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How do you objectively measure your character growth?

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Ika

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Please don’t say tape measure.

What I mean is personal development– improving your skills and mindset.

How do I objectively track something abstract as my confidence or decision-making skill?
How can I measure my improvements in feelings like appreciation or humbleness?

You can't step on a scale, like you would measure your weight.
You can't count it, like your money when tracking your income.


It's quite a weird subject, and I really have my difficulties explaining it.
Stay with me, I've created graphs for this..

Maybe this example helps me to explain:
I was really bad at making decisions. I’m not longer that bad.

I’ve noticed that if I make a scary decision, I learn and my skill to make decisions grows.
And the next day a bigger decision arises.


I basicly grow with my decisions.



Look at this graph (which I’ve spent wayyy too much time on to create):

Decisions Graph.png

The Y-Axis tries to measure the decisions’s scariness. It’s size, it’s impact, it’s importantness.

It basicly tries to qualifies a subjective feeling.
Yes I’m that desperate if that is the easiest way to explain my problem haha.


If you take a look at one individual day though, without looking at the past, you basicly see two single points and the decision-point is above the decision-making-skill-point:

Daily Decisions Graph.png

And while my decision-making skills grows each day a little bit, the decisions I have to make grow with it.

So every single day my decision-making skill is below the decision I have to make.
But if you compare my current decision-making skills to my decision-making-skills last year, you will notice a huge improvement!

Now, that setup is awesome to learn. Every day I have to grab something outside of my reach.


The problem:

Every day I feel like I don’t make progress.

Because every day I’m facing decisions slightly above my skills.

The difference to the last day is too small to be noticed.


That bums me out, because every day I try to improve, but it still feels like I'm not getting better.

Sometimes I come across triggers that make me stop and reflect my decision-making-skill.
Maybe the trigger is a post on this forum about a decision I was afraid of to take but now feel comfortable in taking.
Maybe the trigger is a conversation with someone scripted, that complains about a small decision that is no longer hard for me to make.

I should note that decision-making is just one example. You could replace it with anything else you struggle with - confidence, productivity or happiness for example.


After all this text, my question is:
How do you measure and track subjective feelings & skills during your character improvement?


Three ideas I got while writing this post:
* Create fake triggers in your routine that make you stop and reflect (and compare)
* Don't measure the quality of a decision but the quantity. Don't try to find a number on how big the decision is, write down every time you make a scary decision. That will not help to compare to your old self, but will show that you are constantly progressing.
* Stop thinking about this problem and go a level deeper - don't tie your emotions to the improvement but to the process.



What do you do?
Can you give me any tips?
Can you share any stories?

I would really appreciate any kind of help!
 

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lowtek

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I don't concern myself with the quantity or quality of decisions... I have no idea how you would tie the quantity of decisions you make to your personal growth. Do successful people make more decisions than average people? How can we even know this? Why would it even matter?

The quality of a decision is even harder to measure... quality with respect to what? You can only make one decision for a given question. None of the other decisions have any reality; you can't compare the real to the unreal.

In other words, to measure the objective quality of a decision, you have to have an alternate universe in which you made the other decision, and then be able to compare the outcomes. This is impossible, so the best you can do is compare your decision to how you think the other decision would have played out - which is just a fantasy.

If you want to take a snapshot of a moment in your life to see how a decision played out, it's no better. That moment isn't a function of that one decision, it's a by product of every decision you have ever made. Changing any one of the million other decisions you have made could have drastically altered the course of your life. There is literally no way to know.

The best you can do is make sure that your decisions are guided by evidence and rationality vs. raw emotion. Are your decisions becoming more and more rational, and less and less emotional? If yes, then you are growing, if not, then you are not growing.

The way I measure personal growth is to identify how my habits and rituals deviate from the ideal. The closer I get to having ideal habits, the more I am growing.

Examples:

Positive vs. negative self talk
Producing content vs. consuming content
Mastering a craft vs. mastering video games
Eating healthy and exercise vs. eating high calorie density and low nutrition food and sitting on my a$$

As long as I'm trending towards the stuff on the left, I know I'm moving in the right direction.

TL;DR
focus on your habits. As long as those are improving, you're doing well.
 

Tim Allen Jr.

