Motivation 101 – What You Believe, Is What You Achieve!

Dawn and I have been going back and forth for days now.  I wanted to share with you the difference between her and I, mainly by pointing out why I think she is wrong in her thinking.  Her thinking is how most people look at it, and what I am trying to do here at EOD is to show people that there is another way that provides more options.  I believe that more options translates into a higher success rate.  A lot of people limit themselves by not realizing their options.  I think Dawn dwells on the problem instead of providing a solution.  I do not doubt her well intentions, I just think she’s wrong.  If she believes this and she writes about money, then I know others do as well.

A Perfect Example Of Victim Thinking And Limiting Yourself

Dawn: “I’m sorry, but if you have the misfortune of just a high school diploma, the kind of work you can get may be just at checkout at Walmart. People at that income level do indeed live paycheck to paycheck and it is rather hard to pay the rent, utilities, etc. without going into debt, especially if you live in an expensive state like I do, here in CT.”

“But i think that people who see the crisis we’re in today as a one-dimensional problem solely caused by individuals who wrack up debt, often because they have no other choice, have blinders on.”

NO OTHER CHOICE?” That is the very reason we disagree.  She thinks that people have no other choices and should accept the notion, that’s just how things are.  Limiting yourself by telling yourself that you have no options, will give you exactly that…NO OPTIONS! What you believe, is what you achieve!!

Misfortune of just a High School Diploma?”  I consider a college education to be valuable and an advantage but it is certainly not the only way one can become successful! It is this line of thinking that keeps someone believing that they can’t do something when really they can! What you believe, is what you achieve!!

Me: “My point was this. If I can do something OTHER than live on minimum wage and I have only a high school diploma, then others can do the same. I am not special! Instead of accepting my struggle I have decided to be proactive in how my life turns out. It’s really that simple. People can educate themselves about anything using the internet and resources from the library to help make their way. Anything is possible and that includes living without debt.”

Me And The Victim Mentality Do Not Get Along

Dawn: “Lax bank regulation played a big role in the mess we’re in and bankers, having the training and lending knowledge, understood the risks better than lower income people trying to get ahead. The banks were out for profit only and by looking the other way, made it possible for people who could ill afford to purchase a home to in fact do so. If the banks said “no,” we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Here we go blaming others again! Obviously Dawn wasn’t paying attention when Washington put pressure on mortgage lenders to give loans to people that shouldn’t have got them.  Also, she is suggesting that people blindly sign their name without understanding or knowing what it is that they are signing. Rule number 1: Understand anything and everything that you put your name on, OR do not complain about the end result of you not knowing!  If you understand that rule then you understand why it is not someone else’s fault that YOU signed your name!

Me: “You believe you are helping people and I respect that. You are encouraging the problem by telling them that what they have been doing is NOT their fault, and I am saying maybe it’s time for people to start examining their habits, and try something else. You want to place blame and I want to empower people to take control of their finances. I like my way because I know my way works and your way just continues the problem. The victim mentality is a form of slavery and I am trying to free the slaves from their own peril.

Who Is Really The One That Is Single-Mindlessly Focused?

Dawn: “Brad, I really think that you and I are on the same page…we both want people to take responsibility for their financial well being. Its not something that’s often taught in schools.

The difference, I think, is that I also work to inform people of various other forces at work that are often beyond the ability of the average person to control. I’m talking about various government regulations (or the lack thereof), global economic events and just plain bad luck. You seem to be single-mindlessly focused on personal responsibility without acknowledging that sometimes, despite the very best effort and intentions, $*%# happens.”

I wrapped up the conversation with this:

Me: “You are right Dawn, I personally think it is a waste of time to try and figure out who was at fault. The bottom line for me is that when people look at their situation and say how can I make it better, instead of who caused it, I think they can be more productive towards defeating the enemies that cause the bad luck and other various forms of excuses that you named off. SO WHAT if the Government does or doesn’t have regulations concerning credit cards…don’t use credit cards and empower yourself to live without the crutch that has become credit. You seem to be overlooking the fact that if you have a plan then those things that happen, don’t really affect you all that much.

I personally believe that you are making people less active in winning because you are too concerned with having them focus on everything being out of their control, instead of allowing them to see HOW to climb those obstacles. People don’t want to know that there are obstacles, they already know that, they want to know how to overcome them!

Now for why I consider myself to be an expert in this area. I USED to do what you do! I USED to look at the supposed problems! I USED to focus on why things were happening to me! It wasn’t until I started reading more from Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Brian Tracy, and John G. Miller that I realized I was wasting my time, AND when I began to ask myself different questions. You should really read a book called QBQ- The Question Behind The Question, because I believe you focus on asking the wrong questions.

