The original name for this post was going to be “Manic Me!” but the word manic tends to connote poor mental health, as in manic depression.
Not that I do not sometimes suffer from poor mental health, as many others do from time to time, but I do not think that I could be formally classified as manic depressive. Most of the time, I am quite the opposite, extremely even keeled.
But several nights ago after reading for a few hours, first a few chapters from Daniel Silva’s latest spy thriller and then about a half hour of a self-help book, I felt so excited that I wanted to run around shouting for joy. Seeing how it was nearly midnight and my wife was already snoring away and our daughter was sleeping right across the hall, and we all had to be up for the day in six short hours, I kept the excitement to myself. But I did get up and scrawl down these notes for this post.
We had just had a new central air conditioning unit installed the prior day, so perhaps it was the comfortable feeling of cool air blowing on me while I read and thought about one of my favorite topics, and one of yours too…money.
Normally I may have been stressing out over shelling out an unplanned $2,500 the previous day during a month when we were already going to spend and invest more than what would be coming in. Of course, with a beautiful, vivacious and well-liked daughter who is now in high school, how could I not have anticipated purchasing a new dress for homecoming and sending her to the hairdresser? Or making a $650 payment toward her December band trip to Disney World plus another $150 deposit for her poms trip to the same place two months later? The $2,500 that I sent to our son’s college seems routine by now so I barely even thought about it.
Oh well, I thought to myself. I have previously written about money as a form of energy and there I was lying in bed in the wee hours of a new day when I would be traveling to downtown Chicago for a trade show for about ten hours thinking about just that. How the $2,500 that my wife paid the previous day was directly converted into the energy of the contractor who spent about four hours installing our new central air unit and how now that was being converted into electrical energy being used to keep us comfortable.
That is when I felt a lightning bolt hit me and realized that I was very close to thinking about money in non-linear terms. I felt gratitude that I was able to pay the ten, eleven or twelve grand throughout the month of September to keep our family doing relatively well, while also investing over one thousand of that into our future.
I would not worry about having to come clean for the fourth or fifth time about how two or three or even four grand more left our account this month than came in. Fuck it, I thought, I will probably start reporting the funds in and out on a quarterly basis, since that is how the financial institutions do it. Plus, what was I going to do? Not replace our air conditioner in ninety-plus degree weather so I would not have to admit to overspending again on this blog?
No, I instead thought about how grateful I am that I am able to convert my expertise in economic development and hours worked into a beautiful new dress, a strong education for two children, good food for my family, music lessons for our children, trips to Florida during the winter months, a roof over our heads and energy to cool the air under that roof.
Instead of fretting over what for us and most other Americans would qualify as a large amount of funds that were leaving our coffers this month, I thought that following-up on my All Apologies, But Not Really post, that I should be thinking more about ways to earn an extra grand or two per month with my writing instead of giving in to anxiety about running out of money.
What I wanted to run about the house and shout about, which would be an extremely manic thing to do, was that I am going to publish three or more eBooks soon, they will sell some copies, and I will begin earning additional income from my thoughts rather than just by selling my labor.
When customers purchase and read them, I might be laying in the bathtub, I may be watching a movie with my wife, I may be waiting to pick up my daughter from school or my son from his college, I may be in a meeting with a business, I may be watching the Cubs game, or I may be sleeping in my bed.
The reader (you) may be on an airplane, lying by a pool, taking a train to work, laying in bed at night, sitting in the library next to me, in a prison cell or in a state or country where I have never been. Perhaps some combination of the above.
I love writing and am writing this in a lovely library setting near my son’s college on a Friday afternoon while taking a much-needed day off. I feel good about creating this instead of consuming, and I am enjoying what I am doing rather than completing a mundane task assigned to me by my new boss or his boss. All things that the gurus preach, and here I am preaching it, too.
If you do not know who or what I mean by the gurus, I mean the Rich Dad, the Money Madman, Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, Tony Robbins, David Bach and so on and so forth. I have read books by all of them and many more and most of them are great reading.
I have read in several self-help financial books that money is an infinite resource, and that is something else that I got excited about because I almost started believing it. I have always thought of money as a scarce resource, like my father did and his fathers before him. I certainly do not expect to sell a hundred thousand copies of my eBooks, but I do expect to sell thousands over the years once I have a few out there.
I came to the realization that if I write this well enough, come up with an eye-catching title and at least a decent cover, that there really is not anything stopping me, or you for that matter, from selling a thousand or two thousand copies of eBooks per month. Or it may be selling products for you, or design services, or “how to” courses, or videos of your cat on YouTube, or creating new iPhone apps. Whatever it is, nobody is going to tell you that you cannot do it but yourself. And if they do tell you that you cannot do it, well, Fuck them!
I have read nearly two hundred books in what I have coined the “Change Your Way of Thinking/Improve Yourself/Become Wealthy” genre and, although I have not already accomplished those three things like every well-known author has, I have recognized the need for myself to do so and am taking a baby step here and there.
What struck me like a lightning bolt at midnight three nights ago about not worrying so much about the money going out felt like a concrete step in the changing of the way I think. I did not instantly transform from Yours Truly Middle Class Guy into a twenty percenter, but I had thoughts in my head that more closely resembled my best friend’s, my former boss’s and my brother’s than what would have been my own over the past twenty-five years.
I decided not to wait any longer for my ship to come in. If I just keep waiting for that, my life would continue to pass by me while I toil for my family’s proverbial bread, and a smattering of people, mostly my family, would lament my passing whenever that may be.
I want to work toward building my own ship, taking my own life by the reins, creating more than I presently do while consuming less, and converting my anxiety into grit.
I cannot honestly write that I have completely turned the mental corner, but if I look hard enough, I think that I can identify where the corner is.