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So I'm on the beach and have a couple of drinks.

There are some more detailed answers like goal measurement, asset measurement, but too difficult with the drinks.

Ultimately, for me, it gradually happened so that is the context i'm giving this answer.

For me i've created an ingrained system that makes me 'work (work is not work to me)'. If i follow the system, I know growth will happen. I wrote some other post about a bucket and cleaning but can't find it.

I do my system everyday, and at a high level if look at if revenue/users purchases are steady and growing, i'm doing the right thing.

It can sometimes feel like a watching a microwave, doesn't look like it's heating up, till it's hot.
 

Ika

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Thank you for your answer @lowtek !
Looks like I did not explain it right:

I have no idea how you would tie the quantity of decisions you make to your personal growth. Do successful people make more decisions than average people? How can we even know this? Why would it even matter?
I don't want to track the quality of the decision itself, I want to measure what my decisions are based on.
I used the wrong wording - if you can't express it in your native language, explaining the problem in a foreign language does not help haha


Maybe these examples help:

When I started freelancing, I acted upon emotions, not logic.
Someone offered me work and I immediatly wanted to bail out: "It is too much money", "I can't do that", "It's a big misunderstanding" or "I will fail my client". I then made a decision based on how I felt.
Last week someone offered me work, and the instinct kicked in again. After all, the project was bigger than everything I've done so far - plus I had 2 other clients at the time. But instead of going crazy I've sat down, analysed my available time, examined my skills and the needed skills and so on. And while it scared me, I still made the decision from a place of logic.

Another example:
Not so long ago, I was searching for an apartment to move into - out of my parent's house. I found a place, and the REA wanted me to move in faster than I anticipated. Such a change of plan would have paralized me a year ago - but I've sat down and again analysed my situation and made the right decision based on facts, not on fear.


Basicly what you are saying here:
The best you can do is make sure that your decisions are guided by evidence and rationality vs. raw emotion. Are your decisions becoming more and more rational, and less and less emotional? If yes, then you are growing, if not, then you are not growing.
And that is my point - the daily improvements are so small, I can't tell if I improve on a day to day basis.
How do you verify that your decisions are becoming less and less emotional?
Or don't you verify at all but from time to time you look back and see how far you've come?

As long as those are improving, you're doing well.
But how do you make sure those are improving, other than looking back and analysing your past?

Thank you for your time spent on that long answer!
 

SquatchMan

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And while my decision-making skills grows each day a little bit, the decisions I have to make grow with it.

Who is ranking your "decision-making skills" and the difficulty of the decisions?
 

cutthroughstatic

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I've written alot on this topic, actually. For me personally (and maybe this will work for you) I start with my core beliefs. I picture my life as consisting of four categories: spiritual/personal development > Interpersonal Relationships >Health and Wellness > Finances and Career

In my view, prioritizing my own mind and soul is the most effective thing I can do to impact all the other areas of my life. It's what all else is ultimately predicated on. It creates the best conditions possible to aid success in other endeavors. It's why we read books like TMF.

Start with some brutal honesty about yourself. Get away from the noise and the distractions and take a pen and paper and turn off the phone. Be honest about where your opportunities are. What areas of personal development/spiritual development are you really screwing up? Not taking action, taking the wrong action, etc.

I identify the major bad habit(s) attributing to my issues. As an example, my mornings are rushed. I get up, check social media, and rush to my business.

By overlooking self development in the morning, my mind is not prepared for the day. I'm not operating at 100% til lunch. And my focus is usually a little whacked.

Bad Habit = waking up too late.

Now I identify the conditions for that habit to exist. Phone within reach in the morning enables the social media "veg". Too much to drink the night before makes me feel groggy and unmotivated to start thinking consciously in the mornings.

Eliminate the conditions that allow for the bad habit. Pick a good habit to replace it. Track the good habit/bad habit.

Make all this stuff 100% tangible and actionable

Identify the "fault". Identify the habit(s) associated with it. Identify the conditions that allow that habit to exist. Eliminate the conditions. Replace the bad habit with a good one. Commit, and track progress.

This is how I have started to tackle personal development, objectively. There's no progress bar; as soon as you get to 100% in one tiny area, you notice more areas to improve and more ways to improve.