My life and direction changed completely once I started to think differently. I actually started defeating my obstacles instead of looking for who put them there. I now believe in myself and my ability to secure my own future, without relying on Washington or anyone else to put a rule in place that will protect me. What I learned is that there is hope and empowerment in realizing I do not have to accept your ideas and solutions.

With all of that said, I would like to respectfully say that we are hardly alike. Maybe you should re-examine which one of us is more “single-mindlessly focused”, since you are the one that is in the box, and I am the one outside of it telling people there are more options where I am.”


Lesson: Don’t limit yourself by accepting what you think you can’t do, go find out that you can do it!  What you believe, is what you achieve!!

Do you agree or disagree with me?  Let me know, and as I was with Dawn, please be respectful!  I would love to hear your opinion.

About Brad Chaffee

14 Responses to “Motivation 101 – What You Believe, Is What You Achieve!”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Psychologists tell us that very little in our lives is within our control. That’s crap. Most things are within our control or influence, we just feel better thinking that we go through life dodging one thing after another that comes out of the woodwork.

    It’s easier to think that our failures or problems aren’t our fault at all, in any way, shape or form. That’s usually not the case.

    Even most car accidents can be prevented by the driver that isn’t at fault, if only they had paid closer attention to what was going on.

    We just don’t want to fess up to the idea that we can change our lives for the better and we can write our own future because that places a huge responsibility on us, and many people just can’t handle it.


  2. Brad Chaffee says:

    You’re exactly right Clair! I was listening to Brian Tracy tonight while at work and he started talking about the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of what happens to us is out of our control, and 80% of our actions and abilities are learned. Most people think that they have to have some natural ability to succeed and that is why so many people are limited to that belief. Maybe 20% is out of our control, but 100% of any problem has a solution. People usually try something once before giving up, never to try again. He also pointed out in the same audio book that successful people fail far more often than unsuccessful people. That tells us that the people who win are the ones that accept responsibility and never give up.

    The old me was a perfect example of a quitter. I went from job to job as soon as I got sick of it, which generally took about a year, two at max. The old me would have quit writing for this blog too. In fact the old me would have never started it. I had never written a thing before enemyofdebt, and to be honest when I started there was a part of me that wanted to quit because it was difficult to keep up. I stuck to it and not only am I still doing it, I got mentioned and quoted by, and the quotes from that article by me spread around the web like a fire. On May 6th I received almost 1000 hits. If I had quit, I would have never gotten better at something that I was not naturally gifted at, nor would I have achieved the goals that I have.

    One thing my father-in-law told me was that I needed to step outside of the box. That has stuck with me for many years now, because before I was the guy that stayed safely in the box where chances were not taken because my confidence was not that high. The truth is that the lack of confidence was likely because of my attitude at the time about myself. I only had a HS diploma, no college, and gave up on everything that got hard. I lived the “I can’t do that” mentality and it completely limited my ability to achieve.

    Thinking and acting outside of the box forced me to say yes to speaking to Sweet Briar College on September the 4th for an entire hour! The old me would have said I can’t do that, but I said yes! Even though I am not a great public speaker yet the only way it will happen is if I continue to step outside the confines of the box called mediocrity. I am going to do it, and even if I mess up and totally fumble on that day, I will still be better than if I had never done it at all.

    Sorry for the long response, I felt compelled to share that with you and everyone else, plus I am fired up by listening to Brian Tracy tell me that I can!! That’s the message that people need to hear, not “someone else” caused your misfortune. There I go again! LOL

    Thanks for your insightful comments!

  3. tam says:


    Well, hmmm…I’d have to say tht both of you are right and isn’t that usually the case? Let’s not be naive we are given a game board to play on that has been developed by business, government and the help of lobbyists. We have free choice within certain margins and we need to educate ourselves. When you have credit card companies throwing out credit cards to teenagers and offering credit to people with mental health issues in relationship to money I must say there is an imbalance here and if you’re really paying attention it should make you a bit angry. Now with that said financial education is imperative to enable the individual to make prudent decisions. It’s not so black and white.

  4. Mike says:

    “Misfortune of just a High School Diploma” – tell that to Bill Gates, who also just has a HS diploma. And I’m sure there are many, many more who are successful with just a HS diploma.

    A saying that I heard from a Zig Zigler goal setting course back in the mid 80’s is VERY true: whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.

  5. Mike says:

    (accidentally hit Submit before I was done)

    So Dawn wants to find out who’s to blame? Great! It’s the government, or my spouse, or my crappy boss, or Murphy jumping up and biting me in the rear! You’ve identified who’s to blame – but who is going to get you out of this mess? The government, my spouse, my crappy boss, Murphy? NO – ONLY YOU WILL GET YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR MESS, BECAUSE IT IS ONLY IMPORTANT TO YOU! And it’s up to you, the individual, to make sure you don’t get in that position again. Do you think the government is going to say “you know what, we screwed you over once already, we’ll never do it again”. Hell no, and anyone who believes this victim mentality will always be a victim, and always gravitate towards anyone who says “it’s not your fault, and I’m going to help you”.

