Knowing Better Versus Doing Better
I’d like to share a particularly special shortcut with you. I’ve never written about it before, and this really is right up your alley, come to think of it. It’s from a man and wife who went from being very average to very much above average. After 25 years of struggling, they heard about this shortcut from a wealthy cousin of hers who was the LAST PERSON anyone expected to become successful.
There’s a second layer to the story, and it’s a big fat one.
This husband and wife were at a family dinner with all the cousins and in-laws, about 35 people. Eight tables pushed together and covered with tablecloths. Family is family, and people get personal, don’t they? The rich cousin was asked very directly, “Noah, you’re a nice guy, but let’s face it; you have never been the brightest bulb in the ceiling. How in the hell did a guy like you get so rich?”
The very noisy table went dead silent. You could’ve heard that pin drop. Half of them thought the rich cousin might explode or start throwing dishes. He shocked them all by smiling and saying, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll bet that rich men and women are asked that question more than any other. Even when they tell the truth, few people believe them. Since every person at this table is family, blood of my blood, I’m going to tell you all exactly how a tire mechanic got rich. I’d love to see every one of you use the same magic trick I did. We know that strangers won’t believe it, but I’m thinking that…. well… since we’re family, you have a much better chance of actually catching on to the power of what I’m going to tell you, and it works for every person, no matter how small or large their income is. Let’s see what you do with it.”
For the first time in years, these dozens of people remained as quiet as church mice. He went on to tell them that he realized one day, as he cashed his paycheck with hands that were black with tire dust, that there’s always SOMETHING niggling and jiggling at his wallet; ALWAYS some bill that pops up, making it perfectly impossible to save.
“I realized,” he said, that since I didn’t have cash to spare for savings, I would only save towards those necessary and constant financial interruptions in my happiness. In other words, every time I got a five-dollar tip, I actually took a dollar and put it in an envelope marked “rent.” Of course I knew that a dollar here and a dollar there would not pay the rent, but I decided to stick with it. I had an envelope for gasoline and an envelope for the auto insurance coming due in four months, and before I knew it I had more than a dozen envelopes, and then another dozen envelopes, because life is always throwing unexpected expenses at us. So I stuck with throwing loose change and dollars, sometimes a five or a ten, into one envelope or another.
“Well, when it came time to pay the rent, I knew there were only a few dollars in the rent envelope, so I didn’t bother with it. I just had to squeeze out the rent from my paychecks, which were pretty low. I didn’t touch the car insurance envelope because there was only $24 in it by the time the insurance came due. I ended up having a garage sale and made enough to pay the car insurance and, funny thing, had nine dollars left over… so I threw it into the auto insurance envelope.
“If you want, I can bore you to tears with how many envelopes I ended up with. Looking back, it was pretty funny, but I was too busy working to pay attention.
After about a hundred weeks of stashing just sixty to eighty bucks a week, I was shocked in a single moment when I realized how fat all my envelopes were getting. I used that money to buy a not-very-nice house that you never knew about. I worked for three weeks swinging a hammer, and sometimes, well, once in a while I would actually hit the nail instead of my finger.
I made forty thousand dollars profit on that house, and I’ve never regretted those silly two years when I couldn’t stop sticking dollars into all those envelopes. I met a woman in California once who’d done exactly the same thing. I bought a piece of property she owned free and clear. Since she told me herself that she’d come from a poor background, she certainly did appreciate the five hundred thousand I paid her for that property, which I sold two years ago for more than a million. So, you want to know how an idiot like me got rich? Envelopes, my family, envelopes and buying one property at a time.”
Now comes the exciting part, with the “average” husband and wife who heard those words.
What makes it all so fascinating is that this husband and wife understood that he was just being nice, because only the wife was truly family to the rich man; the husband is related only by being married to the rich man’s cousin, right? The fascinating part is that, of the thirty-five or forty people who were at that family dinner, exactly three of those people decided, “What the hell, he’s richer than I am, so why not?”
Three people, I tell you, just three: the husband and wife, and another, younger cousin.
All three of them tried this trick, willing to give it just a hundred weeks. A five-dollar bill here, a ten there, sometimes a larger bill. A hundred weeks of scrimping a bill here, a bill there.
More than a dozen years & more than a dozen family dinners have passed since then.
Areyou at all surprised to learn that three people, and only three people, and yes, you know which three people we’re talking about, have fat piles of cash in their banks today? One of them already donated generously to this project. Talk about the horse’s mouth!
Yes, yes, we actually DO understand that you know better. No one’s arguing that you don’t know better.
You’re simply invited to duplicate the results of people who are doing better.
99% of us understand the words, while MisterShortcut is sure you agree that eighty percent of us don’t get it.
How could the Shapelinks Way Of Life, or the Universe, fail to admire those who do?
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