people who try to eliminate debt, deal with financial stress, or become
wealthy will fail to do so. The people who fail to get ahead
financially are usually stopped by one or more of the three things that
most commonly get in the way. You may not have all of these
things working against you, but having even one of them could still
keep you from your goals. These three things are very
is why most
people fail to become debt free or wealthy. These three
things not only apply
to finances, they apply to many other areas of your life as well.
Let's discuss these three things in order.
first, and most common thing that gets in the way is laziness.
Many times, people know what they need to do to accomplish
goals, but they just can't force themselves to make the required
effort or they procrastinate to the point that things don't get done.
Here are some warning signs that you may be letting
laziness get in the way of accomplishing your goals:
easy answers. You may make a decision to accomplish a
task or reach a particular goal, find out what you have to do
accomplish your goal, then, if what you have to do is not quick and
easy, you immediately or eventually give up on the goal.
Basically laziness leads to looking for a quick easy answer
giving up when there is none. Notice I said "quick" and easy.
When laziness is getting in your way, you will not only tend
give up when things get difficult, but also if it is going to take a
long time to accomplish your goal. Another word for this is
impatience. For a lazy person: if it isn't going to work
quickly, they're not interested in sticking with it. Lazy people are
willing to spend time on things they don't mind
but never seem to get around to doing the things they don't want
trait of people who are being stopped by laziness is that they are
generally not willing to do much research or make the effort to learn
new things that will help them accomplish their goals. A lazy
person may want to start investing for their future, but won't take the
time to read a book about investing.
lazy person won't even be willing to spend time at a bookstore or
library looking for books that might help them.
are letting laziness get in their way are also often people who sort of
wait for someone else to step in and make the effort for them.
They see a problem coming or decide what goals they want to
accomplish, but wait for someone else to come along and get things
started or do some of the work for them.
Lazy people are
also very quick with excuses for why they aren't doing
They say things like "yes, I want to go out and put in some
applications, but I'm waiting for the job market to improve."
"yes, I would like to put my house up for sale, but I'm
until I can get it cleaned up and I just never seem to have the time."
or "I would like to put some money into savings
but I'm waiting until I find a better job." The true mark of
lazy person is that their excuses are generally not even things that
are actually stopping them. The excuses may sound
at first, but if you look closely, their excuses are things that aren't
really stopping them. In our examples: a
market does not stop you from going out and putting in job
applications. A bad job market might make it difficult to
job, but it doesn't stop you from putting in applications.
How to overcome laziness:
First, just do something--anything
get started. If you have paperwork to do, then go and set it
out on the desk so it is ready to go. If you are trying to
the house cleaned up, then just get up and do one thing--such as clear
off an end table or sweep the kitchen floor. Quite often,
lazy person gets up and gets started, they find they can keep at it for
a while and get a bit more done than they thought they were going to.
with very small, attainable goals. Don't try to take on big
all at once. If you are planning to reorganize your dresser
drawers, don't wait until you think you have the time to do the entire
job start-to-finish, just get up and reorganize one drawer.
that, you can stop if you want to. Later, your next goal
to do the next drawer. Before you know it, the job is done.
If you are trying to save money, don't wait until you can put
$100 per month into the bank, start with $10. Do that for a
and see how it goes. Then increase your savings goal to $25, then
then $75. Before you know it, you are saving the $100 per
you originally planned.
Finally, set time lines. This will
help you overcome giving up when things don't happen quickly.
Instead of giving up because you put in job applications all
without a single job offer, promise yourself that you will put in job
applications for four months before you allow yourself to give up.
If you think your savings isn't building up fast enough after
months, promise yourself that you will stick with it for six months
before you even worry about what the balance is. Chances are
after six months you will see that you are
starting to get
forget that laziness is the number one thing that gets in the way of
accomplishing goals. Also remember that very few
people will admit to laziness being a problem. Some lazy
don't even realize they are lazy! So, if you see in yourself
of these traits of lazy people, you need to use the
techniques I've given you to overcome the laziness. When it
to accomplishing goals, financial or otherwise, if you can't overcome
laziness, you will never
accomplish your goals. Your financial future is too
important--don't let laziness get in the way.
"The way of
the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns..."
Pride / Arrogance
second most common thing that gets in the way is pride or arrogance.
Since arrogance and pride are so closely related that you
really separate one from the other, I consider them to be the same
problem. As a matter of fact, you can throw ego in there too.
Here are some indications that you might have a problem with
Pride, arrogance and/or ego:
first thing most commonly seen if you are dealing with an ego problem
is an unwillingness to take responsibility when you are wrong.
