Are you working hard or hardly working? The difference is not how much energy you expend during the course of a day. The difference is how you feel about the energy you expend. When you love who you are and what you do, when you give more than you take out of the world, then life is good and money follows.
After last week’s poetic sortie into the rarified air of love as the driver behind all things good, including health, wealth, and wisdom, some of you may be wondering if and when we are ever going to get to the nuts and bolts of optimal financial well-being. “Enough philosophy!” I can almost hear you saying in reply. “It’s time to show me the money!”
Unfortunately there’s no quick way to get either wealthy or healthy. But in the age of instant gratification, we think there ought to be. We think there ought to be a pill or a procedure that can reverse years of neglect and continuing license. We think there ought to be a lottery ticket, television jackpot, or hot tip that finally breaks our way.
Isn’t that the promise of modern medicine? We can eat poorly and never find time to exercise but still live longer, healthier lives. And wasn’t that the promise of the information economy? Anyone could double their money, especially in the tech sector, in eighteen months or less. So why not buy on margin and make a killing!
The problem, of course, is that we live in a reality show rather than a fairy tale. There is no “happily ever after” here, save for those who understand and practice the core principles of healthy, wealthy, and wise. In the glamour days of the dot-com boom, many looked at their rapidly growing portfolios as the ticket to live large and spend, spend, spend. Now, some of those same people are declaring bankruptcy and folding up shop.
That’s why I started this discussion of wealth, more than a month ago, on the attitude adjustment required for wealth to build over the long haul. It’s really nothing new. It’s just being newly rediscovered. By working hard, living within our means, minimizing debt, and implementing a disciplined savings program, just about anyone can end up better off than they started.
Funny how that works. Recently an aspiring coach asked me to describe my work week. I talked about rising early, normally between 5 and 6 in the morning without an alarm clock, in order to greet the morning, go out for a one-hour run, stretch, and clean up before my first coaching calls begin around 9:00 AM. From there I have between 4 to 8 coaching calls a day, Monday through Thursday, in addition to writing Provisions, working on my new book, administering LifeTrek Coaching International, and making increasingly frequent trips around the country to speak and lead LifeTrek Coaching workshops.
It’s hard to say how many hours that adds up to. In some respects, it feels as though I work all the time. In other ways, it feels as though I hardly work at all. There’s no clock to punch, I love what I do, and I enjoy ample opportunity to run, read, entertain, walk and talk with my wife, sit in the hot tub, go to shows, fish off the dock, and volunteer with a wide variety of groups and projects. From my point of view, it’s the perfect life. I get paid, good money, to do what I love to do. What more could a person want?
Apparently not having to work so hard. My conversation partner and coaching wannabe thought about my schedule, shook her head, and said, “I wouldn’t want that many people calling me. I want to be successful as a coach. But I want it to be easy and effortless. Your schedule sounds too strenuous for me.”
Well, guess what? My schedule and work ethic are part of what makes me successful. Coaches often talk about “easy and effortless,” as though one can be successful while doing very little. But as I mentioned two weeks ago in quoting Benjamin Franklin, “Leisure and laziness are two (different) things.” If leisure, as Franklin writes, “is time for doing something useful,” then laziness is time for doing things that are not useful.
And the time we waste on the things that are not useful can easily mean the difference between success and failure. If we waste our time on junk food, sitcoms, and sleepless nights, we dramatically increase our risk for a wide variety of health problems. If we waste our time on disagreeable jobs, spending sprees, and negative thinking, we dramatically increase our risk for a wide variety of wealth problems. It’s that simple.
In my e-Book, “Mastering Your Money: The Road To Financial Independence” Click, I describe Robert Kiyosaki’s four-quadrant model for understanding how money gets made. In two quadrants, the Employee and Self-Employed quadrants, there is a one-to-one correlation between how much we work and how much we make. These are the active revenue quadrants. Many employees get paid by the hour. That makes the correlation very clear. But even when we draw a salary or become self-employed, the quantity (working harder) and quality (working smarter) of our own time and labor are the primary factors in determining our financial rewards.
Kiyosaki’s other two quadrants, the Business Owner and Investor quadrants, introduce additional factors into the equation of how money gets made, including the labor of others and the leverage of capital. Here, in the passive revenue quadrants, there is a leveraged correlation between how much we work and how much we make. In these quadrants we can work less and make more. But we still have to work. Although business owners may not have to mind the store, on a day-to-day basis, as much as if they were self-employed, and although investors may be able to count on a certain rate of return, without having to do much of anything after the initial investment is made, business owners and investors who look the other way can quickly find themselves losing ground and getting indicted.
That’s why I started with the question of attitude when it comes to health and wealth. Do you have a mind to work? If so, there’s a good chance you can be both successful and fulfilled in life. We simply cannot afford to be lazy when it comes to health and wealth. Apart from the occasional windfall, which is so much the exception as to not permit planning and, therefore, serious consideration, both health and wealth are a long time in the making.
They are, in fact, additive and geometric in nature. They build on what’s gone before. Athletes and mathematicians both know how this works. You can’t go out and be the fastest or strongest you can possibly be without years of disciplined training, practice, and contests. You also can’t even understand, let alone master, differential calculus unless you first master algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. And unless you keep them up, they’ll all be long forgotten.
So too when it comes to health and wealth. A few weeks of good clean living, with regular exercise and disciplined savings, will do no good whatsoever unless they become habits for life. But once they become habits, everything changes and starts to fall into place. Once they become as routine as brushing our teeth, we can hardly imagine life without them. We find ourselves enjoying not only the fruits of our labors, but the labors themselves.
That’s because habits are expressions of identity. And we all have habits, both positive or negative. From how we think to how we act, our habitual patterns determine not only the outcome of our endeavors but also our perception of the world itself. It’s up to us to make the world interesting and inviting. It’s up to us to find the energy and resources for extraordinary success. It’s up to us to do something useful, as long as we have the strength to give.
You want me to show you the money? Look in the mirror. Do you see the money? I do. I see the money and a whole lot more. I see a person who can give of his or her time and energy in all manner of creative ways. I see someone who can put more into the world than they take out, generating both positive net work and positive net worth. I see someone who is wealthy enough to give generously of his or her time, talent, and treasure.
When you see that person in the mirror, you will go from working hard to hardly working. Not because you’ll expend less energy during the course of day, but because you’ll love who you are what you’re doing. When that happens, the money usually takes care of itself.
LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.
Do you have David Whyte’s poem, “What To Remember On Waking” in print/file format? I browsed around the web a little, and couldn’t immediately come upon a copy. Would love to see/digest his sentiments. (Ed. Note: It appeared in Provision #212, “Respect The Morning,” Click. Enjoy!)
Last Tuesday morning I got up at 6:30 and, completely out of habit, turned on my computer. As soon as I hit the button, I said, “Damn!” I was going to turn it off, but decided to leave it on while I read my scripture/devotional and prayed. While I was trying to read, I could hear the “whirring” sound of my computer and couldn’t believe how distracting it was. I had to turn it off. It was the sound of the window closing.
I especially enjoyed your poem, “Awakening.” I enjoy writing a gratitude list when I awaken in the morning • it amazes me the little things that I can discover are significant and I am grateful for them all!
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
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