A Part of my talk to local grade 7 students this year was discussing money (and saving and banks and loans) and budgeting I introduced the concept of understanding the difference of what a wish is and what a goal is, and how they each produce a different result.
While avoiding the old ‘wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one gets filled first’ chestnut, I was able to explain one of the reasons why having a plan, and therefore a budget, is so important.
“Imagine I’m a fantastically fast runner,” I told them, and in all eleven classrooms a number of kids would stop looking at my face and their eyes would slide down to my stomach. Ignoring their incredulous looks, and before they could ask the obvious question, I would plow on. “Can you tell me how much success I might have if one day I said to myself, ‘I wish I could win an Olympic gold medal’ and left it at that? Do you think I’d get my gold medal?” The answer, of course, is no, I would not fair well in an Olympic race. Even the kids at the back of the room shoving pencils up their nostrils could see that. “And what if I made it a goal? What if one day I said to myself, ‘I am going to win an Olympic gold medal’? What is the difference now?” And the kids got it straight off. The difference is now I’m going to do things to bring it about. I’m going to train, get a coach, eat better, work out a strategy to win local, regional, state and national races. Well the first thing I’d do is probably lose 20 kg, if we’re honest. Suddenly I’m not just wishing for it, I’m planning for it.
This is the same for any number of things in life. The job you get. The places you travel. The car you drive. The house you live in. And this is the same for financial security, I told the kids. One day you’ll be earning money and it will be up to you what you do with it. Don’t just wish you will end up with money enough to do what you want, and then go spend every cent in your account. Have a goal, cause once you’ve got a goal you see the money differently and you will make a plan.
One of my little non-financial goals is to next year avoid dis-credulous looks from grade 7 kids who clearly think I’m fat, so I plan to ask them to imagine I’m a fantastic singer instead of a fantastic runner.