Three young frogs were playing one sunny day on an old country road. As they were playing, one of the frogs fell into a pothole. The frog tried and tried to jump out of the pothole but was unable to make the leap necessary to get out. After a period of time, the other two frogs grew impatient with their unfortunate friend and hopped off to a nearby field to play.
A few hours later the two frogs were playing in the field and they saw their friend hopping to them. Curiously they asked their friend, “I thought you couldn’t get out of the hole, how did you manage to escape?” The frog that had been stuck in the hole responded, “Well, after you left I kept trying and trying and trying to get out of the hole with no luck. Then a truck started coming down the road towards the pothole and I had to get out!”
It is amazing what a sense of urgency does to increase productivity and our ability to accomplish things we might not have thought possible. The little frog in the story had the ability to get out of the hole the entire time but was only able to do so when faced with a situation that had extremely dire consequences if he failed.
A Sense of Complacency
There are many stories of mothers, fathers, and teens lifting cars and trucks off their loved ones in order to save them. The adrenaline kicks in, the absolute need to take action is present, and they perform actions that would otherwise never be possible. Scientifically all of this can be explained, but that does not make it any less remarkable. Thankfully most of us will never be put in the position to have to demonstrate super human strength as we will likely never encounter a situation that creates the required urgency. This urgency, or lack thereof, is also a prime factor that causes most individuals to never reach new heights or live up to their full potential. Simply put, most people are simply too comfortable to become more than what they currently are.
Many individuals get accustomed to a certain standard of living and find employment that meets those needs. They then find hobbies and social activities that they enjoy. Add in family responsibilities and the enjoyment that comes with that and they have created a comfortable life for themselves.
One of the problems that many individuals in this situation encounter is that the comfort they enjoy is reliant on the stability of the income that fuels the standard of living they enjoy. Life for these individuals can be very comfortable until they lose their job and they feel a jolt that can affect their entire lifestyle. Urgency may then take hold as they look for another job, but even when they find one the process simply starts again.
It is the rare individual who transcends the comfort they currently enjoy and pushes constantly towards new heights. The Rich Dad philosophy is predicated on helping individuals alter their mind set, escape the rat race and become one of these rare individuals.
A surprisingly large number of Ph.D. students never finishes their dissertation. They go through the efforts of completing their undergraduate work, obtain a masters degree, and finish their coursework for the Ph.D. However, with one final step to go they fail to finish. Granted, it is no small step, but it is the final one to accomplish the goal they set for themselves many years prior.
Undoubtedly there is no single reason to explain why this occurs, but two primary variables are at play here. The first is that for all of the years that they attend class they were provided structure. They had to attend classes, meet deadlines for papers and prepare for tests given on set dates. This structure created a sense of urgency with numerous deadlines that needed to be met. For these students, they succeeded at all of these tasks as they ultimately passed all of their coursework. Where they faltered is when they left the structured academic environment and were left to their own devises to write their dissertation with no immediate set deadline.
The second variable relates to why many individuals never accomplish their dreams, they get comfortable. Many graduate students lead very meager lifestyles while they are in school. Upon finishing their Ph.D. course work, most students find some level of employment and plan on writing their dissertation outside of working hours. With newly found employment, these once hungry students often develop a certain lifestyle and fall into the same traps that many fall into. The urgency that once was present no longer is there and they never finish.
Creating Urgency in a Structured Environment
With structure comes deadlines, and with deadlines comes urgency. The majority of you may find yourselves gainfully employed but have a burning desire to escape the rat race and accomplish all of the goals you have set for yourself. Whether through real estate, the stock market, or other entrepreneurial ventures, you may have found an area that interests you. You should be aware that on this incredible journey that you are about to undertake it is unlikely that someone will create deadlines and urgency for you. This will be something that you have to do for yourself.
For those of you entering into the realm of real estate, it will be up to you to learn the necessary strategies, evaluate properties, make offers, and obtain financing. There will be no structure or deadlines governing how fast you learn and apply what you learn. This is wonderful for the rare individual who has a burning passion to succeed and works relentlessly to achieve their goals. If you are the type of individual who needs a bit more structure in your life, then it will be very easy to put off tasks as there is no timetable set for your success. If you do need structure, there is nothing wrong with that. But it is important to recognize your shortcomings and plan and work around them.
If you do need structure, then create hard deadlines to accomplish set tasks and make them your top priority each day. Never let a day pass where you have not created new deadlines for yourself. Mark these deadlines on your calendar, post a note to remind you every day, and let no excuse stand in your way of accomplishing what needs to be done by the deadline you set. Individuals escape the rat race every day. The only thing standing in between you and your escape is you.
The power is within each of us to accomplish great things in life. If you are not by nature the rare individual that works relentlessly to achieve what you want in life, do not be afraid. You can quickly become that individual with a little bit of structure and by creating your own sense of urgency.