(NNPA)—Every success story, whether large or small, can be traced to specific traits, habits and behaviors. And since successful people “do” things that render certain results, it makes sense for those actions to be replicated.


Now, these essential actions weren’t given to me in a manual when I was six years old. The Great Oz didn’t walk into my room one day and say, “Son, here are the rules. Read ’em. Digest ’em. Live ’em” (although I wish someone had!). There were no classes, no audiotapes or seminar series on these powerful lessons—at least not that I’m aware of.

Instead, I discovered these timeless riches over time. What I learned is that the path to success is universal but it’s also expansive, so there are many ways to get to the same results. In other words, there are many ways to make spaghetti. If you talk to 10 different people, you’re likely to get 10 different recipes. In the end, though, the dish is still spaghetti. And although each individual may have added his or her own signature style, at a very basic level, spaghetti is spaghetti.

That said, let’s be clear about one thing: I said above that success can be large or small. Success can also be short and sweet or long and maintained. Different sets of behaviors and actions translate to whether or not your success will last a swift second or a long lifetime.

Most people are aware, for instance, that those who receive sudden financial windfalls typically return to the same financial state as before and have even been known to declare bank­ruptcy. Why? Because they haven’t changed their behavior toward money and spending to hold on to that newly acquired wealth. Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery not just once, but twice (1985, 1986), to the tune of $5.4 million. Today the money is all gone and she lives in a trailer. William “Bud” Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his Social Security.

People accustomed to having lots of money and who lose it, on the other hand, tend to gain it all back plus more because they think, act and behave in a certain way that promotes perpetual wealth. While learning the ropes to managing money well takes time and practice, anyone can do it.

A good starting point is getting what money you do have under control, including debt and credit. Once you get into the habit of managing money well, you’ll never go back to being flat-out broke, no matter how much money you make in the future. And if perchance you do hit a little ditch, which is entirely possible out there in the real world, you’ll be able to rely on the same techniques to climb out again.

Getting into healthy habits when it comes to money is step one. Imagine not having to actually think about putting your financial house in order, because knowing what to do to reach your goals comes naturally.

Wouldn’t life be so much easier (and less stressful) if you didn’t have to focus so much on making sure you are doing the right thing day in and day out to support your dreams?

The mind is a powerful place, which is why we need to start there if we’re ever going to see results in the real world. Given the fact money issues prevail when it comes to many people’s stresses, I’d venture to guess that we spend the greater part of our days thinking about money from a negative perspective—money is evil, money is too hard to make, money doesn’t like me because I can’t get enough of it to feel at ease and “accomplished.”

Sound familiar? Well, let’s see if we can’t turn that negative thinking around by shifting how you perceive the role of money in your life. We all can agree that money is the means of freedom, education, and comfort. It allows us to grow, achieve autonomy, learn, and provide a value and service to the world at large.

Having a positive relationship with money is often the first step in lessening financial stress and making the changes necessary to open new doors to opportunity.

To victory. To success.

(Farrah Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@dr­far­rah­-gray.com or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com/.)

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