I recall that dinner table conversation with dad as if it happened yesterday. We were discussing an expensive purchase (I don’t remember what exactly).
“No, we can’t afford it,” he said, as usual.
Suddenly, something inside me snapped. Indignantly, I replied:
“You know what’s the difference between us? You say ‘We can’t afford it’, and figure out how to manage without it. I ask ‘HOW can we afford it?’ – and figure out a way to!”
It’s how I’ve lived all my life.
And as a result, amazing things have become possible.
So, how can you afford anything?
1. Make Choices – Or Compromise
Nobody can afford everything. It’s simply not practical. Even the richest person on earth can’t buy up all that he wants.
So we make choices. Set priorities. If you want X, maybe you must give up Y to have it. Or do Z to be able to afford it.
Say I give you 10,000 rupees every month. You could:
a. spend it on stuff you like, or
b. save it all up, and buy yourself a return ticket to Europe at the end of the year
The one thing you CAN’T do is both spend it AND save it!
You have to make a choice between the two options.
This logic applies to any resource you own.
- If I want to spend more time with my daughter, I can’t have a hectic surgical practice.
- If I want to hang out more with my wife, I can’t go out with my friends every evening.
The resource – time – is limited. It’s allocation is discretionary.
The good news is that, mostly, you have control over how it is distributed. The bad news is that, often, you don’t realize how much control you really have!
Another key to being able to afford anything is to…
2. Think Differently About Money
For many people, money is a tangible thing. Something to crave, cherish, own, get more of, and hoard – for its own sake.
But money is really a MEDIUM of exchange.
When two farmers live in the same village, and one grows tomatoes while the other grows potatoes, they simply bartered with each other. But when they lived far apart, instead of carrying heavy sacks of veggies back and forth, they invented a medium of exchange… and called it MONEY.
And that’s all it is – a means of exchanging what you have, for what you WANT.
(Another way I view money is as ENERGY that flows to where it can do things, but that’s another perspective for a different post!)
So… you exchange what you have – for money. We call this “work”. A job. Where you ‘spend’ your time and skill for a salary or other financial compensation.
Now, the key is to realize what you’re exchanging – and what it’s worth (or what you want in return for it).
Personally, I’d consider it fair when I can exchange an hour of my time for $100 (or 5,000 rupees). Anything less is not. That’s just me. Your “Number” will be different. But you ought to figure it out.
“But… but… but surely pediatric cardiac surgery doesn’t pay you so much?!”
You’re right. It doesn’t. In fact, it doesn’t pay me AT ALL – and I actually sponsor operations for those who can’t afford it, out of donations, and a portion of my earnings.
But then, for me, heart surgery isn’t “work”. It’s a dream come true. A calling. A passion. One that I will happily do forever, for free. That’s the difference.
Thinking differently about money alone won’t do, though. You’ll need to make enough of it.
3. Make Enough Money
You don’t get paid a lot of money to do average stuff. Things that anyone else can do just as well. Or worse, that can be automated.
There are just two ways to make as much money as you want…
a. Take risks – intelligently
Robbing a bank is risky. It can make you rich – fast. But it isn’t smart. Or right.
There are other ways to take risks that make you rich.
You could see and seize opportunities sooner than anyone else. Sure, there’s some risk involved. But if you can manage those risks, you can profit wildly.
b. Add value – consistently
People will pay you money for:
- making them healthy
- making them rich
- making them beautiful
- making them happy
Pause and think about this for a moment.
* Travel, cosmetics and self-improvement are each multi-billion dollar industries – because they add excitement, happiness and joy to people’s lives.
* Healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are hot money-spinners around the world – because they relieve pain and suffering or treat illness.
* Biz opps and investment services have spawned hordes of millionaires across industries – because people will happily pay for “money at a discount”.
Which of them will make YOUR dreams come true?