We're imperfect people in pursuit of perfection. The more you pursue it, the more you'll see where you fall short. But you'll be better off for it.

Hope this is helpful.
 

Mosfet

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You don't measure the abstract that's why it is called "abstract".
If you are looking to measure your improvement then you have to measure concrete things. There is no concrete thing called decision-making-skill, there are only the specific decisions you made in the past. So you can measure how many decisions you made that's concrete, but it doesn't give you any valuable data. Another thing you can do is take each concrete decision and evaluate whether concrete conditions where met, that might be more productive. For example if you wanted to wear a yellow t-shirt more often (a concrete thing), then whenever you made a decision about which t-shirt you chose you could ask yourself if you met the specific condition of the t-shirt being yellow and if you did then you can pat yourself on the back because you made a good decision.

Whether you are confident, appreciative and humble are judgments that other people are making about you, so when you want those 'qualities' what you really are saying is that you want other people to look at you and draw such conclusions, so there is certainly nothing you can measure there. Of course you can look back at each action you take and ask yourself whether a humble person would do that, but then you would be judging yourself based on your idea of what is humble or not and other people might disagree. So do you want to be who you currently would consider as humble, your friends consider humble or your parents consider humble? Humble might mean living in poverty to some people.

Anyway I am about to fall asleep, hope I wrote something helpful.
 

GMSI7D

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Please don’t say tape measure.

What I mean is personal development– improving your skills and mindset.

How do I objectively track something abstract as my confidence or decision-making skill?
How can I measure my improvements in feelings like appreciation or humbleness?

You can't step on a scale, like you would measure your weight.
You can't count it, like your money when tracking your income.


It's quite a weird subject, and I really have my difficulties explaining it.
Stay with me, I've created graphs for this..

Maybe this example helps me to explain:
I was really bad at making decisions. I’m not longer that bad.

I’ve noticed that if I make a scary decision, I learn and my skill to make decisions grows.
And the next day a bigger decision arises.


I basicly grow with my decisions.



Look at this graph (which I’ve spent wayyy too much time on to create):

View attachment 15544

The Y-Axis tries to measure the decisions’s scariness. It’s size, it’s impact, it’s importantness.

It basicly tries to qualifies a subjective feeling.
Yes I’m that desperate if that is the easiest way to explain my problem haha.


If you take a look at one individual day though, without looking at the past, you basicly see two single points and the decision-point is above the decision-making-skill-point:

View attachment 15543

And while my decision-making skills grows each day a little bit, the decisions I have to make grow with it.

So every single day my decision-making skill is below the decision I have to make.
But if you compare my current decision-making skills to my decision-making-skills last year, you will notice a huge improvement!

Now, that setup is awesome to learn. Every day I have to grab something outside of my reach.


The problem:

Every day I feel like I don’t make progress.

Because every day I’m facing decisions slightly above my skills.

The difference to the last day is too small to be noticed.


That bums me out, because every day I try to improve, but it still feels like I'm not getting better.

Sometimes I come across triggers that make me stop and reflect my decision-making-skill.
Maybe the trigger is a post on this forum about a decision I was afraid of to take but now feel comfortable in taking.
Maybe the trigger is a conversation with someone scripted, that complains about a small decision that is no longer hard for me to make.

I should note that decision-making is just one example. You could replace it with anything else you struggle with - confidence, productivity or happiness for example.


After all this text, my question is:
How do you measure and track subjective feelings & skills during your character improvement?


Three ideas I got while writing this post:
* Create fake triggers in your routine that make you stop and reflect (and compare)
* Don't measure the quality of a decision but the quantity. Don't try to find a number on how big the decision is, write down every time you make a scary decision. That will not help to compare to your old self, but will show that you are constantly progressing.
* Stop thinking about this problem and go a level deeper - don't tie your emotions to the improvement but to the process.



What do you do?
Can you give me any tips?
Can you share any stories?

I would really appreciate any kind of help!


very simple


you know you are mature enough when you don't give a shit anymore about what people think of you

then you are free to do whatever you want because you don't care

if you are not on the " ignore list " of MJ DeMarco like me because of your independence of thoughts

then you are probably a nobody at all.

i don't care whether i am fired or not of situations in life


because as a social engineer, i can always bounce back and do what i have to do


never underestimate the power of strategy
 
Last edited:

Ika

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It looks like there is no need to actually track those abstract concepts.

