By Jim Sheridan.
My friend, welcome back to another episode. I expect you’re gathering gunpowder and burger meat ready for the 4th July, and everyone loves a party. And a day off work- a day free of servitude to an employer to celebrate overthrowing those tyrannical British. So I thought we’d have a chat about what the party is really all for…
Even though the forefathers were British, they turned on their King to start over, to build a dream. America was an idea before it was a country, an idea of a country where its citizens could enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
The Lazy Secret
I’m always looking for the easiest ways to do stuff. Some people call that being “lazy”.
If that’s true, then here’s a true “lazy” way to success…
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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the forefathers were alive today, I wonder what they would think of our progress as Americans regarding life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
What do those three things even mean?
Here’s my interpretation:
Life = Health and longevity (preservation of life)
Liberty = Financial independence
Pursuit of happiness = Self-discovery and consciousness.
Those forefathers were wise men. (Interesting how these three topics are the three biggest Internet markets…). And these three topics are how I try to live.
Regular readers will recall that I have a 12 year old son. It’s interesting to observe a boy come of age, to transition to manhood in these crazy times. I am anxious about his future, and that if I don’t equip him well, if I don’t turn a boy into a warrior, that he will not prevail in this fast-changing world.
I find the drive to school is a good time to talk. We’re alone, it’s dead time, and it’s right before I release him into ‘the wild’ for the day.
He surprised me the other day when he’d seemed to notice a pattern in the things I was telling him each morning. He’d seen that one day I might be talking about health, nutrition, self-defense, security, and physical strength. And another day I would talk about what an asset and a liability is, how royalties work, how financial markets work. And on another day (the days when we were both more awake!), I would talk about psychology, self-awareness, human nature, etc.
I smiled and explained that Japanese folklore and Samurai tradition has a similar trio of ultimate human pursuits to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The Samurai version of this is called the legend of ‘The Sword, The Jewel, and The Mirror’. This way of the samurai is how I try to teach my son the things he needs to know to become a man.
The Samurai believed that the goal of every human should be the acquisition of The Sword, The Jewel, and The Mirror. Translated:
Sword = (preservation of) Life. Health, physical strength.
Jewel = Liberty. The acquisition of wealth (he who owns the gold makes the rules!)
Mirror = Pursuit of happiness. Psychology, self-awareness, and consciousness.
But the Samurai wisely believed that the most coveted prize was The Mirror. They knew that without The Mirror, a man would never find The Sword and The Jewel.
THAT’S why I talk about self-discovery and psychology so much in this letter.
“I want to make a million dollars,” my son said to me, staring at a shiny black BMW rolling ahead in the traffic lane next to us. “But I don’t know where to begin.”
I said, “You begin with The Mirror if you want The Jewel. You begin as you just did: by stating what you wanted, and most of all, by believing in yourself that you can do it. By being clear in your mind about money, how it works, and how to get it.”
“And then what?” he said. “It just seems like such a big thing to achieve. My allowance is only ten bucks a week.”
I said, “There’s another wise piece of advice from the Orient: ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’.”
“What do you mean?”
Swerving around a line of cars in the wrong lane, I said, “It’s one of the biggest success secrets out there. It’s what I call ‘making molehills out of mountains'”
“Don’t you mean ‘making mountains out of molehills’?” he said.
“No. That’s what most people do. I want you to do the opposite. A mountain is a lot harder to conquer than a molehill. So what you do is break up that mountain into many molehills. Each day represents a molehill. And in a little while, if you’re disciplined and patient, all your molehills will weigh as much as a mountain. You’ll just wake up one day and you’ll have your million dollars.”
“Okay. So how do I become disciplined?”
“Get a calendar. That calendar is now your BIBLE. Work out all the little molehills that will add up to a million dollars. On each day in your calendar make an entry that details ‘today’s molehill’. Now, and this is the important part: under no circumstances do you go to bed that night unless you’ve honestly achieved today’s molehill objective.”
We were getting close to his school now, so I went silent and let him digest today’s discussion. He whipped a pocket calculator out of his backpack and tapped away. I smiled as I figured out what he was doing…
“But Dad… that would take me 1,923 years of saving my weekly allowance to get a million dollars. And that’s without me spending any of it.”
I pulled up to the drop off point and looked at him in the eye. “You get that weekly allowance for doing your chores. In other words, you work for money. It’s like I’m your employer.”
“Yeah, and when I’m an adult I’ll have more money to save.”
“Yes, but when you’re an adult the toys get more expensive. It’s not about that, it’s not about just saving money. It’s about the fact that you’re working for money. You need money to work for you, you need to leverage the time and money of other people to make that million before you’re too old to enjoy it.”
I shook his hand and glanced at a huddle of mean-looking tweens on their way to class. “So don’t be scared of going after what you want, because you can do it if you see things right. Don’t back away. Remember what I told you about recess fights?”
“Yeah. The kid who walks away is the one who ends up with a bloodied nose.”
“There aren’t any fights at recess.”
I swung open his door and released him into the jungle as I said, “Yes there are. You just don’t see them.”
I know we’re all busy with our own thoughts in these times, but I implore you to consider the challenges your kids face daily as well. They need your presence a lot more than your presents. They represent YOU, they are our future. We are all children of The Revolution, but this is their time now. Don’t squander it. But perhaps we should all take something away from children and how they think: in their uncontaminated minds, anything is possible…
The Downside Has Been Eliminated
Do you know what the downside is to a 100% no expense business?
There is no downside…
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