Notice I said "you" and not "they." The reason for
that arrogant people are very unwilling to see their own faults.
To admit they have faults would be taking responsibility for
mistakes or shortcomings and egotistical people generally blame their
situation on other people or circumstances rather than
blame themselves. On the rare occasion that an arrogant
does admit making a mistake, they will usually follow it up with a
reason why it is someone else's fault. You can
recognize an arrogant person because everything that is wrong in their
life is always someone else's fault.
dealing with an
arrogance problem usually have considerable difficulty
apologizing. Apologizing would be admitting to a mistake
would make it much more difficult for the arrogant person to make the
mistake someone else's fault.
When an arrogant person does apologize, it is generally a
shallow, insincere, condescending apology. Arrogant people
to hold grudges for a very long time; sometimes forever--especially if
someone hurt their pride.
If you are arrogant,
you will think that you are smarter than just about everyone else, and
you will tend to treat others accordingly. This will show up
such things as intentionally using words the other person
understand, talking down to others, treating other people's
as stupid or less valid than your own, often referring to other
people with such words as idiot, moron or fool, interacting with others
as though they are children even if they are not.
leads to thinking you are smarter than just about everyone else, and
that leads to difficulty taking advice.
people tends to believe they are smarter than others, taking advice
from someone else would be admitting that the other person knows
something the arrogant person doesn't. For someone dealing
pride problem, that is a difficult thing to do. When an
person does take advice, they often change it slightly just so
they don't have to do it exactly as someone else told them to.
Quite often an arrogant person will shoot down someone else's
idea, then implement that idea later when the person who suggested it
is not around. Sometimes, the arrogant person will even take
credit for the idea. Going along with this, arrogant people
get angry when something isn't being done their way.
people often have few close friends and tend to see themselves as
"loners who don't need anyone else." Arrogant people tend to
believe that other people think highly of them, or like
them even though it may not actually be true. Quite
arrogant people are talked about and put down by others behind their
backs--sometimes by the very same people that the arrogant person
believes think highly of them.
Arrogant people tend to argue
only as long as they feel that they are winning the argument.
this reason, when the other person makes a strong point, or begins to
prove that they are right, arrogant people often walk away or
up the phone before the conversation is finished. When an
arrogant person is shown to be wrong during an argument, they sometimes
change the subject or just flat out disregard the other person's point
often laughing at the person or treating them as if their idea is
How pride and arrogance
affect us financially.
of all, arrogant people have a hard time admitting it when they need
help. There may be a very good counselor available
but the arrogant person does not take advantage of that opportunity
because they don't want to admit to needing help--they're convinced
they have it all under control. Therefore, arrogant people
seek out counseling when they are in financial trouble and this
arrogance costs them the opportunity to learn how to correct their
Even when arrogant people do go to financial
counseling and the counselor tells them that the way they are handling
their finances won't work, the arrogant person usually thinks that they
are the exception: the statistics don't apply to them,
got it all figured out, they have an angle, they have a better way,
they are smarter than all of the other people who have tried to do the
exact same thing and failed. In my own counseling sessions, I
often have arrogant people argue with me and try to convince me that
the things I teach are wrong. I have actually had arrogant
come in for counseling because they were deeply in debt, and then try
to convince me that debt is not a bad idea as long as you know what you
are doing! Arrogant people have a really hard time admitting
when their ideas aren't working. Sometimes arrogant people
come in for counseling expecting me to tell them that the way they are
handling their money is correct and their problems are not their own
fault; then they get angry with me when I have to tell them otherwise.
I have a saying I use in counseling : "the first person you
to blame should always be yourself," and arrogant people
have a problem with it.
How to overcome pride,
arrogance and/or ego.
of all, look to see if you have any of the traits I described.
any of the things I mentioned sound like you? If they do, at
the possibility that you may have an ego problem.
someone very close to you to be perfectly honest with you and tell you
if they see any of these traits in you. Tell them ahead of
that you might get angry at their answer for a while, but to please be
willing to be honest anyway. If they are not perfectly honest
with you, and you are
an arrogant person, their lying to you about it
will only feed your ego and make the problem worse.
the person won't agree to be painfully honest with you, don't ask them.
If it makes it easier, have them write their answers down so
you can read them later when you are by yourself.
idea will be very, very difficult to do (for anybody), but will be a
real eye opener: find a mature, honest, truthful person who does not
think very highly of you and ask them why. As already
you can just have them write down their response for you to read later.
