General Advice Warning. The information on Dad Mode is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial or product advice.
I used to get pissed off when people told me that to get rich, you just needed to change your mindset.
Like, all you needed to do was think that all of your bills would be paid, and they magically would be.
‘How out of touch’, I would think. You can’t just think and grow rich. What a stupid idea.
Right? It couldn’t be that easy.
Eventually… After 31 years of struggling, I finally figured out what they actually meant.
It’s not ‘think—do nothing—get rich’, it’s ‘think—act—get rich’. They could have said that in the first place.
Your mindset is just the essential first step in the process, one that is rarely understood. Thinking and doing nothing won’t make any material difference in your life, but it’s the mindset you can ‘think’ your way into that can.
My initial and long-lasting confusion about this concept is common with books like ’think and grow rich’. On the surface, it seems like all you have to do is meditate on what you want, and you will get it. If I visualise a Ferrari long enough, one will just show up at my door! What a dream.
I don’t want a Ferrari by the way, I have two kids…
In reality, what the author is getting at is, to change the behaviour that allows you to be successful, you have to change your mindset first.
Sometimes to understand things, we need not to take them so literally. Who would have thought!
I want to note here that I don’t really like the word ‘rich’. It reeks of inequality and evokes images of gold coin mountains with bratty teenagers sliding down them, Richie rich style. To make all of this a little more palatable, think of ‘rich’ in any way you like, not just monetarily. Love, family, time etc…
With that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of the mindset I’ve developed that can help you make mistakes.
Yeh, that’s not a typo, and we are still talking about investing in this article, don’t worry. Mistakes are important.
I want to help you feel more comfortable when fucking up, so you aren’t afraid of taking the risks and making the mistakes that are necessary for your growth. Because If we don’t fail, we don’t learn. The secret sauce is in how effective we can be when we fail and how willing we are to do it.
For you to be effective in your failure, you need to have the right mindset first.
Failure is your pathway to success
Failure has been a gigantic part of my life in the last fifteen years. I’ve had failed relationships, failed hobbies and failed businesses (too many to count). I even had a breastfeeding tea brand… Turns out pregnant women would rather not buy tea made by a teenager in his bedroom. Weird right?
I’ve failed more times than I can remember, and it’s made it hard to feel secure financially. Not ideal when you have a family to look after. Stressing about money has a way of taking over your brain and forcing the important stuff out.
If you’re human, and I’m guessing you are, this will all sound pretty familiar. Failure is normal, but how do we take it from something you dread, to something you look forward to?
The answer is mindset, and it comes in two parts.
The first is how to get the most out of failure, and the second gives you the peace of mind to do it often and do it well.
How to optimise your failure.
If you haven’t read my article on failure, please do so HERE, but I’ll summarise my strategy for getting the most out of it below.
It’s called The Failure growth cycle
This is something I simplified from a concept that Ray Dalio writes about in his book Principles. The idea is that we are constantly within a cycle of reinvention or rebirth.
Here’s the cycle
1. We do something (creative, trying something new, parenting etc).
2. We fail at that thing.
3. We reflect on the failure and recognise why we failed (we learn).
4. We try step 1 again with our new learnings from step 3 and get a little further towards success.
5. Repeat for eternity.
Thinking like this has the power to change your life and makes it easy to move on from failures mentally, but there is something missing that makes it easier practically and financially too. A mindset that gives you the confidence to take risks, make moves when you’re unhappy, and just reduces your stress overall.
Let’s get into it.
Investing as your failure insurance policy.
Talking about failure at the start of an investing article, at first glance, doesn’t seem like the smartest move for my average reading time. But it’s valuable, so bear with me.
When I started investing a few years ago, I didn’t have a strategy (still don’t lol) but it always made me feel good to look at my balance grow. It was comforting to know that there was something positive happening for my future without my input.
As I jumped from job to job trying to find something that fit, knowing there was something making progress towards my financial goals that was decoupled from my failures was extremely comforting.
As long as I kept investing and that money continued to grow, I could fail at everything else in my life and I would be ok financially (probably).
Seeing your invested money in this way allows you to take the leap to that new job, new house, new project and know that if you fall, you have a cushion to land on when you get to the bottom. Without it, it’s a heck of lot more scary.
When you’re secure financially, you can take more risks. That’s part of the reason that rich people build wealth so quickly. They can risk more because that have the security to back it up.
Investing is my failure insurance policy because it is the one thing that backs me up and allows me to make the mistakes and take the risks that are necessary to become successful. I now see failure for what it really is, an opportunity to learn.
The practicalities of investing are for another article but if you take one thing away today, make it this.
Whether you fail and learn or fail and get discouraged is up to you.
Your mindset is everything, and investing can help you get there.
So go and risk it for the biscuit! (anyone heard of that saying?)
See you in the next one! xx