Money Jedi: A Story About Commitment

Drive safe or die trying. Image by AndyArthur at Flickr Commons.

Drive safe or die trying. Image by AndyArthur at Flickr Commons.

One of the most powerful tools I’ve used on my financial journey (well, my life journey, really) is commitment.

I don’t mean persistence. That dogged “keep going, even if you think we’ve failed, keep going, no matter what, keep going” is definitely an aspect of commitment, but it’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a fire in your heart. A passion that makes you kind of want to roar a little bit and say, “I WILL HAVE THIS NO MATTER WHAT!”

There’s a little bit of fury there, but not the bad kind. It’s the kind of fury that stands up for little kids when they’re being picked on.

That kind of commitment can’t be faked. We can’t say, “I’m committed to being wealthy,” and then not do anything about it. And we can’t just go through the motions of doing something about it either. Going through the motions, day in and day out, is persistence. That’s not commitment. We’ve got to feel that fire.

If we know how to use it, commitment is a powerful tool.

Here’s a story that illustrates one of the times in my life I used commitment that way.

When I first got my car, a ’98 Subaru wagon, I didn’t know how to drive it. It was a stick shift, and I’d always driven automatics. My mother thought I was insane for buying a car I didn’t know how to drive, but I didn’t see what the big deal was. It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to learn.

Also, I lived in the Rocky Mountains. And my friend who knew everything about cars assured me that having a stick shift was better when you lived in the mountains. It gave you a little more control than an automatic, and that was important on twisty-turny mountain roads, especially in winter or bad weather. Sometimes in the mountains, it snowed in July. For real. I was nervous about driving in the bad mountain weather, and I wanted the best car for it.

The first few times I tried to shift into first gear, I succeeded. (For those of you who don’t drive sticks, that’s the hardest part. If you don’t shift into first gear correctly, the car stalls.) My friend the car guy was in the passenger seat, and he explained very clearly how to work it, so I had no trouble. But he was so shocked when I succeeded several times in a row. He said that I’d probably fail the next few times, and that was okay, because everybody had a learning curve.

Guess what? I believed him. I failed to shift into first gear, and stalled the car the next few times. The next ten times. Okay, the next fifty times. I was one of those cars you see lurching forward on the road but not going anywhere. I stalled at stoplights and stop signs. I stalled at intersections. I stalled in our gravel mountain driveway. For a long time, I drove my friend’s little Jeep around, and he drove my car (which he assured me was amazing).

Then, one day, I successfully started the car at a stoplight and felt triumph spike my blood. I crowed with joy! My car friend cheered! But then I had to stop immediately to allow a woman in a wheelchair to cross the intersection. My victorious high nosedived into furious frustration, and I yelled a terrible, terrible thing about that woman in the wheelchair. Very loudly. She probably heard me. My car friend, who had been laughing hysterically, immediately went silent and his jaw hung open.

It’d be a pretty funny scene in a movie or a John Irving novel, but I wanted to be swallowed up by the earth.

I’d had enough.

I couldn’t let this turn me into the kind of person who would let anger control her reactions or hurt people. And I didn’t have another car. I had to learn this one. It didn’t even occur to me to resell it and find something else.

I decided, “That’s it! I’m going to succeed at this or die trying!” (When you’re learning to drive a stick shift in the Rocky Mountains in winter, “die trying” is more than a figure of speech.)

But I knew I could do this. I’d done it the first few times, and now this obstacle was all in my head.

So one morning, before my early shift at the shoe store where I worked, I got up and (after working for a long time to get the car started), drove to a nearby bird sanctuary with a big open dirt parking lot. I spent the next few hours doing nothing but starting and stopping. Starting and stopping. Again and again. I did it until I could start the car successfully every single time without fail. And then I drove it down the mountain and sold people shoes with a feeling of empowered awesomeness carrying me through the day.

This is the kind of commitment I’m talking about. It’s what Napoleon Hill calls “a burning white-hot desire” in Think and Grow Rich. I’ve experienced it more than once in my life and it’s always resulted in awesome results.

It can’t be faked. Getting to a level of commitment like this is often a journey. For me, there’s usually a period of failure, followed by a fierce spike of determination that goes out of me like a pulse-wave to the universe, and then a period of dedicated action. And then success.

If we want to build wealth, we have to commit to building wealth. Seriously. With all our hearts. This is not “maybe someday.” It’s not wistful pining, or careful planning. We have to have a “burning, white-hot desire” to build wealth, and be willing to do whatever it takes.

What do you think about that? Do you think having an intense passion for becoming rich is a bad thing? Let’s all go back and review the first installment of the Money Jedi series: Money is Important. Also, Money vs. Happiness.

Also, T. Harv Eker says this:

The way you are in one area is usually the way you are in all areas. If you’ve been blocking yourself from receiving money, chances are you’ve been blocking yourself from receiving everything else that’s good in life. The mind doesn’t usually delineate specifically where you are a poor receiver. In fact, it’s just the opposite: the mind has a habit of over-generalizing and says, “The way it is, is the way it is, everywhere and always.”

Money Jedi is about money. But a Jedi can master more than money. This is about abundance in all areas.

I want to explore this commitment thing further, because it’s so powerful. Next week, I’ll write more about the power of commitment, the components that make it work, and the magic that it can create. (Yes, I said magic. F–king magic, bitches.)


L. Marrick is a historical fantasy writer and freelance copywriter. She waxes poetic about swords and the Renaissance Faire at her author blog. She looks all professional-like at her copywriting site. She eats too much chocolate and still doesn’t believe downward dog is supposed to be a restful yoga pose. You can connect with her at either of her websites, and follow her on Twitter @LMarrick.

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