Tag Archives: motivation

“I Want You to WANT to Save!”

credit: Alice Pasqual (Unsplash)

credit: Alice Pasqual (Unsplash)


In the 2006 movie The Break-Up, there is a funny sequence where the Vince Vaughn character and the Jennifer Aniston character get into a huge fight. It’s pretty relatable for many couples who have dealt with similar circumstances.

So let me set the scene: After a dinner party with friends, Jennifer Aniston’s character (Brooke) wants to do the dishes. Vince Vaugh’s character (Gary) is playing Grand Theft Auto.

B: Well, I’m gonna go do the dishes.

G: Cool.

B: It’d be nice if you helped me.

G: No problem. A little bit later. I’m just gonna hit the streets here for a little bit (playing GTA).

B: Gary, come on, I don’t want to do them later. Let’s just do them now. It’ll take 15 minutes.

G: Honey, I am so exhausted. I just honestly want to relax for a little bit. If I could just sit here, let my food digest, and just try to enjoy the quiet for a little bit. Get some! Get some! Get some! (beating people with a club on GTA) That’s what happens. And we will…you know, we can clean the dishes tomorrow.

B: Gary, you know I don’t like waking up to a dirty kitchen.

G: Who cares?

B: I care! All right? I care! I busted my ass all day cleaning this house and then cooking that meal. And I worked today. It would be nice if you said thank you and helped me with the dishes.

G: Fine. I’ll help you do the damn dishes. (throwing his game controller down)

B: Oh, come on. You know what? No. See? That’s not what I want.

G: You just said that you want me to help you do the dishes.

B: I want you to want to do the dishes.

G: Why would I want to do dishes? Why?

B: See, that’s my whole point.

G: Let me see if I’m following this, okay? Are you telling me that you’re upset because I don’t have a strong desire to clean dishes?

B: No. I’m upset because you don’t have a strong desire to offer to do the dishes.

G: I just did.

B: After I asked you!

(Check out a clip of the scene here if you’re interested)

I’m a bit of a weirdo I guess because I really don’t mind doing dishes all that much and that’s with NO DISHWASHER! I’m no saint though because doing the dishes probably means I get out of doing some other chore I hate more!

Obviously no one really likes to do the dirty work, the grunt work, the menial tasks like washing the dishes. But it’s not really about doing dishes. It’s about sharing the household chores in a marriage and loving your spouse so you don’t want them to have to do these menial tasks all by themselves. Sure, everyone has those sweep-you-off-your-feet moments where you write a romantic poem for your wife. You bring her home fresh flowers when she’s feeling down. But no one really things of doing the menial tasks like washing dishes, cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom as ROMANCE. These are thankless jobs. However, if you’re like me and your “love language” is “Acts of Service” then you probably feel loved when your spouse does these tasks so you don’t have to. Many people will profess their love for their significant other, but are they willing to do the little things to strengthen that relationship?

What does this have to do with Money?

Similar to the above example, a lot of people read exciting headlines about those who paid off a ton of debt in a short period of time, people who retired extremely early, or people who started a blog, making tons of money. A lot of people also make these their goals. Who wouldn’t want to attain these goals? But how many people want to do the dirty work to get there?

When it comes to paying off a ton of debt or saving up enough money to retire extremely early, you’ve got to save a lot of money. But who really wants to save? Who enjoys saving?

Who wants to cook their own meals rather than having something cook it for them?

Who wants to forego that Starbucks venti iced mocha latte?

Who gets joy out of watching their bank and investment account grow rather than spending your paycheck on new shoes or new iPhone X?

Who actually wants to set up a meeting with their spouse to discuss finances and to set up a budget?

When it comes to starting a business, who wants to sit down and actually do research on that industry and to write up a business plan?

For those aspiring money making bloggers, do you like learning about SEO and how to do stuff on Pinterest? (Oh boy, I don’t even know the proper terminology for that!?)

Once again, I am a weirdo, a financial weirdo, and so are some others in the personal finance world. We get great enjoyment pulling up our portfolio seeing how it has grown. Some people look forward to having a financial meeting with their spouse. Some even say that Budgets are Sexy!

That’s not the majority of the people though. Most people have these grand plans and goals, but how many follow through and actually put their plans into action. How many even take the first step towards that goal? It’s not a surprise that the majority of people’s New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Don’t tell me your grand plans and goals. Show me what you are doing right now to achieve them!

