Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Lessons from Chip Kelly
In a way, the result shouldn't have been surprising at all: Oregon & other college football teams have been doing this sort of wide open, up-tempo stuff for a while. But the NFL is a bastion of conformity: it's odd when we see someone doing things differently & still succeeding. There is a right way to coach and to play and those who think otherwise will learn that lesson sooner or later. Or so the story goes.
It remains to be seen if Chip Kelly's up tempo spread offense is a flash in the pan or not. But I found myself nodding my head during the game and taking away some life lessons from his approach.
Run, Don't Walk
Too often people approach success like it's waiting for them in their mailbox: they can saunter out there any old time they want and just snatch it up. But success isn't stationary. You need to run & hustle if you want to catch it. That might mean moving quickly on a property that you know is underpriced, as Mr. Money Mustache suggests. It might mean generating side hustles like Alexa, who not only finds freelance writing jobs for herself but is cool enough to post others for her readers to pursue. If you're just starting to save, don't follow the advice of those around you who are telling you to make a mere $20 payment to principle, save 10% and enjoy the rest: run, don't walk, to your savings goal.
Whatever the avenue, you're usually better off moving quickly & decisively, rather than waiting for the right opportunity to come along.
If You're Not the Best, Be Different
Michael Vick is not as good a quarterback as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Desean Jackson is barely considered a #1 wide receiver, and the rest of the receiving corps would not start on most teams. The Eagles certainly don't have a top offensive line. But by tailoring an offense that hasn't been seen before and fitting the strategy to some of the things his personnel does well, Chip Kelly got great results from a merely above average team because his approach was novel.
In personal finance, don't be swayed to follow the advice of Money Magazine, or even to follow in the footsteps of your favorite bloggers. Want to leverage your mortgage to invest more? Go for it. Want to take a job for lesser pay, or even take a haitus from work like Kraig from Young Cheap Living, to find more happiness now? Do it. You don't have to be the next Mr. Money Mustache or Financial Samurai: be the next & better version of you.
Outwork Those Around You
The Eagles' uptempo approach worked because their opponent wasn't conditioned to run as fast or for as long as Chip Kelly's team was. It wasn't just that the Eagles were coming up with creative plays: they were testing the Redskins' conditioning by keeping a tempo that Washington wasn't used to, and wearing them down. Against a tired opponent, just about anything works.
Not that personal finance is a competition. It isn't. But, like in an athletic competition, victory often goes to she who perseveres, not just the most talented. There are benefits from pushing through frugality fatigue & fighting the temptation to break the budget for another dinner out. It's hard to learn to cook great meals at home night in and night out; but that $100 saved each month from avoiding restaurants amounts to a small fortune over time. We are creatures of habit and those who can establish long standing, conditioned habits of frugality reap larger rewards.
Ignore Those Who Say It Can't Be Done
People are generally skeptical of a new approach, and NFL pundits were no different when it came to Chip Kelly. Here comes another college coach who didn't understand how things work in the NFL, and he'd suffer the same fate as Steve Spurrier did when he brought his gimmick offense to Washington. Now those same pundits are wondering whether the NFL will be forever changed by this uptempo approach.
You'll likely hear naysayers give their pessimistic advice if you share your plans to pay off your home early, or to live debt free, or to reach financial independence from your investments. They'll warn that expenses will grow, your investments will under-perform, and your money will run out. You're an outlier and will suffer the criticisms of those who demand things be done in the proper way. Ignore them. Listen to the voice inside, block out the rest, and like Brave New Life says, follow your arrow.
*Photo is from Matthew Straubmuller at Flickr Creative Commons.