Keep work prioritised
Remember your own priority order of connections & stakeholders. Specific employers or clients aren’t likely on the top of your list. If you happen to agree with me, they’re probably behind/below your own conscience, your spouse as well as your kids and maybe even family and friends. Appreciating that there might be times in your life where the priority order needs to change, remember that wherever it sits at any given point in time, which priorities you have that remain more important.
What you do to produce income matters, but it doesn’t matter as much as honest work itself or the things that honest work provides. Intangibles like mental and physical exercise, the value of contributing to your world as well as the materialistic things income itself can offer, like food, clothes, shelter, and medicine. These are the kind of things you’re really working for. That may seem obvious, but the way many of us live our lives indicate that perhaps we forget it far too frequently.
Despite the need that remains to build a better future, save for a rainy day, and investing for new opportunities etc. these things are too easily prioritised over family and even one’s own welfare. Prioritise stakeholder welfare above earning income. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in earning money, earning more and never having enough. There is unquestionably a self-building prison trap involved with such mentalities and if you’re not careful you can all too easily slip from toeing the water to barely keeping your head above it.
Yes ‘you gotta do what you gotta do’ but don’t let that be the nail in your coffin that leads you to remain mortally trapped in the belief that you need to spend 90% of your life doing miserable work so that at some time in the future you’re able to spend 10-15% of it finally being happy. The longer I live the more I believe that we both as individuals and as a world, dramatically limit our own capabilities much more than external influences do so. I think we’re all far more capable than most of us realise and have access to far more amazing possibilities that reside just outside the scope of our perception. If I could tilt you in any direction, it would be to take a leap of faith. That doesn’t exactly mean take big risks, but it also can mean that when you’ve done what you can do to calculate and minimise those risk and still believe the leap is the best way forward.
There are FAR too many people in this world who continually prioritise ‘work’ day after day after day, yet ignore the more important needs. You can’t do this for any length of time without it starting to kill you. Many of us have done so for far too many years or decades and I’m telling you from experience, those that do are dying inside. When work is the primary driving factor, each day that they get up to get ready to go, each step towards to their office or work-site or whatever routine location one’s stuck in drawing themselves to, feels like it’s slowly but surely killing them. I call this comatose living: theoretically alive, yet lacking life. Don’t dead, open inside.
Repetatively give honest consideration to the reality of what your ongoing work provides. Are you getting physical or mental exercise? Is the work providing those basic materials you and your family need? Are you experiencing value in contributing to your world? Is your current work environment edifying? If it’s not, are you responding to it in edifying ways? Ask these questions often and when necessary, start considering alternative ways to work. Which brings me to my next point. Learning to love work.
It’s not about retirement
He who craves freedom from honest hard work, in many ways is just somebody craving atrophe. Work itself is exercise, especially when doing it right. Looking for easy answers, easy problems, short-cut advantages and ‘done-for-you’ solutions, is the gratifying way. The more you honestly engage in edifying work, the more you grow to love not just the work itself, but what you’re becoming by engaging with it. Find work where you can experience flow, that state between optimal difficulty and maximising of existing skills and abilities. Find work that makes you a better you.
Forget about the common ‘retirement’ dream of ‘no more work’. Downing fancy drinks on a cruise ship in the Bahamas for the rest of your existence. It’s not helpful. It doesn’t edify. If you’re objective is to just get everything you want then you’re likely going to gratify yourself to death once you’ve got it. If you think you don’t require the limitations you currently have on resources, think again. What have you done to prove to yourself and the world around you that you aren’t killing yourself with your existing surplus?
Escaping the weight we feel upon us can certainly be helpful, but that’s much more so the case when the weight is self-inflicted, gratifying, or contrived. For the rest of the time, learning to bear it up is going to be a far better answer for you. Ditch whatever you’re carrying that you don’t actually need. If you’re anything like me you’ll probably have spent far too much of your life thinking that ‘unwinding’ through shows and movies, video games and distractions are things that are helping you manage life and push on… The reality however is more likely to indicate that those ‘mental aids’ are actually mostly gratifying. They don’t leave you better off, they increase your dependence upon them and increase their probability of becoming a long-term distraction.
Within seconds of asking yourself the question I can nearly guarantee that your mind is going to instantly answer the question of what gratifying distractions your filling your life with. If you’ve also drowned yourself enough in your own justifications that you struggle to see them clearly, list the questionable from highest probable to lowest and begin ‘fasting’ through them one at a time. How difficult it is to go without any given one is going to indicate how dependant you’ve slowly become. Ditch your addictions. When they come back, ditch them again. We don’t take out the trash just once in our lives, we do it regularly. Daily from our homes, weekly from our houses. Your soul is your home and your body is your house. Take out whatever you don’t need to carry, often. Make sure the load is necessary, helpful, edifying, and when you’re confident you’re carrying what’s good for you, get to work confidently knowing your only carrying what’s going to help.