It's just a result of overthinking a certain topic. Once your thoughts resolve around that one pain point over and over again, it can become really big.
Note to myself: Stop, relax and ask yourself if it really is such a big deal.

Here's what I'm going to do, a mixture of my own idea in the OP and @Dru1991 's idea.

I'm not going to track or measure my general confidence or decision-making skills.
Instead, everytime I come across a decision that really scares me and I still make the decision the right way, I will write it down.
That way, once I feel like I don't make progress, I can read through all of the decisions that were scary for me.
And chances are, I am now making the same decisions faster with less emotions attached.
Maybe it will help to assure I'm on the right way.

I will track specific, repeatable decisions though.
First analyse the common ground in the decisions and then declare what my favorable reaction is.
That way I can check wheter I've made the decision how I set out to do or not.

Another thing you can do is take each concrete decision and evaluate whether concrete conditions where met, that might be more productive. For example if you wanted to wear a yellow t-shirt more often (a concrete thing), then whenever you made a decision about which t-shirt you chose you could ask yourself if you met the specific condition of the t-shirt being yellow and if you did then you can pat yourself on the back because you made a good decision.
That is a really good point, thank you for taking the time to write it down (instead of going to sleep).

If you come across the same repeated decision, and you know what your decision should be, this is a great way to track it.
Let's say I want to work on my additonal-work-from-my-client-decision-making-skill.
I'm a webdesigner, and suddenly my client needs someone to do his SEO. Instead of freaking out I want to sit down, look at the complexity of the service, my skills and knowledge, my time and money to work on mess-ups and the monetary outcome.
And then make the decision out of reason.
And now I can check wheter I've made the decision out of logic or emotions.

But if you are working on your overall decision-making-skill, where you don't know the perfect decision yet, that system would take up too much time.

I will definetly use it for a few really specific decisions that I come across again and again.
Thanks! Rep+

Whether you are confident, appreciative and humble are judgments that other people are making about you[...]
Interesting, I always thought those three feelings are the complete difference.
For me, confidence is not tied to a strangers opinion of my behaviour in a situation. It is me beeing certain that my behaviours is right.
Appreciative is not other people thinking I'm thankfull, it is me feeling thankful.
It's just that - a feeling.

Would like to hear your opinion on this!




Identify the "fault". Identify the habit(s) associated with it. Identify the conditions that allow that habit to exist. Eliminate the conditions. Replace the bad habit with a good one. Commit, and track progress.
The process you are describing is exactly what I have done and what I'm continuing to do.

Similar to you, one bad habit was waking up and immediatly starting the day with browsing through social media instead of starting my routine.
I've analysed my triggers and found ways to avoid them.
Every day I look at how things are working out and adjust the next day.
And it works great!

I know I'm making progress, because I can measure it.
To be precise, I have a calendar above my desk, and each day I mark whether I've completed my morning routine instead of browsing social media or not.

I'm not sure on how to use the same system for something more vague though.
Something you can't put the label "did the routine" or "did not do the routine" on - because it is more complex.



Who is ranking your "decision-making skills" and the difficulty of the decisions?
Good question. It's me.
While I can't really assign a number to one individual decision, I can say that my current decisions and decision-making-skills are bigger than last year.
With bigger I mean the decisions having a greater impact on my life, and my decision-making-skills making it easier for me to make logical decisions fast with having less self talk afterwards.




very simple
you know you are mature enough when you don't give a shit anymore about what people think of you
then you are free to do whatever you want because you don't care
if you are not on the " ignore list " of MJ DeMarco like me because of your independence of thoughts
then you are probably a nobody at all.
i don't care whether i am fired or not of situations in life
because as a social engineer, i can always bounce back and do what i have to do
never underestimate the power of strategy
I appreciate the input, but I have no idea what you mean with all of that.
 
Last edited:

MJ DeMarco

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Recommended read on the topic: That One Thing by Gary Keller

How do you objectively measure your character growth?

How do you do it on a video game?

I don't think quantifying it in reality is much different.

If I want to learn any skill, say piano, I intuitively know how many hours I've put into learning it.