  6. Brad Chaffee says:

    Hey Tam, thanks for sharing your opinion, your thoughts are appreciated. I certainly agree that education is imperative, and educating yourself about what you are signing is a part of personal responsibility btw. While there are sharks and snakes out there that take advantage of the weak, IF you decide to play then you should know what the rules are. Whether or not someone took advantage of me doesn’t matter if I wasn’t smart enough to learn how to play.

    When someone who has never played poker before decides to sit down and play poker, but loses all of his/her money, it is not the person’s fault that took their money for knowing the rules and taking advantage of their lack of skill. We all make mistakes in the learning process, and my mission is to teach people how to play the game. Ultimately, when someone does something stupid with money, it is their fault, EVEN IF someone else took advantage of them. My wife and I have a STUPID, RIDICULOUS interest-only loan. Is the guy that was looking for a commission, which was his job, to blame? NO it was our fault, because we signed the STUPID, RIDICULOUS interest-only loan because we didn’t know any better. Plain and simple. I am not saying someone shouldn’t be warned of people trying to take advantage of them, I am saying that we need to hold ourselves responsible for what we decide to do, NOT blame others. If I thought people shouldn’t be warned I would have never started this website. I have learned that whenever talking about personal responsibility people always throw out a “yeah but…” The only “yeah but…” to consider when talking about personal accountability should be, “yeah but” you signed the dotted line, not the guy taking advantage of you. I understand where you are coming from, but still think that when it comes to personal responsibility, it really is that black and white. The problem is that people keep telling themselves that it is not, which is why there is such a financial crisis in this country. It’s a good thing I started this website!

  7. James Hahn says:

    There is no one to blame per se. Life is what YOU make of it. Yes, there are tools that we miss learning when we grow up, but nothing says that we can’t learn they later in life.

    As for only having a high school diploma, that’s all I have and yet I work as a corporate trainer for a large law firm and pull down a high five figure salary. Why, because I’m good at what I do, I like what I do, I learn quickly and often better by the seat of my pants than any other way.

    The other secret is having learned to recognize when opportunity is knocking, even when she isn’t wearing what I expect. Opportunities show up on our doorsteps all the time, but more often than not, they are ignored because they don’t come in the size, shape or time that we expect. Learn to let go of your expectations, which tend to act as blinders, and look at your world without them. You’ll be amazed at what you see.

    Never forget that when the world tells you No, you have the last word and that word is YES. Think of a couple of people in the news. Where would Barack Obama and Sonia Sotomayor be if they accepted what their world told them?

  8. Brad Chaffee says:

    Zig Ziglar is the man, in fact I need to be sure to read more from him! I like that saying very much!

    Yet another myth in our culture is that the way to be successful is to graduate HS, go to college while running up TONS of debt, get a job, and retire at 65. I could argue that one could not have a HS Diploma and still make his own way in this country and become wealthy, although I wouldn’t recommend it. I am sure many have done that too. It’s all about what you’re willing to do in order to be successful, and even a piece of paper from college can’t give you that. Education is a great thing, but it isn’t the end all be all anymore. Things have changed and the internet has a lot to do with that. Dan Miller is the man when it comes to this subject! 48 Days To The Work You Love, and No More Mondays are two great books!

    Why are people so willing to accept the limitations that others have told them exist? Their are no limits! You can do anything you want! Thanks Mike for your comments! 🙂

  9. Brad Chaffee says:

    @James – Couldn’t have said it better myself. We limit ourselves by what we believe and accept as truth even if it is not. That is an unfortunate thing NOT to recognize about your abilities and potential. No wonder so many rely on Government intervention.

    @Mike – That is a great point Mike! When someone else causes you to slip, are you gonna sit their and wait for them to pick you back up, or are you gonna do it yourself? Maybe they will help you back up, but maybe they have a different plan for you, so why not do it yourself?

    Great comments!

  10. tam says:

    Whoa..too much caffeine! I agree with you and I agree with Dawn. It’s a learning curve and once learned(there are snakes in the grass)get educated and don’t let it happen again. This has kind of taken on a Darwinian tone…those who don’t have the will,the smarts,the mental health will perish. Great thread! Lots of good info!

  11. Brad Chaffee says:

    Not intended to sound Darwinian at all, so I am sorry you feel that way. What is intended is to let people out there that think they do not have any control over their situation know that they do. Instead of placing blame they can act to resolve whatever problem they find themselves in by making different decisions.

    Why would I pretend poison ivy is a rose?

Leave a Comment...


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.