I Recommend Killing Your Dreams in 2014

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.
[coin put into piggy bank]

You won’t get wise with the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dream might be…
–RUSH, “Something for Nothing”

The calendar is nearly up on 2013, and though we do have a few weeks left this year, it’s never too late to get started thinking about the year to come. My friend and long-term colleague Doug Fabian did just that in a recent edition of his weekly Making Money Alert, when he wrote about what he called “A Skeptical Resolution.”

In the article, Doug cautioned us to not expect the same kind of high-performance year in the equity markets in 2014 as we had this year. More importantly, he recommended that “one key New Year’s resolution you can make right now is to simply be skeptical” when it comes to your money in 2014.

I think this is extraordinarily prudent advice, and it got me to thinking about what advice I could dispense that would help people improve their lives in 2014.

After a little soul searching, and admittedly a few shots of my favorite Kentucky bourbon, I came up with the following unsolicited tidbits of wisdom garnered from a little more than four decades on this Big Blue Marble. So, for what it’s worth, here they are.

1) Make your own decisions.

This may seem obvious, but I hear countless stories from family, friends, business associates and others about how they were pressured into an important decision by their friends, family or others. I am speaking here about crucial life choices such as whether to have a child, or what job to take, or where to invest money.

To this, I recommend doing what one of my mentors once told me when I was a teen: “One must count on oneself, nobody else.” By making your own, objective and reasoned decisions with the primary emphasis on what’s right for you, you always can be assured that you are responsible for the outcome. So, whether that decision is a success or a failure, you are the one to blame, and not anyone else.

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2) You can’t see the road ahead from the backseat.

The quickest way to an unpleasant existence is to let life wash over you like a spectator. To go your own way, you need to put your rear end firmly in the driver’s seat and choose to take control. “But what if I crash?” you ask.

Well, so what? Failure is part of life. Get used to it.

The fact is that you can always get back in the driver’s seat, and often you’ll be a little wiser and a little more experienced when you do. Indeed, nearly every great success story, whether it is in business, sports, entertainment, etc., came as a result of a lot of trial and error. However, I don’t know of any real success stories that were ever navigated from life’s backseat. So, jump into the cockpit and take control of your joystick.

3) Kill your dreams.

Okay, it’s a great thing to have real, concrete goals, but the reliance on “dreams” in life just keep you asleep wishing for something that isn’t so and, in most cases, will never be so. Instead of dreaming, why not take action?

You see, in life, the doing is really all that matters, not dreaming you did something.

So, in 2014, I recommend killing your dreams and taking action to make your goals a reality — and that task is accomplished by making your own decisions and by putting yourself in your own driver’s seat.

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