Zero minutes = zero growth.

I know the "secret" is small daily improvements, kaizen, and in a few years time, radical changes occur.

Time will STILL pass, whether those hours are put forth into Kaizen or not.
 

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cutthroughstatic

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Ika -

Why does the feeling have to be so vague? Why can't it be made concrete? I think I'm maybe missing where your confusion lies...

Consistency in improvement is the only thing that matters. As MJ and others so often say, there is no such thing as overnight success.

I read the book "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy a while back, and I still think about the concepts in the book every day. I don't know if you've read it. Like most "motivational" books, it hammers the point home over probably ten times more pages than are necessary, but still a good read.

The general summary is that every action you take should be taken consciously, and with intent. With a goal in mind. Small conscious actions over time create strong habits. It is my opinion that we become for better or worse what our habits are.

So if you're discovering bad habits and their triggers and eliminating them.. sounds like you're tracking your progress well. Consistency should be an encouragement to you. It sounds like your mindset and your character are showing growth daily and you can track that.

Where is the vagueness here? Why do you still feel like you can't track it? Is it just that your emotional feeling is that you are progressing too slow?

The way I ended my previous post is (maybe?) what you are feeling. That we are imperfect people and by pursuing perfection, we see more clearly the scope of our imperfection.

Another book I read more recently was the Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. The chapter on "Problems" was specifically applicable. Basically, assume that your life will be full of problems. Once one problem is solved, it'll be replaced with AT LEAST one new problem. In order to be successful, we have to create conditions to have better problems. You'll never actually accomplish or achieve perfection - we're just constantly leveling up on the types of problems we deal with!

This has been especially helpful in terms of my own mindset. Now instead of waiting for the day when I have "made it", I recognize that the power is in the process. I take daily action to keep leveling up my problems. Two years ago, a $1,000 loss stung like hell in my little side business. Last month, a $10,000 loss stung like hell in my full time business. I'm grateful that I'm dealing with bigger problems now, because my life now is closer to where I want to be.

I hope this makes sense. Really I just think you should be encouraged overall. Sounds like you're on the right path and your focus is obviously on improving yourself. If you're concerned about improving your mindset and character specifically, maybe set some concrete goals around reading self development books and content or listening to podcasts

One last thing that I find helpful - I keep a daily journal. I jot down goals for the day, and anything motivational for myself in the morning. The benefit to this is two fold - it helps set the stage for the day, and it provides something to look back on later to see how you've progressed. When I read stuff I wrote a year ago to myself, I can't help but feel encouraged with how far I've come since then.

It's all about daily action and progress
 

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While I agree with most of the other answers, here is something actionable that you can do to measure a rather subjective question.

At the end of your day - in a journal or planner - answer the question "were my decisions predicated on logic?"

This question is yes or no.

After six months you can create a trend line by plotting either weekly or monthly percentages of success in making logic based decisions. Let's say that the first month you only make logic based decisions 40 percent of the time. If by month 6 you can say that you made logical decisions 80 percent of the time then you've made substantial progress.

Personally, this wouldn't be something that I would measure, but it can be very useful for questions such as "on the whole, was my mindset today positive?" or "did I spend my day being the greatest that I could be?"

Answering questions like this every day is powerful in the same way that affirmations are. Through repetition you prime your RAS to filter experience by the criteria you set for it. If you ask yourself every night whether or not you spent the day thinking (mostly) positively then you will begin to notice your negative thinking and try to counter it.

Thinking positively is a habit and I believe that if you bring attention to it every day you can drastically improve your mindset.

Personally, I wake up every morning and read the vision that I have created for my ideal future. I write everything about who I will be, where I will be, and how I will get there. Then, at the end of the day I answer the question of whether or not I lived up to these ideals.

I hope this helps you because I know it has been life changing for me.
 

Mosfet

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You remind me myself a few years ago. I am too a naturally abstract thinker trying to analyze my way out of making mistakes. So I am going to do what I do and analyze the shit out of what you wrote.