Consider your value output. This goes for both your imagined retirement as well as your current working life. Once retired, do you plan on spending more or less focus on yourself? Because if it’s more, that’s not very likely to be edifying. Perhaps if it’s on yourself to increase your capacity to provide value to your stakeholders, then let both the way you intent to spend your retirement, as well as the way you currently spend your working life, evidence that. I’m probably not going to get into it here, but long story short is the edifying value of your life is actually largely calculable and it’s not far off a value output calculation. Measure how you’re spending your life including who for and with what intentions, and you can can easily find a pretty strong GPS signal for your current location in an ‘edifying landscape’.
Be honest with your time. Again, both your current working time as well as your future retirement time. Both will require you to prioritise edifying work. Learn to love to contribute value in the best ways you can. If you’re struggling to give an honest day’s work, seriously consider why. What are the primary issues? Are you struggling with work because of what you’re doing outside of work? Are you appropriately working on the more important connections/stakeholders? Failing to do so will very likely cause you to have problems with work, even if you have no problems with the work itself. You can’t ignore more important things and think it will have no effect. Yourself/your conscience is one of those more important connections. Are you taking care of yourself? Your future self? Your past self? etc.
Or perhaps are you struggling because of what you’re doing inside of work? Are you doing what you can? Are you looking for that Q2 work, where you can address those important factors of development/progress that are falling by the wayside/being denied in the day-to-day running? Are you maximising your potential? Are you going the extra mile? Think of work as an opportunity, an opportunity to respond. How do you want to respond? What would be the most helpful?
Engaging in edifying work will always be infinitely more valuable and meaningful to you than resting into a life of indulgence or work avoidance.
It’s not about money
Forget prioritising getting rich. It’s not helpful. Focus on providing value. Get expert at providing value, and you’re much more likely to make honest money than focussing on making money at the cost of providing value. I’m not currently what I would classify as ‘wealthy’. Although I do expect to be so in the future, I also expect that wealth to come as my edifying capabilities permit. I’m honestly hesitant, to a real extent, to acquire wealth and resources I’ve not sufficiently prepared for.
My life experiences thus far have clearly indicated I’m more than capable of wasting great opportunities, chances, time, relationships and more. I hope to continually acquire only that which I’m honestly ready to improve myself sufficiently to meet the responsibility of bearing that new amount of burden or challenge. I want to achieve my wealth goals as I very slowly build my own foundation and skillset required to ensure that I can bring in, improve and then put out, resources in a sufficiently edifying manner that qualifies me for the kind of wealth I’m pursuing.
Many of us have dreams of spending big not just for ourselves for also for our loved ones and often even strangers. I regularly return to the thought that what we offer others once we do have more, should be evidenced in what we’re offering them based on what we have now. If that’s not already self-evident, there’s something missing. Another thought I often return to is how helpful ‘resource-dumping’ on others even is. Exciting, ‘you-tube-worthy’, entertaining? Sure. All of those things. But remember that people who aren’t sufficiently prepared too often drown in access to mass resources, we could easily be doing them more harm than good. If helping people improve themselves is better than dumping resources on them, perhaps that’s something we can offer even when we seemingly have very little resources to offer them in the first place.
Perhaps, if we’re proving through the way we live our lives currently, that we’re prioritising edifying others with what we have now, we’re going to be much better prepared to helping edify others once we have more. Those around us then also don’t have to wait until we’re rich before we start offering ourselves to them. As cliché as it may seem, I remain confident that the time and self-less attention we give others is nearly always going to be far more valuable than money or anything material.
Edifying risk profile
The risk profile is an investment tool to help people navigate their way through the balance between return and volatility. Generally speaking, bigger returns come at greater risk, but identical returns don’t necessarily carry identical risks. The optimal is best return for lowest risk.
Another perspective many carry is that the lower risk the more you can breathe easy. For he who does not prioritise wealth accumulation, including the spiritual/religious who feel hesitate to over focus in risk of overprioritizing it, low risk investments might be a good suit. However, there remains a conflict.
Despite the countless differences in varying belief systems and cultures, nearly everybody keeps in their bank the principle of selflessness>selfishness. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal” ( – Albert Pike, if you can trust BrainyQuotes)
So yes, money’s not the most important thing, and overprioritizing it in YOUR life can easily become detrimental. However, if we share a responsibility to others and the world around us we also share a responsibility to make the most of what we have for the sake of those around us. This includes our wealth.
Therefore he who chooses to sit back in the low-risk and consequential low-effort world, also risks failing to fulfill his responsibilities.
The importance then of understanding that known risks are largely manageable risks means that the “live-by-faith” individuals should be spending an appropriate portion of their energies on increasing their returns through learning how to better manage the risks associated with more volatile investments.
Low risk low return is easy. Getting higher return for equal or less risk is harder, but it is the space we should be in.