Discover the benefits of finding these mentors.
Why? Consider the odds of your mother and father finding each other in this world. Consider the odds of them conceiving the person who would become the unique, genetic "you." Trillions to one. And yet, here you are, winner of the biggest lottery ever. Excited? You should be.
There’s a theory that your income will be the average of your five closest friends — for better or worse. That’s why it’s crucial to choose your friends and the people you associate with wisely as you search for financial independence.
The reasoning behind this theory holds up under scrutiny. Financially successful people have a different mindset from those who struggle financially. They have different work habits, goals and dreams — they understand that their success is directly based on the actions they take and decisions they make in their day-to-day lives. They take responsibility for where they are and are constantly looking for ways to improve. They focus on how to get things done, instead of looking for reasons why they can’t, or making excuses for why they didn’t. They are not victims; they are victors.
This is another reason why those who aspire to be successful should seek out mentors. Taking advice from someone who’s accomplished what you seek to accomplish makes it real. There’s proof in their approach, which makes it easier to take to heart.
Two people in love might not be the most rational of beings; the idea that “love conquers all” is certainly a strong notion. There are discussions that need to take place, however, before reception halls are booked and rings are exchanged. These aren’t discussions about things that “might” happen; these things are going to happen, and you need to be on the same page when deciding how you’re going to spend your lives together. That’s not to say there aren’t couples who can’t make a relationship work if there’s a fundamental disagreement, but the degree of difficulty is drastically raised, and you need to be aware of it going in.
I’d like to point out here that there is a small percentage of people in the world for whom, no matter how much you give, it’ll never be enough. They’ve programmed their minds to focus on what they don’t have and are not getting, instead of the blessings they do have. They don’t want to be equals in a relationship, but only want what’s best for them, personally; nothing will satisfy them. These people will typically be miserable, and will spread that misery around. It’s important to explore your relationship with clear eyes and recognize if your intended partner fits this description. Making a tough decision now, before things get too serious, will help you avoid grief and agony down the road.
As with any important undertaking, it’s best to begin by imagining what a successful outcome will look like. My friend and parenting mentor, Evelyn Longsworth, once shared an excellent analogy with me about raising children:
The main responsibility of every parent is to successfully set each child up to excel in life with the skills, knowledge, education and life skills necessary to be independent.
“Look at it this way,” she said. “Imagine that, in 18 years, you wouldn’t be around. If you knew you couldn’t be there for them and protect them after 18 years, how would you raise your children differently? You’d be firm but fair with them; you’d be loving, but you’d want to make sure they were set up for success. You’d want them to know what they were doing and how to handle things in life.”
The age of 18 is a good target goal for many different reasons. By that age, your children are adults, at least in the eyes of the law and society. You can’t protect them as much after that age, because they are their own people, with their own outlooks, resources, rights and responsibilities.
In the past two years, my stepson and my nephew have passed away, my wife has battled cancer and my father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. These are the times when most people ask “Why? How is this fair?” It’s in times like these where it’s invaluable to have faith to fall back on, and to have a community and mentors to challenge you and to let you know there’s a higher power and a plan, even if we don’t know or understand what that plan involves. Cold logic does not and cannot give most people comfort; from the spiritual perspective, there’s more to life than just the things we look at every day. It’s in times like these that Philippians 4:13, one of my favorite Biblical verses — I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me — plays through my mind. By repeating this mantra, I’m reminded that the world is bigger than what I can see, and I’m never alone in life’s struggles.
Even when things are going well, there’s a lot to be gained by having a wider, spiritual perspective. If you’re a motivated person, there are times when you may ask yourself if everything you’re working for is worth the time, effort and energy you’re putting into it. By having a moral, spiritual framework, you’ll get a better perspective into the value of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
FITNESS & HEALTH
A friend of mine shared an analogy about health that has always stuck with me: Imagine if you were a 16-year-old and a wealthy person came to you and said, “Hey, listen. I’m going to buy you any new car you want. Price is not an issue. Say the word, and I’ll have it in your driveway tomorrow.” The catch? “That’s the only vehicle you going to have for the rest of your life.”
How would you take care of that vehicle? You’d do all the proper maintenance. You’d use only the best fuel and make sure the oil was changed regularly, the fluids topped off, the tires rotated and all the other items were regularly checked off the list. You wouldn’t put off taking it in for repairs when you heard an odd noise or noticed it starting to drive differently.
In short, you’d make sure that vehicle was clean — spotless, even — because it was something you loved and depended on for your entire life. That’s no different from your health and fitness. You’ve got to maintain your body and mind the same way. If you would take care of a car that way, why wouldn’t you take that kind of care of your body and mind?