He looked through his phone… trying to see if there was a least one contact he could call.
Went through all of his friends, his family, and all the other miscellaneous contacts one accumulates in life. And knew that none of them would be to help him, let alone want to.
All except one. One that he didn’t want to call.
But he had no choice. He needed the money yesterday.
“How did I get here?” he thought.
Suddenly, an entire highlight reel of his poor decisions began racing through his mind.
And he realized that every decision, both good and bad, have led him to his current situation.
“I created my own hell” he said to himself.
And calls the shylock.
Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the scene you have seen many times over portrayed in our favorite TV shows, movies, and literature.
We love this moment: the guy who has nothing to lose, with no way out, takes a huge risk. So much suspense, so much on the line. Will he pull it off? And most of the time he does.
Great drama and very entertaining. Put on your sweatpants, make the popcorn, and enjoy the movie.
But do not do this yourself. Your life is not a movie.
All of these characters are not making their decisions from a position of strength. Their decisions are needs-based, driven by fear, doubt, and a lack of options. And when you do so, you make bad decisions.
But fear not, most decisions are made from a position of weakness.
Wait what. Why?
Yeah you read that right. Of course, that’s the case:
If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck in the military, and have no savings how do you think that will affect your decision making during your military transition?
Will you pass on the first 5 opportunities that come your way? Are you looking for that perfect pitch that is right in your sweet spot – that you know you can hit over the fence?
Most likely the neither. Instead you will grab the first opportunity that comes your way – for better or worse.
But how long will it take for that first opportunity to materialize? A month? 2 months? Longer?
Mitigate these doubts and fears by making your decision from a position of strength:
- Develop and enforce a budget
- Maximize savings
- 3 to 6 months of expenses
- Shelter, food, insurance, transportation
- 3 to 6 months of expenses
- Eliminate or limit all non-essential expenses
- Impulse purchases
- New headphones, clothes, TV, etc.
- Impulse purchases
- Eliminate or limit all debt
- Car loans
- Student loans
- Credit cards
You may think, “Woah, that’s a lot” and you are right. You most likely are not able to check off everything off that list, but neither can the “average” American. Do you want an “average” military transition?
“The best way to predict the future is to create it”
– Peter Drucker
Shooter’s preference. Only you can decide how you are going to live your life. But remember that position of weakness decisions always come at some cost:
- Increased risk of settling for something you may not want
- Increased risk to your financial and therefore physical, mental, emotional health
- Increased risk of limited future decision-making abilities or options
What if I am not willing to accept those additional risks?
Consider delaying your departure from the military and prepare accordingly.
Dave Ramsey is the unquestioned authority when it comes for financial advice and planning. Even the most successful people on Wall Street look to his tried and true teachings for financial independence.
Still think that you want to choose the “burn it to the ground” plan, throw caution to the wind? Think you have nothing to lose?
The entertainment industry has habitually romanticized the decision-making process of those characters who have reached rock bottom. The old adage, “I’ve got nothing to lose, so I am going to do [insert really bad idea here]” should not be anywhere in your wheelhouse.
You have plenty to lose. And I am not just talking about the current benefits you have as a member of the armed forces. The real loss are the doors and opportunities that are no longer open to you if you have flawed decision making, poor planning and preparation, and lackluster execution during your military transition.
opportunity cost (noun): the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen
Remember, that your most valuable possession your time and how you choose to spend it will determine your level of success (or failure).
Instead of looking to our poorly fated protagonist at the end of his rope, look for the stories of the protagonist who knows danger is coming – and prepares for the inevitable through deliberate planning, preparation, and execution.
Because if you think that anyone is just going to give you anything you are wrong.
Everyone is out there trying to make a living. Everyone wants that job or to get into that school or field or whatever. People are waiting to kick you in the face.
Like bringing a knife to a gunfight or better said from Lars Ulrich “bringing piss to a shit fight”
In a time crunch? Then get small. Sell things. Reduce the overhead costs for your life.
For anyone who has jumped a TOC in the middle of the night, you know that the smaller the TOC footprint the better. Its easier to run when you weigh less.
Position yourself for success.
– Bud Fox
You aren’t prepared and haven’t allocated your time properly to prepare?
No one gives a shit. You will just be another easy meal for the hungry.
Welcome to the Thunderdome bitch