Patrick Swayze vs Winston Churchill (and Thomas Edison)

After reviewing the cards I’ve been dealt so far this year, there appears to be a pattern to the assignments which have got the better of me.

They reflect either Spending less or Sticking with systems/procedures

e.g., filing, weekly or monthly review of finances and following up on open loops such as persisting when the first or second or third attempt to resolve a financial question doesn’t produce a definitive result.

That I have issues with spending and paperwork was part of the inspiration for this year’s experiment, so these patterns fail to surprise. On a good day, what Churchill and Edison have to say about failure sums up my attitude towards my struggle with spending and paperwork assignments.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas A. Edison


“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

This outlook helps me to remain the seeking, searching type bent on a quest. But on a bad day, when my worries overcome my sense of optimism, it’s Patrick Swayze’s sentiment that calls into question whether I shouldn’t just give up and accept myself as I am.

“The way to screw up somebody’s life is to give them what they want.” Patrick Swayze

DO I really want to be an entirely conscientious spender, someone who is frugal and who lets money dictate how and when I socialise or travel or splurge? What version of myself would I have to become for this money mindfulness to monitor my daily self? I shudder to think.

As for being more methodical and systematic … this terrorises me less but strikes me as a genuine skill deficit rather than a simple matter of will. When it comes to being organised, the challenge is to create a system that is complex enough to work and simple enough to maintain. For some of us this comes so naturally we’ve no idea what the problem is … for the rest of us we’re constantly hunting for new ways to trick ourselves into being better organised.

I didn’t need this week’s assignment (to review all those that I’ve failed to nail) to make me stop and think about what I might do differently with respect to these troublesome tendencies. What to do about them has been percolating in the back of my mind for decades.

The path forward seems to be less about pitting Swayze against Churchill and Edison, and instead borrowing inspiration from both camps. I’m going to pay attention to what I’m naturally good at — in the spending and paperwork departments and build from there, to achieve not what I think I should but what obviously suits me best.

All rather cryptic, I know. More to follow SOON as I experiment with my 10,001 attempt to alter the nature of my relationship with money. (Hint — I reckon I might curb my spending in ways that might not be so demotivating and trick myself into greater paperwork discipline if I were to shut down my overdraft facility. We’ll see…)


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