Ep.45 - What is Your Drive? - Mine is This Piece of Paper (3 Minute Read)

Read Time: 3 Minutes.

Warning: This is about to get personal. If you want something light to read, I suggest you close this page.

Have you wondered why people often don't follow through on long-term commitments, especially when it's hard? I'm sure you know plenty of people who get super excited about starting a new project they seem to care a lot about. In reality, most of these people stop mentioning these projects after a couple of months. Why? People often blame it on discipline and other priorities. I think not. 



What matters 10x more is drive. If you go to the gym because of the pressure from the outside as opposed to your own desire, it is very hard to sustain. To me, having discipline is just a tool. It's basically the same concept as "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." The horse needs to have its own desire to drink.

If you have been following my blog or know me personally, you may or may not have wondered why I am so passionate about personal finance? Honestly, it has nothing to do with getting followers or making money off of it, because I don't.

It's all about this piece of paper my mother gave me a decade ago.




What is this piece of paper, you ask? It is the entire reason why I want to achieve being independently wealthy. Let me explain.

We need to first travel back in time to over a decade ago. This is the fall of 2007, when I was a junior in high school in Southern California. The economy was collapsing. But as a teenager, I didn't have a clue what that meant, except that I saw my father losing his job early in the year. For a brief period of time, my mother picked up the slack and carried the household with a job that paid $10/hr. But even that did not last. By November 2007, both of my parents were out of work.

My birthday is in December, it was fast approaching. My family typically didn't do anything elaborate for my birthday, but I always had a card and a cake...except in 2007. Being an oblivious teenager, I woke up on my birthday, walked to the kitchen at lunchtime, expecting a Chinese sponge cake and a birthday card.

Well.... I saw nothing, except a piece of paper ripped from my mother's notepad on the kitchen counter. I walked over and picked it up. As I was reading it, my mother came over and hugged me, telling me that they couldn't spare the money for a real card (meaning a Hallmark card) this year, and they would get me a cake later on next year.

I said nothing, because I understood what was happening. I suddenly felt like I had mentally matured more in that one minute than all of that year. From that moment on, I started to carry this piece of paper in my wallet. It's been 11 years now. It reminds me every day of a time of stress that I don't want anyone that I love to go through again. 

This is why I care about personal finance. A piece of paper, a memory. 

Now what's your drive?

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