lead to disappointment, obsessions, stressful relationships and a
What you should control, rather, are your mind and your emotions.
It takes tremendous effort to manage the most powerful driver of all,
your mind. I did this by focusing on specific goals and cutting out the
negative stimuli around me — being sure to finish an important project
before going to a weekend party, for instance.
Personal coaches express this as a critical need to focus on goals
and cut the “noise.” There are now even more insidious distractions
— Internet gossip, trash talk radio and (as always) toxic acquaintances
NE W CHALLENGES, NEW SOLU TIONS
Here’s another driver: Look at every problem as a challenge in
need of a solution. As my financial situation slipped, I refused to
recognize the base problem I was dealing with. And after I hit the
wall, I began to see the world as it really is: tough, full of obstacles
Look at every problem as a challenge
in need of a solution.
Now, however, I know I can overcome almost anything, through
my faith and the help of my friends and colleagues.
Don’t think this is an unrealistic assessment of my abilities;
some tasks will take extreme effort. But this is the embodiment of
what Winston Churchill said during an address at his old school,
Harrow: “Never give in!”
When I was able to look squarely at my issues, overcome them
and finally reach higher levels of success and challenge, work
became more interesting and fun.
Yet from time to time, feelings of fulfillment waned and a kind of
mental “itchiness” set in. What I learned: My mind is programmed
to explore new ideas and settings, and to seek new challenges over
YES, YOU CAN
Many financial industry professionals seek out the motivation and
engagement that comes from working on challenging projects that
require both creativity and collaboration. Burchard refers to this
pursuit as “controlling for new.” That was one of the driving forces
behind my firm’s recent combination with Savant Capital Management: We wanted to face new and quite different challenges.
testing yourself, and determining whether
you feel mentally prepared to master them.
For me, it was all about feelings of competence (or incompetence). I found that
when my belief in my competence was high, I
adjusted more rapidly, contributed faster and
learned more quickly from my mistakes. My
feelings about my levels of ability and competence have driven my goals for years.
Many decades ago, I heard the Rev. Robert
Schuller ask this question: “What would you
attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”
Think about it.
CHOOSE YOUR THOUGH TS CAREFULL Y
In his book As a Man Thinketh, published
more than a century ago, James Allen put it
this way: “A particular train of thought per-
sisted in, be it good or bad, cannot fail to
produce its results on the character and cir-
cumstances. A man cannot directly choose
his circumstances, but he can choose his
thoughts, and so indirectly, yet surely, shape
Early on, my lack of mental control pro-
duced a train wreck in my life. It was only
after a deep personal crisis that I began to
understand and use mental and emotional
control, focus and goal setting to regain my
financial and career footing.
As my wins started to outpace my losses,
I strengthened my resolve, looked for problems to solve and challenges to overcome.
Still, I came to realize if my belief in my ability and competence wasn’t strong, I might
Mental control is a continuous work in
progress. And your attitude shapes the way
you think about how to get things done — so
if things aren’t going quite as you desire, you
might want to think about your attitude. FP
Glenn G. Kautt, CFP, EA, AIFA, is a
Financial Planning columnist and vice chairman of Rockford, Ill.-based Savant Capital