Drop the Mooching Mindset!

The dictionary’s definitions of mooch are as follows:

1. To get or try to get something free of charge; sponge: lived by mooching off friends.

2. To wander about aimlessly.

By definition, we live in a society populated by moochers; multitudes from all walks of life who want a prize without paying a price. They want better health, relationships, personal growth, spirituality and business success free of charge, without having to break a sweat, handed to them on a silver platter and when they don’t get it they blame! They blame their parents, their spouse, their ethnicity, their boss, the unique area in which they live, their gender, genes, height, weight, accent, coaches, teachers, pastors, priests, therapists, kids, co-workers, schools, the economy, the competition, the weather, the era in which they live, and that’s just the first twenty-two scapegoats on their list!

In this brief space, I’ll offer two examples of mooching. But don’t get the idea that I’m writing this for someone else. No, this is for you! Look in the mirror and see if you’ve somehow slipped into the whiney, victim-driven misery known as mooching so that you can salvage your self-respect, personal momentum and leadership credibility by returning to the “old fashioned” idea of sowing and reaping and not expecting to withdraw what you haven’t deposited into the most important sectors of your life.

1. You complain that you’re underpaid, underappreciated and stuck in a rut.

In fact, you may regale bored-stiff friends and long-suffering family with tales of your abuse to the point that you are now renowned for brightening a room as soon as you leave it.
Yet, despite your sorry state, you refuse to commit to personal development. You don’t read serious books or take courses that would improve your capacity to produce. You spend hours on the Internet and in front of the television, and then whine that you don’t “have time” to work on yourself. Your intellectual capital has depreciated to the point that you are losing your relevance, yet you still listen to Howard Stern during your commute rather than an educational, instructional or inspirational resource. You infect others at work with the latest tabloid gossip and know who was voted off Dancing with the Stars, but your business ideas are fossilized and marginal because you’ve let yourself become fossilized and marginal. If your career or business is in a rut it’s because you are in a rut! Dab your “woe is me” tears with your list of excuses and then throw it away! As Jim Rohn said, “The business gets better when you get better and you get better when you go to work on yourself. Never wish it were easier, wish you were better!”

2. You tell anyone that listens how tough your business is right now, and normally rattle off at least ten of the twenty-two excuses I listed as the reasons why.

Despite your litany of loser’s limps, the fact remains that you continue to neglect one of your most important responsibilities: the skill, habit and attitude development of your people. You don’t train, coach or mentor with excellence or consistency and then blame the market because your numbers dwell with the Tidy Bowl man. Even if you do invest the money to train team members, you don’t hold them accountable for what they learn; you fail to transform your training from occasional to non-negotiable, and aren’t strong enough as a leader to find one to two hours per month to mentor your most appreciable asset: human capital! Some of you spend more money on donuts, coffee and popcorn each month that make your team fatter and less healthy than you do to improve their capacity to make something happen for your organization by upgrading their skills. And then you blame. Are you kidding me? If you don’t invest consistently in your people, you don’t deserve those people! In fact, you deserve to lose them! And if they do stay you don’t deserve results because you’re a moocher—you’re looking for the payoff without paying anything in up front!

I like the second definition of “mooch” as listed at the beginning of this article: to wander around aimlessly. Can you see how this is a natural consequence of the first definition: To get or try to get something free of charge; sponge. Do you perceive the connection? Here it is: When you try and fail to get something worthwhile without paying the price, you then wander aimlessly to the next thing. Rather than work hard and persist in your endeavor to improve, your “moocher” mindset prompts you to search for the next flavor-of-the-month or silver bullet to change your luck, and you’re willing to try just about anything as long as you don’t have to endure the pain of discipline, or suffer personal discomfort to elevate your state.

I don’t mean to be unkind, but some of you need to get a grip and grow up! Stop blaming external conditions for what ails you and realize that it’s been your past decisions that have held you back. Understand and apply the law of sowing and reaping. Stop waiting for your lucky break. Winners don’t depend on luck; they rely on cause and effect.