First of all you said
It looks like there is no need to actually track those abstract concepts.
and then later gave an example of how you will track "additonal-work-from-my-client-decision-making-skill". There is no such skill, there is only the processes your brain goes through on both conscious and subconscious levels. The t-shirt example I gave was to show what is concrete and trackable and what is not some imaginary concept to raise your own self-esteem. Not googling defintion of skill, but imo it means "the ability to predictably replicate real world results" and not abstract 'only in my head' results. So what I would like to suggest is that your brain at this time is on a subconscious level wired to think in abstract terms and you will continue to confuse the abstract for concrete, but over time you will improve on this if you choose so.

Next I would like to say that you keep mentioning these scary decisions... If a decision is scary it means you have already engaged in emotional thinking, therefore you have already failed, because you cannot use your intuition (I will elaborate on this later) and your rational thinking is vulnerable too. Your goal should be to merely acknowledge the dangers and implications and act accordingly without fear or delusional positivity or as you would call it 'confidence'.

Which brings me to the next point. Confidence is not really a feeling. Certainty? Sure that is a feeling, but confidence doesn't necessarily imply that experience. You can be confident and not know whether you are doing the right thing. Sometimes you just don't know, and at that point the confident person will find out without feeling anything apart from maybe curiosity.
Okay, being appreciative can be a feeling as much as a judgement and I understand why you would want to be more grateful. But when it comes to feeling humble, I am not too sure. There is great power in knowing that you are 'the one' and telling it to their face. Your testosterone shoots through the roof, you get really focused and if it works out women get wet and dudes want to follow you. It's a very primitive thing we all share and hence it gets blown out of proportion in movies. But it depends on what you are trying to do, I suppose.

Moving on
I'm not sure on how to use the same system for something more vague though.
You don't. A lot of the times you just don't have the information to use rational thinking, so you use your intuition instead and accept that you might be wrong. I remember reading in somewhere about powerpoint making people dumb - you put 5 bulletin points on the slide with facts and the following actions you need to take seam so clear and simple, while in reality you are ignoring a thousand other data points that didn't fit on the screen.

With bigger I mean the decisions having a greater impact on my life, and my decision-making-skills making it easier for me to make logical decisions fast with having less self talk afterwards.
Actually the older you get the less of an impact there is on your decisions, MJ even wrote about it in TMF. And over time as you make decisions they become more automatic - easier, but not necessarily better. For example old doctors might be faster at diagnosing common diseases like flu, but they are also more likely to misdiagnose a rare disease for flu.

And finally I'll share some thoughts on intuition. Rational thinking is the best tool that we have, but it is slow as f*ck. And since we don't have the time to go through a checklist of a 100 items, we can use intuition which is like 10'000x faster but makes mistakes frequently, because the equation includes our emotions and past experiences that did not necessarily provide objective input. The good thing is that whenever you use it and learn from the mistakes it becomes a little less likely to lead you the wrong way. I think of it as being capable to running a checklist of a thousand items and producing a feeling as a result.
 

cutthroughstatic

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By checking my bank account.

This mindset kept me down for quite a while.

I don't know if you're joking or not, but this is a mindset I see pretty often. Especially on this forum. Don't know if I'll get flak for disagreeing with you. But the mindset of money=success is one I fight daily.

My bank account today looks way lower than it did two years ago when I was working a "normal" job. Owning your business drains all your resources - time, money, energy.

The end goal isn't to see a huge increase in money. The end goal is to create value for those around me. The intent and the motivation and the things I envision are a better life for my family and a better world for others.

Wealth accumulation may be a side effect of this. And the amount of money in your account may be an indication that you've created value. But it's one small facet of the larger puzzle, and a focus on it as the sole distinguishing factor of character growth is misleading.

I used to be money-driven. All my business ideas shriveled up into a bunch of action fakes. It wasn't until I had my FTE that I started seeing things differently. I realized that my obsession with money and that chasing after money was leading me further away from actually making any money. And as a result it was making me unhappy, making my family unhappy, and I wasn't doing anything to provide any real value.

I'm not trying to diminish money's role from life. Obviously, it's important. Obviously it plays a role in helping achieve your lifestyle, goals, etc. All I'm saying is that whether your were serious or joking, a mindset fixated on accumulating money will get you nowhere. Help others and figure out what skills and abilities you have, and use them to make the world better. That's all that matters. Maybe your bank account grows, maybe not. But you will feel a heck of a lot more fulfilled in life.
 

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