PART 3: FINANCIAL LITERACY – Deeply Bothered & On a Mission

The purpose of this BLOG is to combine the synchronized experiences and failures and truths I have learned from in the over four decades I have been on this planet. I was always a bit obsessed — most of my non-school hours in high school were spent in rigorous fitness training and weight lifting in order to MAXIMIZE MY POTENTIAL as a football player. I remember bear-crawl dragging (being on all fours – think a baby with his ass up in the air crawling) a tire out in my dad’s unfarmed field with an impromptu rope all by myself with the Rocky soundtrack playing in my mind’s surround sound. Running suicides (sprint, turn around, run some more, continue until you are ready to puke), squatting 400+ pounds for reps until almost passing out, taking a nap on the weight room floor, waking up and then doing it some more. 

When I checked in to Wofford College for the early 2-a-day practices to begin fulfilling my side of the bargain of a full scholarship to play football I was given the name PSYCHO because the team saw me in the weight room, banging my head on the wall, psyching myself up until it looked like my eyeballs would pop out of my head. I’ve always been a bit obsessive. 

Why am I sharing this? It has to do with my DNA. I don’t like to go down a path half-way. It’s full tilt, 100% commitment. That’s just me — and I am not writing this piece to argue that this should be you. I’ve almost finished raising 6 kids and I am certain that how we are wired can not be changed (it can be altered, but not fundamentally changed) and the drivenness I have always had is unique to some people, but not to others. 

So I am driven, very driven. I’m also deeply bothered. I want to write this blog because I am pissed off. I am tired of meeting with people and couples and business owners that are drowning in the dark waters of financial ignorance. 

The funny thing about ignorance is that you don’t know what you don’t know, which makes it hard to do anything about it. Is it possible you have cancer? If you did, how would you know? You would have to have someone, most likely a doctor, take you through some kind of checkup involving blood work to find out if you do or don’t have cancer. Only then would you know if you had it. So could you have cancer and not know it? The answer is obvious — of course. If it was not discovered, you would be ignorant, unaware of its existence.

Why is that important? This points out the driving force of what drives me, compels me… deeply bothers me — AS LONG AS PEOPLE ARE UNAWARE OF THEIR PROBLEMS, THEY CAN NOT TAKE ACTION TO SOLVE THEM. IGNORANCE IS THE ENEMY.

The training of elephants gives a great picture of how disabling our ignorance can be. 

A baby elephant is trained at birth to be confined to a very small space. The trainer will tie its leg with a rope to a wooden post planted deep in the ground. This confines the baby elephant to an area determined by the length of the rope – the elephant’s comfort zone. Though the baby elephant will initially try to break the rope, the rope is too strong, and so the baby elephant learns that it can’t break the rope. It learns that it has to stay by the area defined by the length of the rope.

When the elephant grows up into a 5-ton colossus that could easily break the same rope, it doesn’t even try because it learned as a baby that it couldn’t break the rope. In this way, the largest elephant can be confined by the puniest little rope. — The Fundamentals of Success

Jack Canfield (author of Chicken Soup for the Soul) illustrates a similar idea using the example of driving with your emergency brake on. 

“If you suddenly discovered you were driving with the emergency brake on, would you push harder on the gas? No! You would simply release the brake and instantly go faster – without any additional expenditure of energy.” 

Most of us are going through life with the emergency brake on. It’s time to release the limiting beliefs, emotional blocks, and self-destructive behaviors that are holding you back.” – The Success Principles 

My journey from being a college athlete intent on going into a field where I was always surrounded by athletic, fit people who were trying to maximize their potential and push themselves, TOOK A MAJOR TURN — I became a Presbyterian pastor trying to restart and RE-INVENT a white uptight Savannah church to become a progressive, interracial gathering.  Then that took a massive turn when I went through a nasty divorce (my wife at the time decided she wanted to be married to someone else), to learning how to build a business in a small sporting goods chain in my hometown, to being a car salesman, to being the spear head and the catalyst to grow a hiring-solutions start up from a dozen or so accounts in Georgia and NC to having accounts all across the country, to then finding my place of rest as a financial strategist — wow, that’s a freakin run-on, huh? This crazy journey has taught me that I love to grow things, to see something grow from seed to tree, from an idea to a successful business. One common thing I learned both as a pastor and sales person — the biggest enemy to success is ignorance. 

This BLOG is my declaration of war against financial ignorance.

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