Everyone dreams of having that cool car or that nice house, but others will tell you to stay in your lane and get comfortable with what you have. I disagree.
Disclaimer: This post has more to do with an ideology than actual financial advice that my other posts usually talk about. But I feel like it’s applicable and you can benefit from it.
I know I am not alone when we start to dream about extravagant things. Be it an Eames lounge chair from Herman Miller or my dream car, the Lamborghini Aventador, we are always told “good luck with that” or a financial guru will say, “you can't afford that”. You know why I hate that phrase, “you can’t afford that”? Because it traps you in a box. It impedes you from breaking out and it bludgeons your ability. Okay, so what am I on about? I believe that dreaming about nice things and looking towards the finer things in life shouldn’t be something we are afraid to do. We should do it as often as we can and as much as we want, without being told we cannot. Why should we do this? It unlocks the capabilities inside someone that they didn’t know they had. It loosens the imagination and helps us become creative. Lastly, it pushes us to achieve what others keep telling you is not possible. It keeps you irritated… in a good way. Best of all, if we can realize our potential maybe, just maybe, we can make the world a better place. Let me break this down for you.
Let us paint a picture real quick. You and a friend are walking down the street in New York and you hear the roar of an engine approaching from behind; both of you turn around to take a peak but your view is blinded by a sea of yellow taxis. Suddenly from behind a cab, a neon green car darts to the side and races forward towards you. It whizzes by you while leaving behind a glorious V10 noise. It’s a Lambo. Both of you are fixed on the car and as soon as it disappears into an alley, you finally make eye contact with your friend. She seems impressed for a moment and then you see the fixed gaze fade away. You finally say, “damn, I want to get that”. You continue to look towards her looking for her response, but instead you get some frowned eyebrows as if she was confused about what you just said. You ask, “what are you looking at me like that for?”. She responds, “okay good luck with that, let me know when you get it”. This remark hurts you for a moment, and you think “maybe she’s right, how the heck am I going to be able to afford that”. You ponder for a few moments more and think, “maybe I should just be happy with my Camry, there are people out there who can't even afford a car”. And that’s where the passion and drive go to die. Yes, it's important to be aware that there are people in the world who have less than you, but it's just as important to remember this for the right reasons. I'm not saying that looking at expensive and the finer things in life solves all the problems, but it pushes us to do more. In this scenario, a simple sarcastic remark could grind down the small flame of passion in a second. It puts you in the box of being able to explore yourself.
Being able to look at and strive for nice things is where we start to kinder the fire of passion. I think about it as a goal setting activity. Let’s say for example, you see something, and it is obviously way over your current financial capacity. If you take that object and now make it your goal, you can create a plan on how to achieve that goal. This is how most people are taught to achieve things. Set a goal and plan to reach it. The only difference is the “goal” is that thing really expensive object. If you want that Lamborghini, you first take notice of what is required, in this case $450,000. Then you try to plan on how you will reach it. You can come up with a savings plan, a side hustle or plan to work your way up the corporate ladder. This simple activity allows you to plan on how you will scale yourself to reach a level you dictated and ultimately reach that goal. It allows us to unlock parts of our brain to help us strategize and creatively think. And once we achieve that goal, we set another goal and try to scale further and further.
I want to caution that this concept should not be confused with conspicuous consumption, where you simply buy expensive luxury good items just to feel exclusive or feel like it will make you happy. This is not that, this is about looking at something as a concept you want to attack. It just so happens the things that we can readily see as goals to achieve, happen to be luxury items like expensive homes and cars. But the two ideas are very different.
If we can simply look at things and create this plan, it can launch us to a path where we can create a difference. At first it could be that cool car you wanted, but in wanting to achieve that car you were able to tap into a skill that you were very proficient in, let's say coding or programming. You decided to use that skill to build a business and you were able to scale it up to a point where it was a successful high revenue generating business. In the pursuit of going after that nice car, you were able to build something that people can actually use and benefit from. Now this may be a slightly far fetched example but you can easily relate this on a smaller scale. You could potentially make a difference in your family’s life and improve the quality of life. The point is you never know where it could lead you.
In a nutshell, it's an exercise that shouldn’t be considered as veering outside your lane. It’s a great way to visualize a goal and set a course to achieve that. The best part is, you never know what a byproduct of that goal could be, it could impact a few people or a few million people, but more importantly it allows people to continue to dream. It allows people to engage and really start attacking their goals. There isn’t anything too small to set as your goal and it doesn’t even have to be a materialistic item, like a house or car, but it can be financial freedom, or that self-improvement project you’ve been working on. It's important not to scoff at peoples dreams because it traps us into a corner and its much tougher for people to get out. But once people can set their sights on something that seems immediately out of reach that when we can truly realize everyone’s potential.