Pretend You Have Arrived So You Can Become

Before every tennis match, I watch a short video on Youtube of a favorite tennis pro to get inspired.  All that goes through my mind are beautiful strokes and luscious sounding *thwacks* each time the ball leaves my strings.  I prepare my tennis bag with the right equipment: grip, Advil, Gatorade, a change of clothes, flip flops, hat, and sunglasses.  My outfit matches, down to my shoes and I say a little prayer.  Essentially, I go through a routine that any pro would go through, pretending to be one myself,  in order to get ready for battle.

Pretending you have arrived, so you can become is a way for us to get in the right frame of mind so we can tackle many of your challenges with full vigor.  If you are not mentally tough on the court, you will defeat yourself before even giving your opponent a chance to defeat you!  In essence, you are your own worst enemy if not properly trained.

Some may think that if you are a pretender, you have a risk of becoming delusional.  There’s no doubt we often over estimate our own abilities, however, I encourage all of us to increase the belief in ourselves.  If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.


Anybody who has a blog knows that it’s a lot of work.  There’s a  statistic that says most bloggers don’t make it after six months.  I don’t know exactly what “not making it” means, but suffice it to say many quit due to burn out.

Every time I sit down to write an article, I pretend like I blog for a living.  It doesn’t matter I work ~50 hours a week at my day job. What matters is that in order to successfully compete, I must realize there are those who are able to spend 50 hours a week just on their sites!  As a result, I’m constantly in search for new marketing ideas and thinking of ways to write better content.

I often envy journalists and columnists of large publications.  They are in a field they probably aspired to be in since college, and they have editors to make their writing perfect!  As a blogger, I am the editor, writer, content director, marketer, and tech help.  I don’t have a multi-million dollar marketing campaign behind me, and it takes a long time to get noticed.  Oh well!  I’m just going to have to try that much harder.

Because I’m motivated to compete with professionals, I don’t mind the the challenge.  Besides, creating this site is simply one of the funnest things ever!  If Financial Samurai can rank higher, or be recognized by some mainstream publication like it did on The LA Times a couple weeks ago over a professional blogger, that makes the time spent all the sweeter.

The beauty of the Internet is that anybody can start a website and compete against anybody in any field.  Every single big site started small, so keep the faith you will one day get there.


Basketball is actually my first true love.  There’s no more beautiful a sport than basketball, where you actually have to use your entire body to play.  The problem is that injuries rack up in a hurry, and if I want to be able to walk when I’m 50, I better tone it down.  I’ve got the sleeveless jersey, loose fitting shorts, and Jordan retros as a point forward.  In my mind, all I think about is “making it rain” from beyond the three point line.

Basketball culture is very strong.  If you don’t look the part, you won’t be taken seriously in my local gym.  People from all over the city come to compete, and you will get hooted and hollered all night long if you look out of place.  Ballers travel in packs, and it’s showboat central sometimes.  Showboating is showing off to the crowd, while trying to make your opponents look bad in the process.  We never showboat, because we aren’t idiots.

We play fundamental basketball, always moving, swinging, setting picks, and taking high percentage shots.  And guess what?  We are 80% winners.  When we don’t win it’s because our opponents simply outsize with 6′  6″ point guards who can take one jab step, fake me out, and end at the rim with a dunk.  Remember, this is my local gym, not the NBA!  Our tallest guy is 6′ 4″ and plays center.

By getting into the mindset that you are an NBA player, you start believing your shots will go in upon release.  Without the proper mindset, you’re going to brick it every single time.  When the last buzzer sounds, if you’re the winner, you’ll get respect no matter what you look like.  It’s all about respect in the end, but not so much in the beginning.


My 10 year old acoustic guitar has given me more pleasure than I could have ever imagined.  With a beautiful cherry wood top, and a lemon oil smell emanating from the fret board, just touching the guitar brings an instant smile.  Unfortunately, I’m quite mediocre at musical instruments.  I’ve tried them all, including the violin, trumpet, saxophone, and drums and I’m not very good at any of them.

