Ask any self-made successful person, and she will tell you that one of the key components in success is hard work. Life is rarely presented to you on a silver platter–you have to create the opportunities yourself. Look at the top CEOs of successful companies; most wake up earlier than everyone else and work later than everyone else. Look at the work ethic of Jeff Bezos and all of the publicity that his company has received lately regarding Amazon’s tough nurturing of its employees. These successful people have the hunger.
It is the hunger that drives us to succeed. You too can invoke that hunger to achieve your goals.
Hunger Allowed You To Conquer College, Medical School, and Residency
As a medical doctor, you obviously have had the hunger and discipline to make it through adversity. You spent more hours in the library than the majority of your college peers. You spent your 20’s and early 30’s studying and specializing in your medical field. You practice medicine in a time with decreasing reimbursements and an increasingly litigious society. If you are still practicing medicine in this environment, there is still an amount of hunger within you. Whether it is the thrill of the science of medicine or the looming debt that you’ve accrued during your decade of education, there is a drive in you to keep you going.
Use That Hunger To Advance Your Life
If your definition of success involves advancing your life beyond what it is currently, you must outline some goals. Whether these goals are short or long term, the first step in achieving them is to map them out. Narrow the list to a few priority items and ask yourself how much you need to achieve them.
Do you want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months? Do you want to cut back on buying shoes? Do you want to save up enough to retire early or to buy a house? Are these goals desirable enough to drive your hunger to achieve them? What are you willing to give up in order to reach these goals? That is the most important question. You must ask yourself why these goals are important to you. Is there a special event that you need to go to that requires you to cut some inches off you waist? What are the consequences if you don’t lose those 10 pounds? Will cutting back on your weekly shoe purchasing allow you to retire a year earlier, which is your ultimate goal?
You must rationalize the need to achieve these goals. Only then will you be able to achieve them. Start small and think big. Make a ladder of goals that increase in difficulty to achieve. Keep sight of the end goal. Every minor victory counts, and track your progress.
Example: Achieving millionaire status by age 40.
Suppose you finish your cardiology fellowship at age 33 with a net worth of negative $200,000. You take your first job with a salary of $250,000 annually with potential bonus. After two years of working, you make reach an earning potential of $350,000 annually. You want to have at least a $1 million net worth by the time you reach age 40. You have 7 years to do it. Suppose that you earn $275,000 for the first two years and $350,000 annually every year after that. In 7 years you should have a pretax income of $2.3 million. If Uncle Sam takes 40% of that, you should have a take of about $1.38 million post-tax. Subtract off $200,000 in loans that you repay, and you will have $1.18 million to play with. Assuming absolutely no appreciation in your earnings, you cannot spend more than $180,000 in 7 years (or about $25k annually). Now Mr. Money Mustache is able to spend $25k a year to feed his family of 3 in a lavish lifestyle, but you, the hotshot cardiologist can’t. You have to pay for your work clothing, commute, and living expenses.
The first step in making this goal achievable is to realize that it can be done. The numbers are close enough to work out. The second step is realizing that putting all of your unspent earnings into the bank will not be adequate. At a measly interest rate of around 1% pretax, you will not hit your goal. The solution to guarantee that you reach millionaire status by age 40 is easy: cut your expenses and earn more money.
From this point, you can further narrow down your game plan. Find out what fuels your desire to reach this goal, and act on it.
What does your hunger drive you to accomplish?