Readers: Nobody has written more guest articles for my blog than my good friend, the inimitable Mr. Credit Card. Today Mr. CC is going to entertain us with another of his always thought-provoking ideas. By the way, Mr. Credit Card has just updated his business charge card recommendations for 2011, so please be sure to check them out if you’re looking for one.
by Mr. Credit Card
Those of you who follow my Ask Mr. Credit Card blog know that I was recently on travel, visiting California. One of the highlights of my trip was being kingly invited to Len’s place for a nice burger grill.
I always buy a new book before I fly to the West Coast and, on this particular trip, I bought Andre Agassi’s autobiography. It was a most fascinating read for me because he told the story of his childhood and how he became a top tennis player.
The real shocker though was at the beginning of the book, when he claimed he actually hated tennis. What?! I could not believe it when I read those words!
It turns out that Andre’s father was a tennis nut, and he was determined to train his young son to be the world’s number one player.
Andre describes his training when he was seven years old. His father created a tennis machine that would hit a ball close to Andre’s feet. During endless hours of practice his dad would constantly stand behind him and yell at him. “Hit the ball early,” and “harder” were common phrases. I guess it should be no surprise that Andre ended up becoming one of the best hitters of the ball on the rise — and a pretty hard hitter too.
When Andre was fourteen, his father decided to send him — against Andre’s will — to the Nick Bolletieri tennis school in Florida. At first the plan was to go for only three months. Then, the folks at the school determined that he was the best talent they had ever seen, and three months eventually became “forever.”
Andre was so good that he was able to negotiate a deal that allowed him to skip school. He eventually turned professional before he was twenty. He also went on to become one of the best tennis players of all time, and one of only a few players to ever win all four grand slam titles.
As a professional, Andre was never satisfied if he lost. He maintained a coach. He even hired a fitness trainer who imposed a ruthless fitness regimen that he faithfully stuck to throughout his long career, training for many hours every day.
How to Excel at a Job You Hate
So why I am telling you all of this? Though extreme, I think Andre’s story is a clear example that you can excel at something even though you do not like it, assuming you are willing to put in the effort to be good at it.
And even though Andre did not like tennis, he still put in hours of work to be good at his chosen profession. Andre not only earned lots of prize money, but also in endorsement deals with Nike and American Express.
I can think of numerous people I know who dislike their jobs and yet stick to it and earn great financial rewards. I know many folks who work for investment banks and disliked their jobs, but they stuck with it and became good at it because it paid well. I guess there was some motivation there.
You may say that I’m using examples where the financial payoffs are great for those who rise to the top, but I would counter by saying that there are great rewards in any profession when you rise to the top.
And here is the thing that sometimes gets to me: I read lots of blogs (especially lifestyle blogs) and, to me, there are too many instances where you read about folks being “unhappy” with their jobs; everybody wants to make “passive income” and work only a few hours a week. While that is a worthy aim, I think before one starts to focus their attention to entrepreneurship, one should try to focus on being the best they can be in their jobs.
Figure out what it takes to succeed in your industry and profession. You may find that it will bring great financial rewards and you may be happier as a result. And trying to be the best you can be is a trait that is necessary if you ever want to be successful at your own business.
The Bottom Line
Len is always talking about sound money principals. Spend less than you earn, yes! Save, yes! But another important part of the equation is increasing your income. Making more money is a very important part of our personal finances but, too often, the “making more money” part tends to focus on ways to acquire passive income or, even worse, making money by blogging or via network marketing.
I urge you to refocus your attention on your present occupation (whether you like it or not) because I suspect we all can put a little more effort in getting ahead in what we currently do, and reap the resulting financial rewards. Even if we don’t like what we’re doing.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Credit Card told me those were the best burgers and hot dogs he had ever eaten! Okay, not really. But he did have multiple helpings.
Photo Credit: loneymops