Despite my lack of musical talents, I still try to play the guitar until my finger tips turn purple from one too many slides.  I lock myself in the back room of my house pretending to be Jack Johnson playing his latest songs.  Whoever I pretend to be, I realize they are gifted because of practice.  And so, I practice and practice and sing as if no one is listening.

The guitar has been my outlet when my body is too sore from tennis and basketball.  After a 2 hour long singles match, my feet blister and my knees ache.  It takes me at least three days to fully heal now from just one or two before.  It actually pains me more to have to rest and not play, but that’s where my guitar comes in.  When the time comes when my fingers are just too raw to continue, I’m ready to play sports again.


A positive attitude is tantamount towards progress.  When we were kids, we wore costumes and turned into our favorite superheroes and fairy tale characters.  Sometime during adulthood, we forget what it’s like to pretend.  That joyful feeling of being someone else eludes us as we grow up.  How sad.

If you’re going to do something, you might as well aspire to do your best.  Pretend you have arrived, so you can one day become.  I guarantee that if you do, you’ll have a grand old time in the process!

Starting A Website That Makes Money

It’s been around six years since I started Financial Samurai and I’m actually earning a good passive income stream online. The top 1% of all posts on Financial Samurai generates 31% of all traffic. The average age of the top 1% posts is 2.3 years old. In other words, after putting in the hours to write some very meaty content over two years ago, 10 posts consistently generate a monthly recurring income stream that’s completely passive.

I never thought I’d be able to quit my job in 2012 just three years after starting Financial Samurai. But by starting one financial crisis day in 2009, Financial Samurai actually makes more than my entire passive income total that took 15 years to build. If you enjoy writing, connecting with people online, and enjoying more freedom, see how you can set up a WordPress blog in 15 minutes with BluehostIt’s cheap and easy to start!


Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS or E-mail feed.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter


  1. says

    Sam; I love this post and share some hobbies (besides blogging). I’m learning to play the guitar. It’s a process, but it is fun to try something different and learn a song.

    I’d also like to learn a little bit more about video editing and some web design skills. I’d like to be able to handle some things on my own with Couple Money.

    When you become a big time problogger, please remember me :)
    .-= Elle´s last blog ..What We Spend Money On: Video Games =-.

    • says

      Hi Elle! It certainly seems like we have a few things in common! You are being too modest in your comment b/c how many people can say they built a nice big blog like you did with the other one (still not sure if I should mention the name), and sell it and start a new one!

      Not many! Hence, you are someone I aspire to follow on the blogging front.

      I will never forget the ones who’ve joined the journey since early on!

      Best, Sam

  2. says

    I hate to say it, but so many of my hobbies went away when I had kids.

    If I were to have serious hobbies, they would be:

    1. Tennis, although my body is falling apart. I look the pro with my giant Don Joy knee brace and the heat wrap on my lower back.
    2. Reading in the sun with a glass of lemonade. I can do that like a pro with limited training
    3. Gardening. However, I live in Michigan, so I can garden about 5 months of the year

    I do have time to do all 3 on a limited basis, just not as much as I would like. Great article.
    .-= Kris´s last blog ..Making the Most of Being Unemployed or Under Employed – Working Toward Figuring Out What You REALLY Want to Do =-.

  3. Powell says

    Hey Sam,

    Halloween is definitely one of my favorite holidays, and I participate fully!

    It’s important to visualize success. I feel like a million bucks when I wear a nice suit for an important meeting. Confidence goes up for usre.

  4. says

    Tennis was my favorite hobbie when I was younger, but now mostly it’s play with the kids ;) I believe you only have one chance to make that bond, so I’m taking advantage of it.

    Believing is a powerful success maker! I’ve used tricks to get what I’ve accomplished in the past, especially when I thought the task was too hard or tedious…

    It’s good to hear that you use similar mind tricks to accomplish goals. Believing in yourself is half the battle.
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..BP Oil Spill, Selling On Bad News =-.

