The Superior Man
The superior man makes the difficulty to be overcome his first interest;
success comes later
OK, so maybe that picture is more of a Superior Bunny… but it did taste delicious!
So like most people I’m sure, I have a handful of quotes that I read from time to time but this one in particular is one I always seem to remember, maybe because it can be applied to so much in life. You can see it everywhere normally, the bike rider who can’t ride as far as everyone else can despite having all the latest gear, the gamer who usually comes last even though he’s on the fastest computer. These are all telling signs of people who choose distraction over work.
Now we all know the basic rule I think at some level. If you don’t put in the practice at whatever it is you’re doing (work stuff, learning a language, killing a mortgage) then you won’t get very far. But as humans we all like to delude ourselves and mentally distract our conscious mind from doing what takes mental or physical effort. We prefer the things that don’t take any effort, it’s just the way we’ve evolved! The watching of TV, browsing Failbook, practicing the thing we’re already good at and so on. All these things are passive or just use the parts of our brains that are already well developed and defined neurologically speaking, that’s why they’re easier to do because the neural pathways that have formed are stronger and more numerous. But it doesn’t really do us any good and I don’t know about you, but I have always aimed to be a superior man.
Not superior to anyone else in particular, but rather superior to my former self.
In the context of Mutilating your mortgage you can see this phenomenon very, very clearly. The main difficulty to be overcome with a mortgage is making exceedingly large repayments regularly. That’s it. However this difficulty is of course “hard” and so our brains try and imagine that just maaaaybe these other (usually more interesting or easier) things will get all the hard work done without us having to actually DO this difficult task. You know… a short cut! I’ve listed a few of these distractions in a previous post What’s Critical And What’s Worthless.
Over time I’ve learnt that this quote is very, very important. So much of life is centered around the “success”, the exciting things, the goals, the rewards and especially the things you can buy to help you do X. Oh there’s SO many things you can buy that help and so much time you can spend shopping for them! But at the end of the day pure practice will always win over whatever tools someone else has. Usain Bolt will still kick my ass at running no matter what shoes or running pants I have on as he’s put in practice all his life. An extreme example sure, but the point is valid. Whether it’s trying to pay down your mortgage faster or losing fat, make that main difficulty to be overcome your FIRST and last interest. Focus as much of your effort onto it as you can and then after you’ve setup an automatic payment that’s 4 times your “minimum repayment amount” go and find some MORE money to put in!
Then once you’ve been doing that for a year, once you know deep down inside that yes, you have REALLY mastered that core, basic difficulty then emerge from your focused state and start to investigate other potential things that might help. You can also bask in the glory that all your hard work has earned you and really properly enjoy it with a chocolate bunny.