The Money Vikings have tremendous respect for the Navy SEALs, the elite fighting force of the U.S. Navy. They are simply the best at what they do, and they protect our country every single day. They silently and diligently make sacrifices every day to protect our Nation, our families, our interests and way of life. I have had the pleasure to talk with many of them over the years and ask some questions. From what I have heard from them and read about their discipline and training, here are 5 concepts we can learn and apply to our personal finances:
Never Ring the Bell
To become a SEAL, the recruits must survive Basic Underwater Demolition training, survive so called Hell Week, etc. The recruits have to go through notoriously grueling and painful exercises, swim in the freezing cold ocean for hours, pass dangerous obstacle courses, deal with psychological abuse, etc. Imagine today the number of people that have their morning thrown off balance because their Starbucks order did not come out right. But, just like in life where people routinely give up on their dreams, families, goals etc., there is a very easy way out of SEAL training. If a recruit has had enough, they have to simply hobble up to a bell and ring it. They are magically done and can go home. No more cold, no more pain, etc.
With building wealth for you and your family, never ring the bell. Never give up and know that in most cases there is no easy path. The path is long and difficult for most, but you can make it each day with the little victories and wins. Do not ring the bell, keep pushing and building wealth one step at a time.
Small Actions Matter
Former SEAL Admiral McRaven had a famous first commandment: “make your bed in the morning.” His point is that “it will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another…By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks. Making your bed will reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
This is so true in many aspects of life. The way we treat each other and ourselves we know has a profound cumulative effect on our life over time. The small financial successes you put in place become very powerful forces over time. Every couple weeks when you have money automatically invested you are doing what seems like a small task (like making your bed). Look back after 10, 20, 30 years and you have built something extraordinary. This is a continual theme of this blog, we gather and present all these small acts, and if you combine them and do them consistently they will transform your life.
Money Vikings like being humble, there is no need to run around in designer clothes, overpriced cars, wear Rolex watches, etc. and “act” rich. This comes from weakness and a need to impress others. This is a waste of energy and time and is not how most millionaires in America behave, in fact check out the research from The Next Millionaire Next Door.
The SEALs I have met have been very humble, but underneath is a very talented and disciplined person. Jocko Willink, coauthor of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win says “What it has to do with is the fact that the person is not humble enough to accept responsibility when things go wrong, accept that there might be better ways to do things, and they just have a closed mind.”
I like the concept of owning your situation. Take responsibility, take charge and move forward with your life, wherever you are at. This is critical to financial success. At some point there is no one to blame, you must make informed and habitual decisions to build your net worth the old fashioned long and slow way!
Tell Yourself You Can Do It
Those that studied those who graduate from the initial training put it this way: They block all negative self-talk…and constantly motivate themselves to keep going. They remind themselves to go on and not quit, no matter what. Some of the SEALs I have talked with will tell you, you can do more than you think you can, you have to train your brain not to stop you.
You should tell yourself the same thing while building wealth. There will be difficulties, setbacks, hardships, etc. So what, keep moving forward each day with good small choices about building wealth!
Set and Achieve Small Goals
SEALs learn and practice intense focus on one thing at a time. They determine the overall objective, break it down into smaller steps, and repeat as needed. This is the same kind of planning that helps them complete their missions. And this is the same kind of planning needed to build wealth. In fact, most wealth in America is built through a series of micro decisions and the power of habits.
If your goal is to save and invest $10,000, break it into micro goals and implement the plan. First step, call your bank or a reputable investment company like Vanguard. Set up automatic $250 per paycheck withdrawals. Invest in a balanced portfolio. A little over a year and a half later you have $10,000 new dollar “employees” working for you and making interest, dividends and growing even more. Over time and consistent effort, the power of the the investing trifecta!
What’s even better, if you do the simple step described above, at the end of that time period you will have more saved thatn about half the US population. So you will be on your way to building wealth and succeeding with the same mindsets that lead to Navy SEAL success.
SEALS use a combination of discipline, habits and work to strengthen their minds and bodies. We can do the same with our finances!