One expert says one thing and the other totally contradicts that advice.
When you have two very different advice given by people you admire, which should you choose?
This question came up after I recently completed a series of three tests which identified my personal strengths and weaknesses in business and sales.
The results for the most part didn’t surprise me. There were a couple of weird ones though, which I’m taking a closer look at.
I don’t have glaring weaknesses in any area that has been important to me. I do have weaknesses though – which I think I’m reasonably aware of.
Since 1991 I’ve been a student of self-help books and believed and practised personal and professional development. Taking on that mindset has allowed me to identify holes in my game and then fix them – to a level that I was satisfied with.
But here’s the question I asked myself after taking these tests; Should I try to fix the holes in my game – even if they’re not really significant?
There’s 2 very different views on this.
Introducing, Gary Vaynerchuk & Tim Ferris
Gary and Tim are both Best Selling Authors & Multi-Millionaires.
Both, have very different views.
In the world of entrepreneurship, Gary will say just focus on your strengths – do the things that you’re best at. Have a listen to what Gary says about it:
But there’s another view. Become a jack of all trades. This is Tim’s view. To grow in every way and live an experiential life where you embrace learning and development wholly.
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I want to share with you these two different philosophies from my own life and how they have played out.
Let me give you a personal example of my own.
The first big hole I recognised for me was money.
Man was I bad with money.
When I got married at the age of 21, my wife and I decided that would be part of my responsibility. I would pay all the bills, develop a budget, organise holidays etc…
At the time, I’d never saved a cent.
We lived week to week, often running out of cash right on the day before pay day. I would spend money on stupid frivolous things that I didn’t need, instead of saving some money to buy us a couch to sit on.
I was hopeless.
I started getting advice – how can I patch up the holes in my game. Quickly, I realised there were a lot of different systems that people used and ultimately I had to choose one.
Cash under the bed.
One system was to stash the cash. Every week, a friend of mine would put some money from his pay (back then we would get handed a pay packet filled with cash) under his mattress. He saved successfully week after week and after about a year, had saved over $5000.
He told me the system worked really well, until the day he came home and found his house had been broken into.
The thieves took a number of things, including his $5000.
The methodology was right, but the execution was floored. Had he put the cash in the bank, he would have still been robbed, but he would still have had the $5000.
The envelope method.
Label envelopes for future bills. Every week, set aside the average amount you’ll need to pay those bills when they arrive. This required a bit of work. I’d need to work out my monthly electricity bill (say $100) and each week put $25 into an envelope labelled ‘Electricity’.
Now when the bill came in, I could pull out the cash and go and pay it. No sweat!
This is a good method and can work really well if you seasonally adjust your budgeting. EG: More money in winter for your gas bill because of your heater costs.
But, it was messy.
Who wants to keep envelopes and split money each week? Some people do, but I didn’t.
The hybrid method
I figured I needed to develop a savings plan and I needed to be prepared for oncoming bills. Neither method worked for me though, so I created something that I could use that worked.
I started recording all my bills in excel.
I had a tab for each bill type (Phone, Car Insurance, Electricity etc..) and then just recorded the amount of the bill and the number of days each bill was for. Some were for 30 days, some 60 and some annually.
Then I just divided the total by the number of days.
Car Insurance $365 / 365 days = $1 a day.
After doing that for all our bills plus our weekly grocery shopping, petrol and some smaller bills I arrived at a daily amount I needed to save.
It was around $50-$60 a day.
Then I got a credit card with a limit of $2,000.
The discipline of paying all the bills on the credit card then paying the card off in full each month was much easier to learn. Because the card was paid off every 30 days, I didn’t get charged interest.
The next thing I did was open a savings account. With regular habit, I would transfer some money each pay into that account.
Over time, all our bills were paid and we had saved enough money for a holiday, new furniture, a car and so on.
One book that helped me understand money better was The Richest Man in Babylon by Clason, George S. published by Signet (2002) – You can buy it on Amazon. It’s an easy read and will open your eyes to how to use money.
The learning time and self-discipline of the above took me about two years to learn through trial and error. There were weeks I was short of money. I hadn’t budgeted enough for unforeseen circumstances. I had to learn to control my discretional spending. But what if I could take a short cut with that?
Today, you can.
Companies like ‘MyBudget’ will manage your money for you, for a small fee.
They take your wage, put aside money for holidays and savings and will pay your bills on time every time. They’ll also give you an allowance. ZERO learning required.
So in my own experience, I’m now better with money. I’ve learned how to manage it much better than before. But I could have chosen to let someone else manage my money and not worry about it. Both would result in the same thing.
So here’s my question – what method do you prefer?
Should you take your strengths and play to them only or should you develop you weaknesses and become a jack of all trades?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.