On Monday, I wrote a post about Consistency that turned into a post about your INTERNAL consistency (or how what you do and what you believe about yourself shape the person you become). My last bit of advice in that post was:
Want to learn Korean? Do it daily. Tell yourself DAILY you can and you will. Start with the label “Korean speaker” and act consistently toward that label.
In my previous post, I argued that labels (right or wrong) that we accept about ourselves eventually begin to shape the way we live our lives whether we consciously choose to allow them to or not. For example:
- If you hear “handsome” about yourself often enough, you’ll probably start caring more about your outward appearance than you had previously.
- If you hear “funny,” you’ll get bolder with your stories and jokes and tell them more often.
- On the other hand, if you hear “lazy,” you might just start BEING more lazy – because you figure little is expected of you anyway.
- And if you often tell yourself, “I’m so stupid!” you might just start believing your own lies and surrender yourself to fate, rather than actively working HARD to change your perceived “destiny.”
Want to learn or do anything great? Start with a great label.
I think much of the confusion in our lives comes about from either poor labels we accept, or unclear labels about ourselves.
For example, most driven and successful people KNOW who they are and what they want. They’re so clear (and consistent) about their own purposes and identity that little has a chance to detour them or hinder their forward progress. Take the following two people for example:
In Arnold’s autobiography, he tells the story of the first time he ever dreamed of going to Hollywood. He was 15 years old at the time and had just begun bodybuilding. Kurt Marnul, then Mr. Austria, saw tremendous potential in him and told him he too could “win Mr. Austria” if he worked hard enough. He trained through the summer with that goal in mind, but then in November, a bigger idea began forming.
He’d just picked up the latest issue of Muscle Builder magazine and on the cover was Reg Park, then Mr. Universe, and had just starred in the summer movie (which Arnold had loved), Hercules. He writes:
This story [in the magazine] crystallized a new vision for me. I could become another Reg Park. All my dreams suddenly came together and made sense…
In weeks that followed, I refined this vision until it was very specific. I was going to go for the Mr. Universe title; I was going to break records in power lifting; I was going to Hollywood; I was going to be like Reg Park. The vision became so clear in my mind that I felt like it had to happen. There was no alternative; it was this or nothing.
— Chapter 2
Schwarzenegger eventually did do all those things, including becoming the new Hercules. But we all know that the first few things he did in Hollywood flopped horribly. If he’d have listened to the external voices of the critics and accepted the labels they assigned him, we’d have never had the Terminator nor the Governator. Here’s his advice:
Turn your liabilities into assets. When I wanted to star in movies, the Hollywood agents I talked to told me to forget it – my body and my name and my accent were all too weird. Instead, I worked hard on my accent and my acting, as hard as I’d worked at bodybuilding, to transform myself into a leading man. With Conan and The Terminator, I broke through: the things that the agents said would be a detriment and make it impossible for me to get a job, all of a sudden made me an action hero…
— Chapter 30
Throughout his life, Schwarzenegger has consistently defied negative labels others have assigned him and worked incredibly hard to make the seemingly impossible possible. He has consistently been clear with himself about who he is and what he wants and has consistently worked hard to achieve his dreams.
Dave Ramsey is another good example of someone who’s “turned his liabilities into assets.”
Dave got into real estate when he was 18 years old. By the age of 26, he’d amassed a real estate portfolio worth millions. But, it was all based on debt. When his largest lender bank was bought out by a larger bank, they called in his loans and demanded he pay $1.2 million in just 90 days. That forced him to file bankruptcy for relief.
Now, a lot of people would have thought that Mr. Ramsey had incredible assets (in real estate) just prior to his bankruptcy, but Mr. Ramsey quickly discovered that real estate purchased with loans is actually a huge liability. Real estate is like Robert Kiyosaki says in his book Rich Dad, Poor Dad:
Your house is not an asset. It’s a liability. Very simply, an asset is something that puts money in your pocket. A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket.
So Mr. Ramsey had enormous liabilities at age 26 that ended up bankrupting him (in 1986). But over the course of the next few years, with lots of consistent hard work and financial counseling for couples through church, he fought back and regained many times more than what he lost.
He founded his company, the Lampo Group in 1992, and that has become the backbone for his national brand. Now he:
- Hosts a radio talk show on over 500 US stations
- Has over 350 employees in his company
- Owns dozens of pieces of real estate – paid for in cash
- Has hundreds of thousands of fans on Twitter and Facebook
Now, if he’d have allowed that label “bankrupt” to define him, things would be much different today. If he’d taken to heart all the people who’d said, “You can’t take financial advice from a guy who went bankrupt” then he may never have become the nationally syndicated radio host we know today. But he didn’t. It’s like he’s said countless times on his program before:
Poor is a state of mind. It says “I’m stuck and I can’t win” and it keeps you from winning. Broke is temporary. And when you go broke, you say, “I will NEVER, EVER come back here again.” And you don’t. I know. I went broke! But I’ve never been poor.
Consistency is King (and makes you one)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Ramsey can teach us all a very important lesson: consistent, persistent, HARD WORK, even in the face of opposition, eventually pays huge dividends in the end.
Both of these men:
- Chose for themselves their own labels (and ignored the naysayers)
- Then, consistently worked hard in the direction of their dreams