  5. says

    Being a pretender can also force you to rise above your own abilities.

    Do you notice a difference when you play tennis with just your opponent versus when you have spectators?

    You’ve put on the show, and now you need to rise to the occasion. Are you going to revise your estimate to meet your abilities, or push your abilities to meet your estimate?
    .-= FinEngr´s last blog ..Does This iPhone Come With or Without Cancer? =-.

  6. says

    what are your favorite hobbies you could do all day long?

    –> Writing, helping people via my website, playing basketball

    Any strategies you employ to motivate yourself to do better?

    –> I play pump it up techo music, listen to inspiring videos/movie scenes, and envision myself leading a charge into battle
    .-= Jeremy Johnson´s last blog ..Unclogging Your Mind (Phase 1) =-.

  7. Nunzio Bruno says

    I loved this post too!! I try to have this mindset just like everyone else but it gets tough sometimes. My biggest trial at the moment is finding that attitude with the my site that I launched last month. It’s weird when you’ve been consulting for years you have no problem building confidence in yourself, your abilities, your product, and even in complete strangers but looking at those avg/daily hits gets my nerves going every time. That’s why I love checking in here and over at the Wealth Pilgrim…by putting myself in good company I hope to work my way up to be a peer :)
    .-= Nunzio Bruno´s last blog ..First Guest Poster and Therbligs! =-.

    • says

      Sounds good mate! The funny thing is, I very very seldom check the stats for my site. It’s more a once every two weeks or month routine frankly. I only check when there seems to be a surge in traffic, and I’d like to find out where it’s coming from to give that site some credit, thanks, or whatnot.

      Neal at WP is a good guy! Glad to have you aboard The Yakezie if you wish to join! I think you will get inspired and have a ton of fun!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..How To Dramatically Increase Your Job Security For Life! =-.

  8. says

    Nice reminder for the benefits of acting “as if” – act as if you are/have done it/ etc., and somehow that might actually help it happen. Along the same lines as “if you can conceive you can achieve,” because that’s just the first step. Imagine it, act it, do it. Right?:) Congrats on the LA Times mention.
    .-= MoneyEnergy´s last blog ..Is Greece the End of Fiat Currency? =-.

  9. says

    I don’t think there is anything I could do all day. I love running, playing guitar, reading, working out, but everything in moderation I guess. Too bad there isn’t a job that allows me to do all of those things. :-)

    Self-confidence goes a long way. It is pretty easy to get discouraged when starting something with a steep learning curve. We just have to remember that the reason people are better then we are is that they practiced more.
    .-= John Bardos -JetSetCitizen´s last blog ..Why I am so Successful (Hint: It is not because of my over-sized ego) =-.

  10. Charlie says

    It is pretty amazing how powerful our imaginations are when we’re kids. Time definitely teaches us we have to try harder and constantly set new goals to keep moving forward.

  11. says

    What a great approach to life! I think my two favorite hobbies at the moment are blogging, which I can’t devote hours to but really enjoy, and bike riding. I’m not a spandex wearing speeder, but I do pretend I’m European and am doing what many others do, ride to work or school and not drive. Riding clears my mind and gets me in shape!

    Imagination is the key to a productive and happy life!
    .-= Little House´s last blog ..Yakezie Carnival, Part 2 =-.

  12. says

    Hey Sam, You summed up my views on basketball perfectly! I’m 5’8 with several short friends and we are grossly underestimated on a regular basis…..and it usually comes back to bite our opponents. I throughly believe that moving the ball around until someone gets a high % shot is the way to go! and much more fun than showing off or watching someone shoot 3’s. I’ve been playing a couple times a week for 16 years now and know I’ve only got a year or two left before my body gives up….so I’m going to enjoy it while I can!

    Btw- I’ve got a live interview with Fox News in Philly tonight! (about car negotiation, not about my crazy hoops skills).
    .-= Car Negotiation Coach´s last blog ..Cash, Credit, or Finance – What will get you the best deal? =-.