If you know several such people, have them all do it without
putting their names on their responses. Like I said, this can
painful. It is very hard to open yourself up to this kind of
honesty, but it can be a life-changing experience.
another way of working on an ego problem: practice
Even if it is something rather trivial, apologize anyway.
Be sincere and only apologize for things you have actually
wrong, but apologize for something
A sincere apology goes against everything that makes
problem and the more you apologize the easier it gets. With
apology, little by little you will be chipping away at your ego problem.
admitting that you don't know something. Too often, arrogant
people act as though they know it all. Sometimes arrogant
do this so much that they even start to believe it themselves.
Usually, though, other people aren't fooled and can see right
through it. Admitting it when you don't know something helps
counter this tendency. When you ask someone for advice or
counseling, come right out and say that you are coming to them for
advice because you don't know enough about it. As with
apologizing, it gets easier the more you do it and you'll be surprised
how much you'll learn from others in the process. Purposely
yourself into unfamiliar situations where you really don't know enough
about it and use this opportunity to practice admitting it.
a child who knows something you don't and let them teach you (you'd be
surprised at the skills some children have!)
Finally, arrange a
code word that close friends and family can use to secretly let you
know, without embarrassing you, that you are behaving arrogantly.
Make it an unrelated, but common word, so that it can be
into the situation. The code word can be just about
anything--even a name. Let's say your code word is the name
George. Your friend or family member could say something like
"that sounds just like something George would say." That
you know that you are behaving arrogantly without anyone around you
knowing what it means.
Pride, arrogance and/or ego can prevent
you from getting counseling. It can stop you from listening
people who know more about the situation than you do and can prevent
you from getting the advice
you need. Pride, arrogance and/or ego can also prevent you
implementing the advice or counseling once you've received it.
Don't forget that pride is expensive. It can cost
financial future. If you are dealing with an ego problem in
life, start right now to overcome it. Don't let pride keep
from accomplishing your goals.
"With pride comes
trouble, but with counsel comes wisdom." Proverbs 13:10
Lack of knowledge
third most common thing that gets in the way is a lack of knowledge.
A lack of knowledge can often lead to a feeling of
being overwhelmed and lost. Lack of knowledge also leads to
not knowing what the next step is--a feeling of "I have no idea what to
do next." A lack of knowledge leaves you unable to even come
with a plan to deal with a problem, let alone break the plan down into
individual steps. You feel like you need some goals, but
know what those goals should be or what to do first in striving to
A lack of knowledge is also usually the cause when
you experience such things as: constantly running into
vocabulary you don't know, not knowing whom you should ask
advice, not bothering to question advice you are given to see if it
makes sense or not even being able to determine if the advice makes
Overcoming a lack of
knowledge is simple.
overcome a lack of knowledge, start doing some basic research.
to the library and look for books on the subject. Do a search
the Internet. As you read more and more about a particular
subject, you will discover more places to get additional information.
If there is a counselor available, go talk to them.
don't have to follow the advice you get, but at least you'll have it to
consider. Find other people who have gone through the same
you are and talk to them. If applicable, join a support
As you gain knowledge, it tends to lead you to more knowledge.
of whether or not your goal is a financial one, devise some sort of
plan to achieve it. Break it down into small, attainable steps you can
work on. I am an avid chess player and in chess we have a
saying: "a bad plan is better than no plan." That is because
no plan, you don't even know how to get started or what to do next.
And a bad plan at least eventually reaches a point that you
see it is not working which allows you to figure out what you're doing
wrong. Without any plan at all, you are just making things up
you go along and reacting to situations as they arise which makes it
nearly impossible to go back and see why your decisions were bad ones.
In other words, a bad plan at least allows you to see where
are going wrong, while having no plan robs you of the feedback you need
to make corrections.
When it comes to
knowledge about family finances...
find most of the financial knowledge you need right here on
Eclecticsite.com's Financial Page. These articles are
specifically chosen because they deal with the most common financial
difficulties faced by Americans today. Read through every
article--even the ones you don't think apply to you. Maybe
don't, but maybe they do and you won't know it unless you read them.
Either way, you'll have knowledge you didn't have before.
And of course, don't forget to check out the financial books
recommend and the finance-related
"The discerning heart
seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on foolishness."
Please know that all of the thoughts, information,
and techniques given on this site are nothing more than the author's
the matter being addressed. Do further research before making
article copyright © 2007 by Keith C. Rawlinson
(Eclecticsite.com). All rights reserved.
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as long as you
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