Have you ever woke up in the morning, looked at your to-do list and said to yourself, “I'll just wait to do that tomorrow.” If you are the worst kind of procrastinator, it could be costing you more than just money. Here on TBM, most of the articles you read are about money management and finance. Today, I am writing about one of the most painful lessons we all face in life, the one thing we try so hard to avoid.
Yes, it's true that procrastination and life limitations can hinder you from reaching financial goals, but in the end, it could also be costing you so much more – happiness.
The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments. – Thich Nhat Hanh
It's easy to think that there will be a point in your life that once you reach it, you will have finally “made it.” I learned this weekend that there is no such point out there that is waiting for you. The only thing that you truly have is the power to control this exact moment, the moment you have right now. While you are waiting for satisfaction to find you, and for the hoops you are jumping over to disappear, you ultimately end up putting your happiness off into an unknown future.
It's not uncommon for people to say, “Once I find my soulmate, get married, and start a family, then I will truly be happy and finally have everything that I want.” In fact, this is a belief that I once had. We spend money trying to impress people we think we want, we go on far too many horrible dates, and end up getting hurt more than we should, all so we find a future we believe will bring us everything that we have ever wanted.
Are you waiting to lose 15 pounds, to write a book, travel the world, get promoted at work, make a six-figure income, buy a home, get married, or start a family? Are you happy in this exact moment that you have? If not, then when? Maybe Thursday, maybe next summer, maybe next winter, two years from now? When you finally find the man you have dreamed about since you were a kid, have enough in retirement, save enough money, pay off more debt?
What ever happened to wanting the moment you have now? Isn't it enough? The hard truth is, when you finally “make it” to where you want to go, and have everything that you think you wanted, there will always be more challenges. There will always be roadblocks, imperfect moments, and hard lessons that have to be learned along the way. These are the things that make what we actually want worth it.
For a long time, it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacles in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last, it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. – Alfred D. Souza
The hardest thing to swallow is that sometimes in life, you simply can't have what you actually want. That's one of the most painful lessons about life. It's one of the first things we try teaching our children. We try saving them from the hurt we know is bound to happen. As adults, it has happened to us, probably multiple times. It has definitely happened to me. So what do we do? We gaze up at the sky and ask a higher power to make things better. We stare off into space, wondering what our purpose truly is. We desperately search for the meaning of life and wonder, “why can't we get what we want?”
The simple answer – because if you got everything you ever wanted, you wouldn't actually be living.
I could throw you financial statistics that say waiting costs money. I could tell you that consumers paid $12 billion in credit card late fees alone in 2016, or that the number of people who identify themselves as chronic procrastinators increased last year. I could make this article only about saving money or paying off debt. If I did, then I would be leaving out the most important information of all. There are no statistics that can measure our personal lives. No one can give you accurate data about the helplessness we feel when we are overloaded with debt, being rejected, dumped, used, or the fear we feel when we lose a job.
Only you can write it. You have to grasp the true presence, even if it's not what you want. It's the only real time and place in which we have any influence or choice to make things different. A chance to write statistics about our lives that matter.
Stop waiting for what you really want. Instead, accept this moment and go find it.
Is this the reason so many of us fail to change our financial situations, or is it only about happiness? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.