Behind every person who killed their debt, who achieved FIRE, or started a successful business is a trail of hard-work, discipline, and sacrifice. The goal is exciting and sexy, but the work that is required to get there, often is not. But if you truly want to attain that goal, you’ve got to do the unglamorous dirty work. If you are just all talk and no action, then don’t complain when you haven’t achieve those goals. Now go out there and start taking action. And don’t forget to help your spouse with the dishes!

What are your goals and what are you doing right now to achieve them?

Dealing With Facebook Envy

Facebook

I had sworn off checking Facebook updates. Too often, I would find myself wasting a lot of time looking at what other people were doing, rather than playing with my toddler or talking with my wife. Sure, it’s fun to see what people were up to in their lives and it’s addicting scrolling through all the updates, but it really wasn’t productive at all. So I just stopped going on. However, when my second child was born, Facebook was a good place to make an announcement to friends and families rather than individually texting or calling everyone. So I went on to post the announcement, and once again, I found myself on Facebook again, checking out what my Facebook friends were doing. I couldn’t help myself.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Not only is checking Facebook, a huge time-suck, it can make you envious. According to a study, it can also make you depressed. Of course, when you see what others are doing in their lives, it’s natural to compare it to what you’re doing in your own life. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” While I was on Facebook, I saw one friend upload a video of him in his new Tesla driving on autopilot, whereas I was contemplating replacing my Hyundai Sonata, which is closing in on 200,000 miles, with a minivan since we have a growing family. I also saw a Facebook friend go on an extended trip with her family to Southeast Asia, while my family’s most recent trip was to Buffalo New York. We did drive from Buffalo to Toronto so that counts as an international trip…right? And not all of the updates were of people buying a fancy car or traveling to an exotic location. In one update, a friend went to Central America to do volunteer work. What have I done lately to make the world a better place? Maybe donate some money to a charitable organization? Looking at the exciting lives of others left me feeling like I was missing out and not living my life to its fullest potential.

In a post I wrote a few years ago, I listed a few ways to combat financial envy . I wrote that many times people who post about nice cars, trips and houses are in a lot of debt so there is no need to be envious. However, I can say with pretty good certainty that some of my friends are just financially well off and can afford these luxuries. They were not living above their means. I also wrote that you should remind yourself of your goals. Sure, riding in a Tesla on autopilot sounds cool but it’s not like it’s something I’ve been dreaming about. The other tips included using the envy to motivate you, to indulge once in awhile, and to be grateful for the good things in your life. Also, most people only post the exciting and cool things going on in their lives, so it’s not a great perspective how their lives are truly led. I quickly stopped looking at my Facebook feed to avoid feeling miserable myself. While I am grateful for all the good in my life, it was difficult to stop myself from feeling down when I compared myself to others who were apparently living awesome lives.

As it turns out, social comparison is an innate human tendency and in a book written by Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer entitled, Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both, they say that whether social comparison is the wisest move or not, it’s a big part of the way we determine our own level of happiness.

They recounted a study by Emory University scientist Frans de Waal, who trained capuchin monkeys to use stones as a kind of currency, exchanging stones for cucumber slices. The monkeys were happy with exchanging stones for cucumbers, but when de Waal started giving some of the monkeys sweet and juicy grapes instead of cucumbers, the ones who only received cucumbers went “apeshit.” The monkeys who only received the cucumbers thought they were getting a raw deal and would throw the cucumbers back in experimenter’s face. They were perfectly happy with cucumbers until they saw their peers receive something even better.

For an example in the human world, the book recounts the story of a man who dutifully climbed the corporate ladder at his company for decades, steadily earning incremental raises, and was content with his job. However, when a recent college grad was hired and immediately began earning almost the same exact same as he did, he became infuriated and he left the company where he’d happily worked.

So what do Galinsky and Schweitzer suggest you do to combat the human tendency to compare ourselves with others?

They suggest that you should seek favorable comparisons if you want to feel happier, and seek unfavorable comparisons if you want to push yourself harder. They wrote that people tend to perform better when their rivals are present, as compared to their performance against random strangers. So using envy or jealousy to motivate you to achieve what it is that others achieved that made you envious can be good. However, constantly doing this can also make you miserable. They used an example in their book about a psychological study on Olympic medalists to explain how seeking a favorable comparison can make you feel happier. According to the study, silver medalists tend to be miserable because they’re comparing themselves to the gold medalists; whereas the bronze medalists are often happier, because they’re comparing themselves to those who didn’t get a medal. So even though the silver medalist beat out the bronze medalist, the bronze medalist is often happier about the results.

Do you tend to compare yourself to others? How do you deal with envy and jealousy? Have you sworn off social media to prevent yourself from becoming envious?