  13. says

    Hey Sam, wait till you get old like me, I have had to give up more hobbies than most people have ever started.
    Golf-gone, marathons-gone, swimming-almost gone.

    But I maintain my fitness on my trusty 25 year old Nordic Trac, and 10 year old weight machine.

    Completely agree on focus, and visualization-my old golfing buddies didn’t understand why I “called my shots”-If you don’t know where you are aiming, neither will the ball!
    .-= Dr Dean´s last blog ..Nursing Survey/Contest!!! =-.

  14. says

    I couldn’t agree more that mindset is one of the keys to success.

    Reminds me of the old Henry Ford quote…“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”

    As a blogger, it can be intimidating to see larger blogs that have been around for years, have thousands of posts, and tens of thousands of followers. But you’re right, they all started out small. They struggled in the beginning too but they didn’t give up and that is the example I will follow.

    Good post Sam. :)
    .-= Mike @ Saving Money Today´s last blog ..Is Facebook Keeping You Poor? =-.

  15. Nick says

    Great post! it’s nice when you get personal, makes it easy to relate. I like the attitude — goes way beyond the lame “Dress for the job you want to have” or “The power of positive thinking” boilerplate schlock that’s on so many blogs. You are more competitive by nature than I am, but it makes me want to go conquer all of the fields I’m involved in :)

  16. says

    I used to play basketball. LOL. . .I remember when a 5’9″ woman was considered tall! No more.

    My hobbies have really changed over time, but one constant has been writing. As a child I used write books, stories etc. I’ve been through volunteer newspaper stages, internships posing as a Senator writing letters (that was fun!), I’ve worked on a novel (ahem, that I still need to finish) and now I’m engulfed in blogging.

    I think your point about journalists/professionals not having to focus on the business is an interesting one. . .although it’s becoming increasingly tough for writers in almost all industries these days. I for one am quite happy to be a scrappy little blogger who doesn’t count on the blog for income rather than a ‘professional’ who has to compete with all these scrappy little bloggers. . .

    Positive thinking: I go back and forth on this one. I really hate it when people seem to think that you can just ‘believe in yourself’ and make something happen. That’s not what you appear to be doing here, but so many people make that jump when positive thinking is in the mix. It’s really more the hard work that you’re willing to put in because you think, “Hey, this could work!” than the positive thinking itself. Positive thinking may be the initiation, but success usually comes after a very long haul.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Learn the local language, travel on the cheap =-.

    • says

      Good point about being a professional writer who has to compete against us scrappy little bloggers! Never thought about it that way, so thank you! The pros are expected to write great stuff and have an affect, we on the other hand, not so much.

      Consistency is definitely a preq to success in the long haul it seems for the most part. I’m not saying “believe in yourself” and all will come true. What I’m saying is actually to believe you have already become a success, to succeed!

      Just wait until our next challenge come end of July or August. I think we’re gonna rock!
      .-= admin´s last blog ..Don’t Have Children If You Can’t Take Care Of Yourself =-.

  17. says

    Late to comment here…. I am certain Muhammed Ali never changed his attidtude from his first fight to his last. He knew he could be the best so in his mind he was always the best.

    I don’t always think that way, but I try…. I have a good blog and I try and work it best I can.

    Great advice Sam.
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Haven’t Bought A Mother’s Day Gift Yet? Don’t Get One!! =-.

      • says

        Ha ha, Sadly that was not me! There is a blogspot called Frugal Zeitgeist too and it was her blog that won!

        I comment there quite often as I found her a few months after I started my blog.
        .-= Forest´s last blog ..Haven’t Bought A Mother’s Day Gift Yet? Don’t Get One!! =-.

  18. says

    Ha ha, my morals would take a hit if I did such a thing! Maybe people thought they were voting for me :)
    .-= Forest´s last blog ..Haven’t Bought A Mother’s Day Gift Yet? Don’t Get One!! =-.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *