When I was a kid, I thought I was THE MAN if I could tie my own shoes.
In high school, I thought I was The Man if I could get a rad and beautiful girlfriend. (And in California, being “rad” was where it was at, let me tell you ;))
In college, it was the highest GPA – and more importantly the person who could throw the best parties.
And after that it was the best jobs, coolest “things” and eventually the most money.
Somewhere along that track I wised up and realized none of those things actually define “true success” but BOY did it take a while! And boy is everyone around us still chasing them.
If you signed up to some of those newsletters I read every morning, you might know exactly where I’m going with this. The following excerpt was in a recent Thought of The Day by Napoleon Hill:
“Whatever your faith may be, a good rule of everyday behavior is to live your life so that when it is over you can take pride in the knowledge that you have made a difference in the lives of those who have known you. It’s easy in the crush of everyday life to lose sight of the true riches of life, the things that really matter. Psychologist Ilona Tobin defines true success as “giving and receiving love, having physical and mental health, enough wealth to provide you with options, and the time to enjoy them all.”
Love, health, wealth, and TIME – now that’s a definition of success! With the last part being one of the most important, and which we only have certain control over. (IE – how we spend (and plan) our time on the days we’re blessed to be alive on this great Earth)
Notice there was also a nice mention of money in there, but with words like “enough” and “options” close by. That’s really the whole point of it all, isn’t it? To have enough money so you don’t even need to think about it? And how perfect it fits in despite the whole message being rather spiritual too… Not unlike another eloquent passage we’ve seen around here before ;)
Let’s dive into these sections even more…
Giving and receiving love — The first mentioned, and rightfully so. I don’t know anyone who hates being loved (even if they don’t show it), and it’s something to step back and remind ourselves of ESPECIALLY as we’re prone to chase the $$$ around each corner… If I had a wallet I’d put a picture of my two precious boys in it to remind me of this every time I open it up :) If anyone embodies giving and receiving love, it’s them. (Except for when we say no to candy – yikes)
Having physical and mental health — Also a very important area! Can’t enjoy life much without a working body or brain… Now if only the two would combine forces better and GET US TO EXERCISE MORE!! Ugh…. How can such relatively smart people understand how important eating and staying healthy is, but still make it a last priority in their daily lives? (And by relatively smart people I mean myself). I swear I need a health coach just as bad as some of y’all need a money coach. It’s just so boring!!! :) I need you health nuts to please start blogs so I can get motivated over here kthxbye.
Enough wealth to provide you with options — The whole reason we’re here! For the freedom to choose how we spend our lives, right? Notice it doesn’t say anything about needing “a million dollars” or to be “rich beyond belief” either. It says “enough.” Which can be interpreted a number of different ways depending on who you ask, but at the end of the day is the goal we should all be striving for. And to then have the smarts to know WHEN we’ve hit “enough” too!
And lastly… The time to enjoy them all — The best line of the whole passage. Everything comes down to *time*. And I think that’s the scariest part about this money stuff – that we won’t make it to the other side to be able to enjoy all the freedom it brings. The exact fear people around us harness to justify spending it all now “because you never know what tomorrow will bring!” Which is of course true, however, odds are very much in our favor that we’ll be living quite a long time on this beautiful Earth of ours. So just like everything else in our lives it’s always a balancing act. And either extreme can send you down a pretty tumultuous path. (Look at me using big words!)
Which means we need to be doing the following two things:
- Making sure to appreciate our lives in the here and now and not obsessing about all our goals all the time! (Though of course important).
- Continuing to lower how much it costs us to live so we can shrink the time to ultimate freedom. Because as we all know, the higher your lifestyle the longer you’ll need to keep working to sustain it!
This is the exact reason behind early retirement, of course. It’s not that you don’t want to work anymore and be a complete bum (although you could if you wanted to), it’s to be able to ENJOY LIFE fully and take advantage of all that loving and physical/mental health, as well as your money you’ve so diligently accrued over your lifetime. And the earlier you hit it, the more time you have to enjoy it!
(PS: If you have no idea how far you are to financial freedom, download this spreadsheet and find out)
So how do we do all this without killing ourselves in the process? Well, that’s the tricky part :) And the reason we’re all here on $$ blogs and trying to get better at it – myself included. I go in phases of hustling my ass off and taking long breaks, but throughout there always has to be that reminder of the “why” to keep us pushing forward. And it’s very much possible that it’s “all in the journey” as they say. (I can tell you more definitively when I reach the other side ;))
At any rate, I thought that was one of the best definitions of true success that I had seen and wanted to pass it over to you… “Giving and receiving love, having physical and mental health, enough wealth to provide you with options, and the time to enjoy them all.”
How do you define true success? Anything you’d add or take away?
However you define it, always do your best to get your daily actions to line up accordingly. And know you’ll fail a lot throughout the journey too! That’s the only part I would add here… Having the strength to keep fighting the good fight!