Have you ever felt like you were a little lopsided when it comes to finance? Do you spend way too much time and energy focused or worried about money or your job? I’ve struggled with this myself and at times I still do – no balance. One great example of a person out of balance (albeit not around obtaining money) is Elmer J Fudd – famous cartoon character. He can teach us all about the dangers of this myopic thought – and how to escape that prison.
Elmer J Fudd was one of Bugs Bunny’s arch rivals. Mr. Fudd was a very wealthy man who had a slight speech impediment. He is best known for uttering the words, “Be wewy wewy quiet. I’m hunting wabbits!” Elmer spent all his time and money hunting “wabbits.” That’s all he did.
Fictional Mr. Fudd is a colorful illustration of how narrow our lives can become. The cartoons paint a picture of a man obsessed with this one pursuit to the exclusion of everything else. It’s an extreme case but I think Elmer illustrates the dangers of this mindset – and a way out.
How this applies to you.
Finances are important – if I didn’t understand that, I wouldn’t write this blog. But finances are there to help us have a full life – not take it over. Fudd started out hunting for fun but it quickly became an obsession; and end unto itself. If you watch those cartoons you’ll see that he wasn’t having very much fun at all once he forgot about his overall goal.
My experience tells me that it’s very easy to lose sight of our big picture “mission” just like Elmer did. In fact, if we don’t work hard at keeping the “eye on the prize”, it’s almost inevitable to fall into this narrow minded thinking. And once we do, we are robbed of the full life we deserve.
Are you chasing your own “wabbit”?
Before seeking out a solution, you have to be clear on what the problem is. And it’s really hard to self-assess when it comes to knowing if you are balanced or not. Had you asked Elmer if he thought he was a little obsessed about Bugs he would say you were the “cwazy” one – not him.
There are many ways to get right-sized when it comes to money but the quickest and cheapest way is to write up a quick “big picture” for yourself. This isn’t a financial plan – it’s what you do before creating your plan.
Right down on a piece of paper what’s most important about money to you. It could be security, taking care of family, travel or whatever it is for you. Just take 5 or 10 minutes to write it all down. Next, write down how you spend your time and determine if your behavior matches your mission.
For example, if taking care of my family is most important to me that’s great. But if I make risky investments that fail to pan out time after time, my behavior isn’t consistent with my goal. Or if I spend money going to Vegas rather than buying adequate life insurance, I’ve failed in my mission to care for my family. Right?
Take a few minutes to go through this exercise and then share what you have with a trusted friend or mentor. This will help you find your balance friend. And it’s worth it.
Financial decisions, like any important decision, have to be made in an adult, awake state. If I become obsessed with money or work, I become just like Mr. Fudd and my life will become very narrow (wewy wewy nawwow). In fact, it will be just like a cartoon. Only it won’t be funny.
Have you been chasing rabbits or have you been able to maintain a balanced approach to your life and finances?