Premise No. 2: If your competitive scorecard is money, you will always lose. There are two ways to be wealthy. One is to have a huge amount of money. The other is to have simple needs. What is your answer to “How much is enough?” As professor Michael Ray of Stanford taught: comparison is the primary sin of modern life.
How simply do you live? Some people are consumers; they may earn a handsome salary, but they cannot get any financial traction towards long-term financial or personal goals on the unlikely event that they have any. Rather, their money disappears because they live beyond their means, take nice vacations and pack their homes with all kinds of things that become moth bait. Many live to “one-up” their neighbors like economic competitors vying for the market share of attention! The old adage plays time and again, we buy things that we don’t need, to put in houses that we cannot afford to impress people that we don’t even like! What a treadmill.
There is the little story about a wealthy American business man who was vacationing in Mexico. One day he observed a peasant fisherman loading a ragged net into his little boat, bound for his day’s work out into the sea for his meager economy. In a matter of just two hours the sun bathed man puttered back into the harbor with his little boat teaming with his catch. The business man, thinking his operation a little inefficient asked him, “how did you do?” The little man replied, “same as each day, I have made my catch and now I will get them to market. I must get this done, so I can go home, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, and go down to the cantina with my friends and enjoy our evening together.” The business man exclaimed, “man, why don’t you double your labor? You could save some investment, buy a bigger boat, and catch more fish. With your profits you could buy a fish processing plant, cut out the middle man and can your fish and steadily increase your income, go public as a corporation and become staggering wealthy! What would your life be if you did that? He said, “I don’t know, I likely would go home and play with my children, take a siesta with my wife and go to the cantina and enjoy evenings with my friends”. What perspective; what simplicity!
When we strip our lives down to just desiring only our needs, we free ourselves to provide for the needs and necessities of others who cannot provide industry for their own. We can use our resources as God intended, to promote others, to launch our kids with a healthier appreciation for necessity rather than as consuming fires of excess and to teach them to provide for economic, spiritual, and the welfare of others. I believe that it is far more important to live a life than it is to live a lie.
How are you doing with this thought? Can you envision a life of simplicity where you have the financial freedom to pay heed to other’s needs? How about ramping up your economic earning engine and work hard in order to be able to “have enough” to freely give without thought of your own necessity? That is another thought for another day!