extremity: usually not so much.
We all need some structure in our lives, or at least a set of rules to follow – even if we make them ourselves. This is the basis of personal finance, after all.
- Spend less than you make – RULE
- Save/invest the difference – RULE (and an important one!)
- Pay off your credit cards at the end of every month – RULE (this counts even if you’re a hacker gobbling up all the free points and miles and cash back, btw. The second you leave balances on those cards the benefits start diminishing!)
- Protect your wealth/stuff/family with insurance – RULE. A boring rule, but a rule nonetheless
- Always be learning and reading Budgets Are Sexy – RULE. The best rule ;)
Our lives are riddled with rules and for good measure. But that’s another benefit of being an adult – WE GET TO MAKE THE RULES NOW!! How sweet is that?? We may not enjoy following them all, but if you want the life of your dreams – both now and in the future – the rules are a necessary part of making it happen.
My son now goes around the house telling people whether they can, or cannot, do things based upon their adultness – even visitors. The lesson’s sunk in, but only if he knew how good he really has it. Free food, toys, and shelter, without any care or responsibility in the world?
I don’t know about you, but I’d gladly trade my chocolate bar for that!