** GROWING UP by Graham White  **

As children grow up they are expected to develop more independence and a greater ability to look after themselves.  We expect them to begin looking after their own needs and to stop relying on their parents.

If they're raised well, children are empowered to head out and take on the world.  If they're not taught the skills to be self-sufficient, they will continue to rely on their parents every time something in their life goes wrong.

Are you all grown up or do you still look to others to solve your problems for you?  Do you complain about "The System"?  Are you frustrated by the lack of fairness at work?  Are you upset by the money you lost in your long-term investments?  Do you blame your genetics for your weight problem, drinking problem or other addictions?  Are you hoping the government will bail you out of the business crisis you're in?  Do you blame your parents or your past for the misery you endure?  Are you looking for a way out of your financial crisis, possibly considering bankruptcy?

It's time to finish the process of growing up.  There is only one person responsible for the situation you're in - You.  No one forced you to start the business, take that job, spend that money, get another credit card or make that investment.  No one promised that the stock market would always go up, that interest rates would always be high (or low), that the value of property would always increase or that your job was guaranteed for life.

Why look to someone else to solve your problems?  Are you still waiting and hoping life will be "easy" or "fair"?  Haven't you noticed yet that it's not?  But it's not fair or easy for anyone!  Not even millionaires are without stress or problems.

The movie "Bruce Almighty" provides a good example of everyone getting everything they think they want and deserve.  Suddenly everyone who buys a lottery ticket wins...unfortunately they all only win back the same amount they spent (minus the lottery commission's take, of course).  They all get the promotion they wanted, but so does everyone else, so they're not really any better off.  They all do well on their exams, but so does everyone and so graded against the curve, they're no better off than before.

There's only one person who can change the situation you're in and that's you.  It's not the government's job, your boss's job, your parent's job, your spouse's job or even your counselor's job.  The only person who can move you from where you're at to where you want to be is you.

Here's some suggestions on how to become the type of person that can handle whatever life throws at them:

 Simple Steps For Growing Up:  

  • Put yourself in someone else's shoes:  When things are really tough, I often think about someone who has it much worse than me.  What if I was experiencing the loss of a family member, the deterioration of my health or what if I was in another country where I didn't have nearly the same opportunities and lifestyle that the poor do here?

  • Stop complaining:  As long as you're upset about the problem, you're not focusing on the solution.  Accept the fact that life doesn't always go the way you want and start planning for what you can do to best resolve the current situation and move on.

  • Determine that you're in control: No matter what the situation, determine that you will be responsible for the outcome, no one else.  That doesn't mean you don't ask for help or look to develop other resources, but it does mean that you do the work.

  • Build your strength:  Each challenging situation is simply an opportunity in disguise.  I'm definitely not saying that you're going to enjoy the pain of the growth process, but if you focus on the fact that you will be wiser and stronger once you're through, it's much easier to handle the pain.

  • Don't stop growing:  Most people stop learning and working on themselves once they are out of the immediate crisis.  Why not commit to continued growth so that you're even better prepared for what life throws at you in the future?  You know from past experience, that no matter how perfectly you have your life set up, something always comes along to spoil your plans, so why not get better prepared while things aren't so rough?

  • Plan for the future:  Do you have a plan for what you'll do if you or someone in your family requires extensive medical treatment?  What about if someone passes away?  How about if the real estate market drops, or the stock market dives again?  If your business fails because of a change in economy or you're position is cut due to downsizing, what will you do?  If your home burns to the ground with everything in it, how will you start over?

  • Don't over-extend yourself:  Don't get involved in anything that would ruin you if it fails, no matter how phenomenal the opportunity looks.  Nothing is guaranteed.  Even if the government or the business guarantees the deal, what will you do if the business that you're dealing with goes broke or the government overextends itself and the dollar itself drops more than the percentage on the investment you've made?

While I hope life goes smoothly, I've learned that the most successful individuals have a plan.  They live well above the possible problems that might occur.  When the unavoidable challenges of life happen to them, they're prepared.  Are you?

Graham White