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Week 9 – Reward


Hero Moments

Rose absorbs the Time Vortex and becomes the master of the Universe in the new Doctor Who series episode The Parting of the Ways . Logan becomes virtually indestructible by the adamantium grafted to his skeleton in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Bilbo Baggins finds an invisibility ring[1] in Gollum’s cave in The Hobbit.

The Reward is the gift the Hero receives after undergoing the Ordeal. It may be great wealth, a new power, or a mighty weapon. This is a time for celebration before the Hero returns to the Ordinary World. Appropriately, and given that you’ve come a long way, this is an easier week. It’s an opportunity for consolidation and reflection before the challenges of the final weeks of your Hero’s Journey.

Rewards

Rewards are can be internal or external. A new raise, a new relationship, and a completed marathon are examples of external rewards, while satisfaction, happiness, and increased confidence are internal. Most of the time, it’s the internal reward we’re looking for, so as we did in Week 1 with our goals, be sure that the external reward you seek actually provides you the internal reward you want. If not, ask yourself what will give you what you’re seeking.

Rewards also imply winning, which brings to mind getting exactly what you want. It can help to reframe winning by making it dependent on effort instead of rewards. In the previous week failure was acknowledged as the route to success and was shown to be proportional to effort. With this in mind, a few conclusions can be drawn. This is the only logical proof you’ll find in this program:

If you accept that:

Rewards = Success

and

Success α Effort (where α means “is proportional to”)

and

Effort α Number of Failures

Then:

Success α Number of Failures

and

Rewards α Number of Failures

This means success and rewards are proportional to your number of failures. In a way, this means that success is dependent on failure, and it’s a good way to think about rewards. We don’t always have control over whether we win or not, but we have control over our effort. By trying and failing lots, not only will we succeed more and get the external rewards we want, we’ll be receiving internal rewards like confidence and perseverance as by-products of the process. Effort and perseverance are common themes in this program because they are fundamental elements of the Hero’s Journey.

Wealth

James Bond never had any money problems. Doc Savage was one of the richest men on the planet. Bruce Wayne had the resources of a successful industrialist, Dr. Strange could create gold through transmutation, and The Pretender had access to millions of dollars. Although this program is focused on psychological wealth[2], enhancing your financial life will give you the resources and peace of mind to pursue your goals without anxiety. Also, your outer circumstances reflect your inner condition, so having your financial house in order will help keep your mind focused and your spirit calm. Here are some ideas:

Look After Yourself

  • Get organized. Make a financial plan. Figure out where you are: your assets, liabilities, and net worth. Write it down or put it in a spreadsheet. Then think about where you want to be. Tie your finances in with your goals. Figure out how much money your goals will cost and set up a budget. If you’re short, determine by how much. This way you can determine how to get where you want to be.
  • Automate. Pay your rent, bills, and investment funds automatically through Internet banking. This saves time and reduces errors.
  • Pay yourself first. Take a percentage of your income and put it in long term (retirement) and short term (goals) accounts. Putting 10% of your income into each account is a good practice. Do this automatically and periodically (weekly, monthly, etc.) to take advantage of dollar cost averaging, which will lower the total cost of shares of an investment.
  • Invest in a diversified portfolio. One could write a book on this topic (and many have) but in the end no one has the right answer. Invest according to your tolerance of risk but be sure to spread your money across equities (stocks), bonds, and cash, as well as in different countries and industries. Most banks have mutual fund groups that will handle all this for you. You can save some by micromanaging, but it’s more important to get it started and you’re more likely to do it if the process is simple.
  • Take full advantage of tax-deferred retirement plans. It’s the best free money you can find.
  • Start early. Compound interest has been called the most powerful force in the Universe[3]. Use the force.
  • Get rid of your credit card debt. It’s the silliest way to become poor. If you aren’t able to pay off your balance fully at the end of the month, cut up your cards and pay cash.
  • Buy used and buy quality. This may seem like a contradiction, but you’ll save lots of money if you buy a high-quality used item. The quality will make it last and keep you happy, and slightly-used items are much less expensive.
  • Do the math with expenses like mortgages and cars. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and you’ve set it up in your favour. For example, if you shorten your mortgage period you can save lots of money with a minimal monthly payment increase. Also, if you buy a quality used car (see above) you’ll save a bucket of money.
  • Think about creating other revenue streams beyond your job. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss has some great ideas.

Look After Dependents

  • If you’ve got kids or other dependents, make sure you’ve got a will and it’s up to date. This will save your family lots of problems if the worst happens. Protecting your loved ones is the way of the Hero.
  • Life insurance is also essential. Five to ten times your annual salary is a rule of thumb for coverage, and be sure to buy pure term insurance that is automatically renewable and convertible.
  • Start an education fund for your kids when they’re born. You can set up a small periodic automatic payment that will turn into a substantial amount by the time they’re ready for post-secondary schooling.
  • Teach your kids about money. Basic financial education is not taught in the current school system which is a grievous omission. Give them a head start.

The information provided here is just the beginning, but if applied conscientiously to your financial situation, it will make a big difference in your life. If you’d like more detail, The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is a good place to start.

Week 9 Exercises and Resources

  1. Continue your weekly meditations. Once a day this week, listen to Week 9 - Reward. Continue meditating for the rest of this course and beyond.
  2. Make a list of the rewards you seek, divide them into internal and external rewards, and determine whether they are what you actually want. Chasing an external reward to give you an internal one that is more easily obtained is a waste of energy.
  3. Upgrade your current financial situation. Set up an investment plan, automate your payments, and create a strategy to get rid of your debt. Make sure your dependents are protected with a will, an insurance policy, and an education fund.

Movies/TV

Doctor Who: Season One (New Series)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings

Books

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach


[1] Some rewards are better than others. That ring ended up being trouble. Lots of trouble. See The Lord of the Rings.

[2] Psychological Wealth – The intangible inner state of happiness, peace and satisfaction that results in a high quality of life, usually associated with having a purpose greater than yourself. You can think of Living the Hero’s Journey as a psychological wealth management tool.

[3] This has been attributed to Albert Einstein, but it’s undetermined if he actually said it.


Week 10

Contents


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