The Art of Staying Positive

If you have not heard the Even Steven Money family is on vacation in Miami!!!  Well our dog Angel is staying in Chicago in a retirement setting, you know playing poker and socializing with other dogs, inside and outside activities, maybe even some snow will fly if she’s lucky.  I think we both are living the dream.  Instead of leaving you to settle with a Gone on Vacation sign, I have asked a few fellow bloggers to stop on over and share a story with us all.  I really enjoyed this one from Steve at ThinkSaveRetire and I hope you do to.  Please make sure to stop on over to ThinkSaveRetire.com and/or share your thoughts in the comments sections below and remember Have a Great Weekend and Stay Positive!

thinksaveretire

Last week my family and I spent 5 days at Walt Disney World, known by many to be the happiest place on earth.  My two nieces (9 and 6 years old) were there to experience the magic with us adults.  Though we all had a ton of fun, it was still interesting how easy it was for the kids, who got to miss a week a school and spend several days at Disney World, to complain about everything that went wrong.

We were at Disney World primarily for the kids, and the kids are the ones complaining?  Surely, something isn’t right!  Ah, this sounds like an excellent teaching opportunity to me.

It is funny how many of life’s opportunities materialize out of what we might consider to be things that “went wrong”.  For example, we missed a bus back to our hotel one evening from Epcot, which delayed us by an hour.  Naturally, the kids complained about missing the bus and being bored.  But in that hour, my brother took his 9-year old to another ride just to pass the time, and it wound up being one of their favorite rides of the entire week.  Good thing we missed the bus.

We used these opportunities to explain to the kids that almost anything can be turned into something positive.  A missed bus makes it possible to find your favorite ride.  A sold-out dessert at one restaurant can turn into finding a new delicious treat at another, and maybe even for less money!
By the end of the trip, the kids were gleefully explaining to us adults how much they got to do after something supposedly went wrong.  “We couldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for that!”

With the right attitude, life becomes so much easier to manage, and it all begins with staying positive.

I was lucky with my upbringing.  My dad taught me at a very early age that people truly are the masters of their own destinies.  He instilled in me a belief in the power that attitude has over our lives and how a simple tweak to our outlook can profoundly affect how happy we are.

If you expect things to go wrong, then things will probably go wrong.  If you expect things to go right, then more times than not, things will go right.
Think of this similar to how the placebo effect works.

When drug companies test a new drug, they typically include two groups of people: one group takes the actual medication and the other takes what essentially amounts to a fake one – known as the “control group”.  While the members of each group know what drug they are taking, they are unaware of what group they have been placed in.   They all believe that they are taking the real drug, and these companies use the control group to weed out the placebo effect from the drug’s supposed effectiveness.

In every test, members from the control group report experiencing effects that are in support of what the drug was designed to achieve, even though they aren’t actually taking the drug at all!

The reason for this stems from basic human psychology.  When people expect a certain outcome, they implicitly train their minds to make it happen.  For example, those people who take pre-workout energy supplements generally feel more energy while they work out, even if the supplement is scientifically ineffective.  Just like members of the control group, people’s minds are building an expectation of a certain result.  This means whether or not the energy supplement is actually working, the expectation of more energy is so powerful that people’s minds make them feel more energetic.

But hey, even if the supplement is completely bogus, more energy is more energy, right?

Thus, it follows that by using the same basic human psychology from above, if people’s expectations are designed around positive outcomes and feeling genuinely happy, then our minds will make us happy.

Use the power of the placebo effect to completely change the way you look at the outside world.

If you expect to retire early and enjoy a lifetime of jobless bliss, then your mind will begin building a mental foundation to make it happen.

About a year ago, I made that decision.  I told myself that I will retire in 7 years before I hit 40 years old.  Through a positive state of mind, I expected to fundamentally change the way that I live my life, from one that prioritizes spending to a lifestyle that puts my future self ahead of who I am today.  I expect to retire early, and I expect to be happy while getting there.

And, I am.  I got married last year to my beautiful and supportive wife who is 100% on-board with our plan to save big and retire early.  We made the decision to move to Sedona, AZ and enjoy the second half of our lives jobless in red rock country of northern Arizona.  I quit my “prestigious” director-level job and took an opportunity working from home, which lowered my stress level to darn near zero and gives me much more time to spend with our two dogs because I get to design my work around MY schedule.

Between my wife and me, we save nearly 70% of our combined salaries every month and our net worth is climbing faster than Santa’s blood pressure.  After I moved in with my wife, we signed a 2-year rental contract to a wonderful family within a week of putting my old house on the market.  That was too easy.

We have a 4-year plan to sell my old house after the 2-year contract expires and use the sale of that house to put down a large down payment on a town house in Sedona and begin renting that property to pay for its remaining mortgage.  Then, we sell our current home and move up there by 2019 into a completely paid-off town house while we look for our permanent home.

By 2020 or 2021, I will be done working – one to two years before I reach 40.

Man, am I ever happy!  My positive attitude and expectation to take our future by the horns and turn it into another 4 or 5 decades of bliss is falling right into place.  In just a year since making the decision to retire early, my happiness level has skyrocketed.  Stress is almost nonexistent.
Maybe I should pinch myself.  This can’t possibly be real, can it?

Actually, it is.  Stay positive and expect good things out of your life.  If you do, the rest tends to follow.

Featured image courtesy of deluxebattery.com

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