A week or so ago, a friend of mine purchased a house with cash. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but it’s more than roomy enough for his needs.
How did he manage to come up with the cash to just buy a home without a loan? Small steps. Nothing more, nothing less.
He doesn’t go out to eat very often. Instead, he makes most of his meals at home. He goes out if there’s a situation with friends or family, but without that, he doesn’t bother.
He doesn’t go “out on the town” very often, either. His social calendar mostly revolves around free community organizations and sports as well as events at the homes of friends. If he wants to do something, he does it, but his schedule is usually full enough that when he does have a free evening, he rests up and reads a book at home.
If there’s a service he doesn’t use very much, he doesn’t have it. Thus, he doesn’t have internet access at home and just uses it at work for fifteen minutes or so after he’s done with his tasks if he needs to.
He doesn’t buy a soda at the gas station after filling up (in fact, he usually bikes to work, as it’s about a mile away from his home). He doesn’t toss stuff into his cart in the checkout aisle. He doesn’t stop at Starbucks for a “quick pick-me-up.”
He does not need these things for happiness in his life. They are just products that are well marketed or services where you pay out the nose for the right to sit down.
Every time he makes one of these little choices, he saves a bit more money. The “expenses” part of his balance sheet is a little lower, meaning there’s more money left at the end of the month.
Month after month, that money builds up in a savings account until, a few years down the road, he’s suddenly writing a check for a home of his own.
Little steps. Little steps are the key to victory. Big, grandiose steps might look good, but without the little steps to sustain them, they fall flat. Little steps, day in and day out.
Little steps lead to better health. Going on a walk instead of watching a TV show. Ordering a water instead of a double mocha latte. Eating one sandwich instead of two. Eating fish instead of a giant burger.
Little steps lead to a bigger skill set. Spending an evening learning a new protocol instead of watching American Idol. Choosing the challenging path instead of the easy path at work.
Little steps lead to a healthy retirement balance. They lead to a better job. They lead to a career you dream of. They open you up to completely unexpected opportunities.
The only difference between the successful and the unsuccessful is the willingness to take those little steps over and over again.
When you see someone who is successful – even if the impression they give is of someone who is talentless – often you’re seeing the result of a lot of these small steps hidden behind the scenes. They were choosing certain things over and over again that might not have been the easy road in some way or another.
There’s nothing stopping you from doing it, too. It just takes willpower, regular good choices, and time.