For the most part, the grass is the color you make it.
I have a friend, and for the purposes of this article, we will call him Steve. Steve has “grass is greener” syndrome worse than anyone else I know. I’ve told him this, and he tends to chuckle, but I seriously mean it.
Anytime Steve talks, it is usually to complain about something such as:
- If I had an earlier work schedule, I’d like work more.
- If I worked somewhere else, I’d be happier.
- If I made more money I’d be happier.
His speech is heavily peppered with “grass is greener” speech, and I often point it out to him.
Why Is My Grass Brown?
If you find yourself making lots of statements like these, the next question I want you to ask yourself is “why is your grass brown?” Stop idolizing how green other peoples’ grass is, and figure out why yours is brown. It is improbable that life handed everyone except you green grass.
Let’s consider real grass for a moment. In the past, I’ve seen a yard full of brown grass, but every surrounding lawn had green grass. I’ve also had this problem myself.
What could have caused such an anomaly? Was it the quality of the soil? Was it the quality of the grass? Was it the quantity of water? “The Grass is Greener Syndrome” would tell you that it is because everyone else is lucky, and you bought the wrong house, but real world experience indicates that it is probably because of a lack of attention.
When watching the neighbors, what were they doing differently?
- They hired lawn care maintenance companies, or did it themselves.
- They watered the grass.
- They weeded the yard.
- They used fertilizers when necessary.
Essentially, they were doing everything I wasn’t: taking care of the grass! My grass wasn’t brown because I was unlucky, my grass was brown because I set it on auto-pilot and hoped for the best.
Can Your Grass Be Green?
Think of the areas in your life that you wish were different. Think of the “brown grass” areas of your life and write them down. Whether it be marriage, finances, work, or stress, write them down.
Once written down, write a list of things that you’re doing to improve the situation. If your unhappy in your finances, are you trying to cut down spending, are you saving more, are you tracking your expenses? These are all things that will help bring the green back to your grass.
What about your marriage? Obviously, if your marriage is of special circumstance such as abuse, seek professional counseling, but if it is just everyday bickering, and frustration, then what are some things that you can do to improve that? Obviously, you can only fix what the other person is willing to allow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try your hardest. How about a date night? How about compliments, and quality time?
Today, we so easily go the route of ripping up the lawn and installing a new one, but it’s expensive, and it’s just a matter of time before the grass turns brown again. If habits don’t change, then neither will the results.
How Does This Apply To Finances?
I love analogies, but sometimes they can be confusing, so how does this apply to finances? Think of the areas in your financial world that you wish would be better, and think of what you’re doing to improve them.
Are you always thinking about starting a business? What are you doing to attain the goal of owning your business? Do you always wish you weren’t living paycheck to paycheck? What are you doing to build a savings, cut your spending, and potentially earn more money?
It is easy to sit around wondering why you got dealt the bad hand, or to daydream about a handful of aces, but none of those things will improve your situation. Your job is to look at the hand you have, and figure out how to play it the best you can.
Don’t be tempted to take the easy way out, all it does is prolong the problem, make you envious, and prevent you from improving your situation. The grass can be greener, but you need to put in the proper effort to help ensure your success.