A few years ago, I studied kickboxing and I'm now back in a Dojo to improve my financial performance. Specifically, Dojo Wisdom for Writers by Jennifer Lawler is a great tool for personal finance. The book uses martial arts concepts to illustrate 100 quick lessons about the writing craft, but many of the tips also apply to personal finance.
Here are a few of my favorite lessons:
Lesson # 1 Get a Teacher
Martial arts application: Martial artists rely heavily on black belt instructors for wisdom, techniques and guidance.
Writing application: "Every writer needs a teacher," Lawless writes. She recommends taking a writing class or finding a mentor for guidance. Books, tapes and industry gatherings also provide insights.
Financial application: Learning about money and personal finance is an ongoing process. I learn from courses, other bloggers, Wall Street professionals and assorted publications.
Lesson # 3 Guard the Centerline
Martial arts application: Martial artists make themselves less vulnerable to assault by "protecting their centerline." The centerline includes sensitive areas such as the abdomen, throat, face and chest. The technique: use your arms and legs to protect the centerline.
Writing application: If writing is important to me, I have to protect my centerline by allocating time for writing, research and planning. Guarding the centerline also involves protecting my self-esteem and avoiding negativity.
Financial application: Preserve the bottom line and protect your financial goals. For example, if my goal is to put more money in an emergency fund, I should avoid wasting money on junk food and clothes that I don't need. Protecting the centerline also involves creating priorities and sticking to a budget.
Lesson # 5 Try Meditation
Martial Arts application: "Martial artists meditate for many reasons. They meditate to empty their minds and to achieve aiki or impassive mind, which helps them respond to threats and challenges." --p. 10
Writing application: Meditation clears the mind for writing and improves focus. Visualization exercises also create useful images of successful writing projects.
Financial application: Mindful living -- which includes meditation -- prompts me to make smarter choices. Specifically, I'm learning to slow down and think carefully before spending money. It's important to be very mindful of the choices and financial goals.
Lesson #7 "Respect your opponent."
Martial Arts application: A savvy martial artist has a healthy level of respect for opposing fighters and avoids make quick judgments founded on deceptive appearances or other assumptions.
Writing application: The writing industry is filled with assorted challenges. Take time to fully appreciate difficult assignments, time management skills and rejections.
Financial application: I try to understand how marketers, credit card companies and stores create pitches to trap consumers into spending more money. Additionally, I try to understand and respect my financial weaknesses. For example, if I have trouble passing up end-of-season sales, I save money by not going to the mall when the sales are in full force.
Lesson # 13 "Discipline leads to strength"
Martial Arts application: The discipline of constant training produces the dividend of stronger muscles, greater flexibility and improved technique for martial artists.
Writing application: The daily practise of writing and rewriting improves creative techniques.
Financial application: Fiscal discipline, budgets and spending limits will strengthen my financial muscles. The more I save, the more comfortable I will become with the process. Discipline builds momentum.