Asking the question: “How will this move me forward?”

Asking the question: “How will this move me forward?”

Have you ever been caught at a crossroads so perplexing you simply couldn’t decide which way to turn? Life is a tangle of pathways peppered with crossroads. And it’s our goals, ambition, determination, and focus that propel us along these pathways. However, there comes a time in everyone’s life when we find ourselves stranded at a crossroads for want of ambition, focus, and the grit that’s necessary to move forward. The question isn’t why we end up here, or what we need to pick ourselves up and move on. According to author Thomas Corley in his book “Rich Habits”, there is only one question you ever need to ask yourself and that’s:

How will this move me forward?

It’s the simplest of questions, yet in a moment of indecision, stagnancy or strong emotion, like anger, it can guide you forward in life and to a much better place. Think about it:

  • When you open your laptop to work, but click on Facebook instead, ask yourself – how will this move me forward?
  • When you’re standing in line at a clothing store with R1,000 worth of items you don’t really need, ask yourself – how will this move me forward?

Before you spend money on something frivolous, before you waste time procrastinating, before you engage an unhealthy habit, before you over-indulge, ask yourself: how will this move me forward?

Applying the question to personal finance

The answer to this question is all-too-often: not at all. This won’t move me forward. In fact, it’ll set me back. That answer is very difficult to ignore. In terms of personal finance, this simple question can be used as a powerful motivator to keep you focused on your goals. In a moment of weakness, it can prevent you from spending money on wants, rather than saving it for future needs. It can be the reminder that the way you’re spending your time isn’t productive and that there are things you could be doing to further your career, your education, and yourself.

Instead of binge-watching the latest series on Netflix, why not buy and read a book on managing your money and learn something? Or how about planting a herb garden or listening to an educational podcast?

Rich habits versus poor habits

Some incredible statistics from Thomas Corley’s book “Rich Habits” attest to the fact that people who become wealthy do so because they ask themselves that fundamental question and, as a result, are far less prone to impulse behaviours.

69% of poor people will openly speak their minds, while only 6% of wealthy do the same.

According to Thomas, wealthy people are also far more disciplined and focused (88% of the wealthy read 30 or more minutes each day to educate themselves or advance their careers, while only 2% of the poor will. Only 6% of wealthy people watch reality TV, while 78% of poor people do).

Waking up early, putting in the hours, staying fit, eating healthily, setting up personal finance goals, and being disciplined are all habits of people who become wealthy, not only financially, but also in terms of quality of life.

So, whatever it was you had planned after reading this article, ask yourself: how will it move me forward?