Written by Peter Horsfield

We’re going to live a free life, a happy peaceful life. This means more to us than anything in the world.

This is a story about freedom and every day doing the little but important things.

About Paul Kelly's inspiring and moving song about Vincent Lingiari Paul Kelly- From Little Things Big things Grow

And Albert Einstein's famous quote is “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.”

Everyone one wants freedom, choices, security, lifestyle, health, peace and more, however have you ever asked yourself what this truly means to you?

For me the important lesson “attaining freedom” was one of patience. This lesson came to the fore when I was twenty five years old. Discovering it would not only help me achieve my financial goals, it was to be a surreal feeling of frustration and liberation at the same time.

In my younger years I was a swimmer. My hunger to be the best swimmer drove me to practice. I practiced six days a week and for many years twice a day. At the beginning I wasn’t the best swimmer however I became the best as my competitors dropped away and I kept practicing.

At twenty five, I was close to broke with no career and the height of my swimming was seven years in the past. This gave me pause as I innately I understood that again accepting patience and doing the work was the single most important path to not only my swimming success but anything I chose to put my efforts towards. Accepting these two ingredients i.e. patience & work, ensured that I could weather most mundane, unsexy, unexciting, and sometimes difficult daily and weekly disciplines over time.

My new goal at twenty five was one of financial freedom. To me this was $50,000 passive income per year. I projected this would require $1,000,000 in investable assets paying me 5% income per year. Based on a savings plan of $200 per week (what I could afford) and reinvesting my returns of 7%pa. Financial Freedom to me was going to take 30 years (Source Money SMART Compound Calculator). Note returns assume all dividends are reinvested, no allowance was made for taxation. Returns are not guaranteed and as such investment values may not be achieved and the value of my investment could fall.

The two big take outs from this goal. Firstly it required a commitment of the $200 per week (not saving this would dramatically delaying achieving Financial Freedom.

Secondly it was going to take time, even a life time of commitment however with time I would be accelerating towards my goal. i.e. After ten years my savings would only have grown to $144,000 approximately, after twenty two years it would have grown to $500,000 approximately but taken only another eight years to reach my goal of $1,000,000. The last eight years my investments would grow more than the first twenty two years!

For me reaching this goal was achieved by the daily effort and my weekly savings commitment, not by some magic success formula, new miracle product. It also ensured that I maintained balance across my life so that I didn’t burn out.

Every big success is made up of little successes, each building on the previous and compounding over time.

Formula for Life

“Our Choices (decisions) + Behaviour (action) + Habit (repeated action) + Compound Effect (Time) = Goals.” 


Most people float through life making decisions on the fly, with little if any thought, only to find themselves wondering why they aren’t happy, healthy, or as successful.

To improve life; make better choices. This is simple but not easy. Making good decisions by fully considering the pros and cons and they alignment to your core values.

One of my all-time favourite quotes by Jim Rohn is Success comes from making a series of good decisions over time while failure comes from making a series of poor decisions over time.”


We spiral upward or downwards it’s a simple matter of our behaviour.

If we say we are a dedicated professionals, but we show up late and unprepared, our behaviour rats us out every time. The compound effect takes us in a downward spiral.

Showing up early, being prepared on a consistent basis is an indicator to others of reliability, which can open doors of opportunity and a spiral us upwards.


Our habit’s move us toward or away from our goals

Regular routines and rituals action become our habits over time. Their effect compounding over time influencing our outcomes. If our habits are good they take us down one path.  If they are bad or destructive, they take us down a completely different path.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Character is everything”. Ralph Emerson

The Compound Effect

The question I ask myself constantly is “Is the immediate gratification of now greater than the long term pain of not achieving what’s truly important to me?”

Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions that in themselves make no visible difference whatsoever, but the accumulated compounding effect is profound.

The Path Upward (From Little Things)

Know where you are, know where you want to get to and have a plan to get there. For me this required me to do the following

  1. Reflect and write down “What’s important to you?”
  2. Write down my goals, evidence I needed that I have achieved my goal, a time frame to achieve my goal within and how I would feel when I achieved my goal. SMARTadvice
  3. Benchmark where you are today in relation to your goals.
  4. Create a list of actions you are going to do to begin bridging the gap between where I am are and where I have to be.
  5. Find someone who will hold me accountable to doing the work,
  6. Do the work!

To achieve something you have never achieved before, you must be willing to do what you have never done before.

This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances.

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