The most important thing in life is to think as clearly as possible. Doing so makes everything else so much easier.
A little while ago, a financial adviser we know was chatting to a client of his who was feeling extremely anxious. The anxious client had a decision to make: should he change job? One of the things that was making him so anxious was the message he was giving himself about the change. He kept telling himself – and anyone else who would listen – that this was a HUGE decision that would have MASSIVE ramifications for both his and his family’s future. He kept telling himself that this was a decision he COULD NOT AFFORD TO GET WRONG.
No wonder he could not get to sleep!
The financial adviser (let’s call him Sigmund) knew how to approach this. He asked his client to name the event that had had the biggest impact on his life so far. As it happens, Sigmund knew that his client had a one-year-old daughter at home. Unsurprisingly, the anxious client nominated becoming a father as the most important thing that had ever happened to him. Sigmund then asked a series of questions that went something like this:
Sigmund: “The most important thing that has happened in your life so far has been becoming a father?”
Client: “That’s right.”
Sigmund: “I guess that must mean that meeting your wife was a pretty significant event? After all, no wife, no bub.”
Client: “That’s right. No wife no bub.”
Sigmund: “How did you meet your wife?”
Client: “I met her at a party.”
Sigmund: “How did you come to meet at the party?”
Client: “Well, it was a fancy dress party…”
Sigmund: “Ah. What were you wearing?”
Client: “A gorilla suit. She was dressed as Wonder Woman.”
Sigmund: “How did you get talking?”
Client: “She came up to me and told me that she liked my costume.”
Sigmund: “So, the most important thing that has happened in your life so far has been having a child. And you met the woman with whom you had your child at a fancy dress party. And the reason you started talking to her is because she liked your costume. Is that right?”
Client: “That’s right.”
Sigmund: “So, based on how things have turned out, the most significant decision you have made so far in your life was to go to that party wearing a gorilla suit. That decision has had a far bigger impact on your life than any other decision you have ever made?”
Client: “Mmm. Yes, that’s right.”
All of a sudden, the decision about whether to change job was not so difficult. The client realized that the really important decisions often don’t feel like it at the time. The things we think will be very important turn out not to be. And the things we think are trivial can have a huge impact.
Once they had put the decision about the job in its proper perspective, our financial adviser friend and his client could easily examine the pros and cons of the choice he was facing. The client made a decision about whether to change jobs, went home and played happily with his daughter. Then he got a really good night’s sleep and got on with the rest of his life.
This is the benefit of having a clear perspective on our decision making. And this is exactly the kind of thing that a good financial adviser can assist with. It is also the part of our job that we love the most.
So, as 2021 gets underway, why not get in touch and together we can make this your ‘year of thinking clearly.’