When I was (predictably) laid off from my last job, there was a problem: money would stop going into my bank account.
Now this could be a pretty serious problem.
“Everyone needs money. That’s why they call it money.” – Heist
How do most people solve this problem?
Freak the geek out.
How did I solve this?
By calmly executing on how I’m going to make more money.
Why so calm?
Because I’ve already solved the problem before it happened.
I had a pretty certain way to make a bunch of money in the near future, and more than 4 years of living expenses saved up from investments to cover me until it does.
When you’re one month away being kicked out of your apartment, you have a huge problem, still unsolved.
When you have 4 years, you’re a whole presidential term away from the problem.
That brings us to the main point: the two times you can solve a problem are before and after it happens.
Solving a problem after it happens is painful.
Mise en place is a cooking technique where you gather all the ingredients and cookware before you turn on a stove or crack an egg. That way, you don’t accidentally burn the food because you’re wasting time looking for the cilantro.
When it comes to money though, the stakes are much higher.
When you mismanage your life so that problems occur and they haven’t been solved: this is where desperation happens.
And desperation is where negative, irreversible choices happen.
It’s the dad sticking up the liquor store because his kids are hungry. (6-20 years upstate)
It’s the college kid selling dope to cover books and tuition. (2-8 years)
All because they waited until after.
I get it: save money. What other problems can you solve beforehand?
Lost your keys to your apartment?
Are you going to pay a $200 lockout fee plus $50 afterhours fee because it’s late at night?
Or are you going to walk to the key you have hidden a few blocks away?
Did a mugger decide you’re an easy target?
Have you been eating garbage and playing video games for the last 10 years?
Or did you spend the last decade building a body and body language that makes it known: find another?
More examples won’t get the point across any better, it’s a simple model: predict and prevent obvious problems.
The point isn’t to be your dad and say “Save money, put an extra key outside your place etc….”.
The point is to show that you have the power to eliminate so many problems from your life by solving them beforehand.
If you brainstorm what could go wrong and solve it before it happens, it’s not a problem anymore.
It’s just something that happens.
Until next time,