A little-known fact about me is I’m a HUGE sports fan. Unfortunately, with all of the changes that have happened over the past few years (having my daughters, starting a business, canceling cable, etc.), I haven’t had much time to stay up-to-date with one of my favorite sports — basketball.

Clearly I’ve missed a lot! Apparently, now the best player on the planet is Steph Curry — the undersized point guard with (arguably) the best shooting touch in NBA history and the facial hair of my 8th-grade chemistry lab partner. *I wonder what she’s up to these days*

And the former best player on the planet, LeBron James, has a full hairline again! I know I’m late to the party, but where did that come from?

The last time I remember seeing him, his hairline looked like this.

LeBron

Now this?

new-lebron-james-hair-now

What type of sorcery??

I guess I shouldn’t be completely shocked considering he’s worth hundreds of millions and could buy any type of hair piece, transplant, etc. that his heart desired.

But why would he wait so long and endure the years of ridicule when a solution was obviously available?

Who knows, but I’m certainly glad he did! Why, you ask?

Because the extra time has allowed me to come away with a few lessons from LeBron’s hairline recession (and resurrection) that can be applied to your financial progression. See what I did there? Very Dr. Seuss-esque, eh? Or Jesse Jackson…you be the judge.

Anyhow, here they are:

 

Sometimes, You Have to Lose to Gain

There’s a common saying that in life, you must lose something in order to gain something else. And I guess there is some truth to the statement.

In LeBron’s case, he’s been popular since he was a senior high school, but his real success (championships, MVP awards, etc.) seems to have coincided with the decline of his follicular fortitude.

Put in a different way, as he lost his hair, he gained more accolades and even larger endorsement deals.

The same goes for us and our financial journey. In order to experience a level of success or freedom with our finances, it’s imperative that we let go of some things that are holding us back.

Of course, this means different things for different people, but a few that I’ve personally experienced are:

  • Eating out too often
  • Taking on too much debt
  • Not paying enough attention to where my money was going
  • Buying stuff that I didn’t need

So what did I do? I started buying groceries and eating at home. I cut up my credit cards. I started using cash for purchases. And I stopped watching commercials. As strange as that last one sounds, I really think it helped curb my overspending habit.

The truth is, none of it was really that hard. It just required putting action behind my words. Do you really want to be completely debt-free within ‘X’ years? Great! Well, what’s standing in your way? Credit cards? Overspending? Lifestyle inflation?

Whatever ‘it’ is, you have to be willing to lose it to gain what you say you really want. And while that runs counter to what society encourages, you should take heed to the words of Dave Ramsey and “live like no one else now, so one day you can live like no one else.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Against the Grain

One of the greatest investors of our time and coincidently one of LeBron James’ mentors, Warren Buffett, has a famous quote that reads: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

Simply put, don’t be afraid to go against what popular culture deems…well, popular.

And while Buffett’s quote is referring to the ups and downs of the stock market and how the best opportunities are usually found when doing the exact opposite of everyone else, there are a few gems that you can take away from this point; even if you aren’t investing in the market.

Our society has sold us an idea of what success looks like and even though we can’t afford it, we’re buying it. Included in the package is what brands to wear, what cars to drive, what neighborhoods to live in and the list just goes on and on.

But here’s the thing, most of the people that subscribe to this narrative are broke and will likely remain that way for the rest of their lives. Why? Because they’re caught up in the cycle of consumption and don’t know how or are too afraid to go against the grain.

The only way to avoid getting swept up by the current of “normal” is to run (not casually walk, but run) the other way.

This means that if everyone is buying new homes, don’t buy. If everyone is upgrading their cars, stick with what you have. Or to make it simple, look at everything the masses are doing and just do the opposite.

Be Aggressive About Growth

 

Lebron curl

Maybe not quite this aggressive, but you get the point, right?

Growth is important, and I’m not just talking about the growth of your hair or account balances. I’m talking more about your personal growth — which in many cases, will lead to growth in your account balances — hair, not so much.

If you’re frustrated with the current state of your finances, it’s possible that you’re not growing and you’ve become complacent. But instead of wallowing in your sorrow, see this as an opportunity to change, and the catalyst to get started.

In order to do that, the way you THINK must grow. Your GOALS must grow. Your CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE must grow. Take personal inventory of every aspect of your life where you feel that you’re falling short and create a plan to grow in that area.

So, what does that look like? I’m glad you asked!

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Move out of your comfort zone. As humans, we’re wired to seek comfort. As a result, we center much of our lives around doing what’s familiar because it’s what comes natural. The problem is, the more we cling to familiarity, the less we allow for an opportunity to experience real growth in our personal, professional, or financial lives.
  • READ as much as you can, as often as you can. Being frugal, I would start with blogs and online resources (like this website, for one) and if you need more, check out the free books and resources at your local library
  • Find an expert. If personal finance is your thing, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Patrice Washington, even some guy named Kelby Green (although ‘expert’ is a bit of a stretch for him) are all good options to get you started

So there you have it, a few tips that you can use to overcome what looks like an insurmountable challenge in your life — just like LeBron’s hairline.

Have you ever experienced a setback that you later realized was a set-up for future success? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!