Maybe you’re a firm follower of a personal finance expert or investment specialist. Maybe you’ve spent years honing your skills and approach to money based on what they have to say, or on the back of the product you bought from them.
But just because you followed the principles on money outlined by a guru and applied the letter of the law, it doesn’t mean that it will always turn out right.
Yes, there will be times when your mental attitude and application aren’t correctly aligned, and any efforts you apply are weak-willed at best. At times like that, what you sow, so you shall reap. Mastery often requires complete congruence of thought and action.
You Can’t Always Get What You Want
But then there are the other times. Those times that you are so fired up, so crystal clear with your intentions, so efficient with your application of the rules, and so focused on your goal that everything should go smoothly. And yet they don’t. In fact, the results are terrible.
How could that be? After all, you did exactly as you were told.
For one thing, the world we live in is far more random than we are willing to give it credit. The real problem comes when we forget this fact and try to make order out of chaos.
We get tripped up by our biases, lazy rules of thumb and limited perspectives. Too often we think in a way that assumes that life will follow a predictable path, only for a tail risk event like the global financial crisis occurring to challenge us.
But You Can Still Get What You Need
So always look at personal finance programs as useful tools in your box but not necessarily the answer to all your prayers. Don’t blindly buy into the promises and guarantees.
The problem also comes with the uniformity of the guru advice given. The idea that most, if not all, is relevant to every single one of us. It’s the idea that we all have the same motives, drivers and needs.
On a very basic level, maybe that’s true. Applying Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example, shows how we all have a basic desire for our physiology (food, roof over our head etc.) and our safety (security of body and of family etc.) to be catered for first.
But beyond that, we are all shaped by many different things. Circumstances and stages in life are part of the story, but so are a sense of belonging and how you want to be remembered.
Be Your Own Guru
Life’s all a little too complex for any of us to have one guru’s absolute truths about our finances dictated to us by an outsider. Each expert will see the world through their own filter of life – sometimes that’s relevant to you and sometimes it’s not.
And just because the information doesn’t always resonate with you, it doesn’t mean that you are wrong.
At the end of the day, you need to be your own money guru. So just because a certain money program or strategy doesn’t reap the results you were hoping for, it doesn’t automatically mean there’s a fault in how you applied yourself.
Keep learning, keep applying what you learn and, importantly, keep discarding what doesn’t work for you.