VOL. 128 | NO. 159 | Thursday, August 15, 2013
Rays of Wisdom
Dana and Ray Brandon
Rich Doesn’t Mean Successful
Ray’s Take Society tends to equate the possession of riches with a happy, successful life and the pursuit of riches as the best course to achieve success. That’s a rather limited definition, however, and reality doesn’t bear it out. Studies show that the 100 richest people in this country are only slightly more satisfied with their lives than the average person. As the saying goes, “money doesn’t buy happiness.”
So if wealth doesn’t necessarily translate into success, what does? That’s something very individual. For different people, success means different things. For some it may mean amassing a lot of money, for others it means doing what you love, or leaving the world a better place. There are countless ways to define success. It all depends on the individual.
The point is that it is a worthy exercise to examine and try to determine what success is for you, set your goals accordingly, and then decide on strategies to achieve the success you want. It’s a lot like the process you go through to develop your financial plan. Both involve some trial and error to figure out what works for you. In fact, your decisions about the success goals you want to achieve will have a major impact on that financial plan. The two go hand-in-hand.
A person who has stripped down life to the bare necessities in order to devote more time to a beloved activity like surfing or painting should be considered just as successful as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and is probably far less stressed to boot. While those are two extremes, finding the right balance between financial gain and the success of personal satisfaction is a process we all should strive to achieve.
After all, there’s no point in being rich if you’re not fulfilled; and if you’re not fulfilled, how can you say you are truly successful?
Dana’s Take You can look at success as either a destination or a process. Maintaining a fixed definition of success can lead to stagnation and even depression. If you look at success as a process, it could be defined as continuing to achieve your ultimate potential as an individual. Once you successfully achieve your goal in one area, you can move on to another.
You could measure these successes by achieving temporary, tangible goals like running a marathon or catching an eight-pound bass. Alternately, you could set goals where ultimate success takes your entire lifetime, like a happy marriage, spiritual discovery or perfecting your golf swing.
The quest for success, and the sense of satisfaction it brings, is a motivating factor that helps keep one engaged with life and community. You can look back with pride on what you’ve achieved, but there is always a new goal to keep you looking forward to the future.
Ray Brandon is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning (www.brandonplanning.com).