There’s No Wrong Way to Color Inside the Lines

I had an amazing conversation with my son about relationships and business that I want to share with you because I believe you’ll find it enlightening and inspiring.

As I am prone to do, I was waxing on (and on and on) – this time about how there is no one-size-fits-all solution success in business, investing or relationships. But the magic formula for success is a popular myth that is widely promulgated because it’s an easy sell.

I explained how my observation is that many business, investing,  fitness and even spiritual “gurus” make handsome livings telling people (for a nominal fee) about the one secret for health, wealth, happiness, love and success.

I went on to say that I believe when people go out into the real world with this ideal “one-size-fits-all” formula and apply it to whatever they’re pursuing, they often run into a bevy of problems.  And it isn’t that the formula doesn’t work.  It just doesn’t work for that specific person, couple or group.

Most of the time, I opined, it’s a mismatch between the formula and the unique personality and desires of the other parties involved, and what should be a labor of love degrades into a daily uphill push through joyless activities.

Only the most tenacious, disciplined (and maybe a little masochistic) person will get up every day and fight against the flow of their natural interests and desires for an extended period of time.  And since “overnight success” is another myth I could go off on (but won’t), most people quit before success is achieved.

Why can’t people, I continued, whom I believe are created as highly unique (and often quirky) individuals, embrace their uniqueness (and that of the people around them), and design their lives – including business, investments, fitness programs and relationships – based on what they truly enjoy, produces results, and brings joy to them and the other unique individuals involved in the particular venture?

As an example, I proudly held up The Real Estate Guys’ emphasis on encouraging people to take time to develop a personal investment philosophy.  This exhortation stands in stark contrast to the many “magic formula” offerings in the real estate educational marketplace.  When you invest in markets and properties that interest you, and work with people you get along with, it’s a lot easier to deal with the inevitable challenges that come along.

Sure, it’s easier to sell a one-size-fits-all system to people who don’t want to do the hard work of self-discovery, planning and experimentation.  But without all that, your investing can take you to a place you don’t really want to go.  You end up working every day with people, markets, properties and problems you don’t enjoy (yes, problems can be fun, which is why people some people like math, crossword puzzles and the like).  Maybe you have money, but you sure aren’t satisfied.  Robert and I met a guy making over a million a year running an apartment complex he owned – and he hated every day of his life.

But to clarify to my impressionable young adult son, I added that being creativity doesn’t mean cheating, abusing or using others.

Be creative, I said, within the confines of respecting the rights and well-being of others.  Otherwise, you end up like the Wall Street wizards, who fabricated assets out of nothing (derivatives) and sold them to unsuspecting investors.  As we found out, when all the leverage finally imploded, it created all kinds of mayhem in the financial lives of people all around the globe that we’re still working our way out of.

After listening to me drone on for several minutes, he simply said to me, “There’s no wrong way to color inside the lines.”

Wow.  I was speechless.

Brilliant!  He encapsulated my entire rant into one powerful sentence.

So I offer this powerful piece of profundity to you for your own personal contemplation this holiday season.  And I encourage you to embrace your uniqueness and that of your family, friends and business associates, and of your financial statements and circumstances, not matter how challenging they all may be.

Then pick up your crayon as you enter 2012, and begin coloring yourself a masterpiece that will reflect the beauty, creativity and uniqueness that is you and the people around you – something that will bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment.  I wish I could give you a color by the numbers template, but you’ll just have to figure it out on your own or it won’t be yours.  Just stay inside the lines.

For help uncovering your you uniqueness, I highly recommend Robert’s Creating our Future Goals Retreat.  It’s an empowering and inspirational 2-1/2 day workshop of self-discovery and goal setting – the perfect way to start off a brand new year!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Prosperous and Joyous New Year!

Russ

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