Just Enough Syndrome! The Number One Obstacle to Getting Rich

Several years ago I was invited by a friend to a very nice restaurant for an opportunity luncheon that he was organizing for a rather high-end Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) opportunity. I was busy, really had little interest in the opportunity myself, but I wanted to spend some time with my friend and help him out.

I ended up seated at a table with a nice group of businessmen/women. At our table there were two people in the insurance industry, a lawyer, a beauty industry executive, an accountant, a small business shop owner and a national sales rep, as I recall. There was a lot of polite conversation about what we all did for a living, and, as these things usually go, you end up spending a lot of time talking to one of the people on either side of you. Lunch was delicious and first-class, by the way.

There were the usual speeches and hype about why this opportunity was the best thing that has ever happened in the MLM industry and why everyone should jump on this once in a lifetime great opportunity immediately, and they were only going to accept a limited number of people into this particular round of the MLM recruitment. (That’s a marketing tactic called scarcity) One of the insurance executives was seated next to me, and he seemed very interested in getting my take on the MLM Industry in general and this particular opportunity specifically. The guy was somewhere in his mid-40’s, well-dressed, professional, spoke well, and I could tell was a pretty smart and successful guy. I will never forget what he said to me, it went something like this: “You know, I don’t need to make a lot of extra money, I would be happy with an extra 50 grand a year – just enough to help out with college tuitions of my two boys and maybe so my wife could quit her job.”

Just enough! Those words rang in my ears. I thought to myself as he was speaking, why do people aim so low in life? Why is just enough good enough? Why have as your top line goal $50,000 – why not $500,000? Does anyone really think that if you set your goal low, you will somehow achieve high? This has always been a mystery to me. This guy was the personification of what I have come to call the Just Enough Syndrome. He was obviously a smart and capable guy, he had achieved a certain amount of success in his line of work, but yet he still thinks in terms of “just enough” and just getting by, and thereby just meeting his obligations with nothing to spare. How about abundance and overwhelming prosperity? Isn’t that a better goal than “just enough?”

See, here’s the deal: You will never meet a high goal when you set a low goal. So what if his goal instead of being an extra $50,000 a year (just enough) was $500,000 a year? What if he only made it half way to his higher goal of $500,000? Wouldn’t $250,000 be much better than $50,000? Sometimes people just underestimate what they are capable of achieving. Sometimes people shy away from the challenge of a big, hairy goal thinking they will never achieve it, so why even try? In life somebody has to be in first place and somebody has to be in last place, and usually the difference is in who set the higher goal and was willing to pay the higher price to be in first place. Some people’s early socialization and well-meaning but misguided parents have them believing to the core of their souls that they are not worthy of great success and they should be happy with whatever life hands them. Others just have such low self-esteem that they think that last place is where they belong. Worse yet, some people have bought into the self-limiting belief system that having abundance and all that comes with it is actually evil and wrong.

Just think of what competitive sports would be like if athletes took that same attitude and said, I just want to finish in the middle of the pack, or I just want to win half of the games, or I just want to make the third string, or I just want to barely make the team. (Just Enough) We would think they were losers and didn’t deserve to compete. Is business and life so different?

Today we hear so much about the 1% and how evil they are for having so much, while the 99% could be the 1% if they were willing to pay the price and do what it takes to be in that small, elite group. John Kasich, the Governor of the State of Ohio and a Presidential Candidate until recently, while responding to a question about the 1% in the Republican Presidential debate, referred to what his mailman father told him about the 1% and the rich: “Johnny, we don’t resent the rich; we want to be the rich!” How about you? Are you willing to go for the gold in life, or are you going to settle for “just enough?”

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