One of the most powerful motivators that exists is an awesome example. People enjoy looking at Warren Buffet’s success in investing or Michael Jordan’s dominance on the court. And if you are trying to achieve personal financial domination, Mr. Money Mustache might be a slightly exaggerated example. But most of the examples in our lives are much closer to home. Most of our influences are close friends, teachers, mentors, or parents. The examples that influence our opinions and actions most are those with whom we are closest to.
Examples are both good or bad. Just ask someone who had a parent who smoked while they were growing up. Rarely do you see a smoker’s child ambivalent about smoking. Most, either casually fall into their parents’ footsteps, or despise the substance and go out of their way to avoid it. We influence other people whether we realize it or not. In almost every situation there is someone who takes notice of our actions and attitudes. We are setting an example. Sometimes that is good and sometimes it might not be as positive as we wish.
Our families are incredibly important. We spend a lot of our time with them and they are constantly watching us. They notice or reactions, our planning, and priorities. Our parents are often one of our biggest influences, whether we wish them to be or not. Secondly, if or when we have children, they rely on our actions, words and behaviors as an example. We are constantly being measured on our ability to live up to our own expectations. How well do we do?
I can’t even count the ways my family has influenced me. The older I get the more I recognize the influence they have had (and currently have) on my life. Are there parts of your life where you wish to be a better example? One of the main reasons I questioned my relationship with alcohol was simply the example it was setting for my friends and family. It can be nice to observe individuals living a variety of lifestyles to see how it impacts their life and surroundings.
People take notice of how we spend our money. You notice how your friends and family spend the money they have. You notice when people run out or get stressed over monetary concerns. Ironically, we often find ourselves following the example of people that make poor choices with money or whose values do not align with our own. But we have a choice. We get to decide how we want to spend our money. We get to choose how to allocate the resources we have been given.
Are you setting a good example with how you handle your money? Are your savings and spending in line with what you truly value? Who is watching you? You often see families who make poor choices with money pass those decision making skills down to their children. We have the ability to set an incredible example of what it takes to spend wisely. For some this may mean making it through college debt free. For some it may be paying off your house, giving lots of money away, or maxing out retirement accounts. We must be aware of the example we set.
Relationships & Moral Choices
How we handle relationships is one of the most interesting ways we set an example. How do we prioritize the important people in our lives? The example we set will influence our friends, coworkers, teachers, families and children. Relationships are the most important things in our lives. The way we interact with people is one of the most telling components of our life. We should strive to be the best friend, co-worker, spouse, child or parent that we can be. The ability to which we asses right from wrong in our lives will impact our peers. The moral choices we make impact marriages, families and communities. Developing a framework for moral decision making is imperative to being a strong example.
We set examples in our lives. We have plenty of people that look at our lives for guidance and understanding. We can be either a positive example or a negative one. What areas of our lives are we setting a poor example? What can we do now to start the process of moving from negative to positive? The example we set is more important than we often realize.