Thursday, July 25, 2013

Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy & Wise

Last night I saw a link on FB that led to Dave Ramsey's site. It was a post called 20 Things the Rich Do Everyday. It was actually based on information from Tom Corley. (here) (you may want to click over there to read the list for context for this post)

In a nutshell, it is a list of 20 statistics based on behaviors and the percentages of the rich and poor that practice each. I am not sure what the original author's point was with this post, but Dave Ramsey just reposted without any comment. There was no guarantees that doing these specific things will make you rich and successful, and not doing them will make you poor. It was pretty cut and dried facts.

Now, my favorite thing to do when I read a post like this is to peruse the comments. This time it was no different. I found it rather interesting that a whole lot of people were offended by this list.

Offended by stats and percentages? Numbers?

We, the Barefoot Hippies, are not rich, by any stretch of the imagination. Last year our income would have been classified as below poverty level. But, I feel we live a very rich and full life. We travel, and eat well. We save money, and our only debt is our mortgage-which is over halfway paid off.

Ironically, we do most of the things on this list. I don't commute, so I don't listen to audio books. But Mr. Hippie often listens to the Bible while driving. And I haven't made my kids do 10 hours of volunteer work a month yet. At least not structured volunteer work.

When I read a list like this, I don't see rich vs. poor,  I see the character and choices underlying the behaviors and success.

Rising early isn't just rising early. It is the opportunity to enjoy each crisp and fresh new day before interruptions from the outside world. It is the mind set of going without something good (sleep) in order to have this time at the outset of the day. Early rising, and moderately depriving yourself of a good thing is a good framework for success. Successful early risers include Margaret Thatcher and President Obama, among many others.

Besides being good for your body, Consistent exercise is indicative of a disciplined person. Discipline is training yourself to do the right and good thing even if it is hard. The discipline of consistent exercise lays the foundation for success in other areas. To keep on keeping on, even when it is really tough. I know that since I have started running and have run farther than I ever thought I could, I have had the mindset that since I did that, what else is really possible that I think is impossible? The road to success is not an easy one. It is strewn with impossibilities made possible by discipline and hard work. Successful consistent exercisers include President George W. Bush.

Eating or not eating junk food, or listening to audio books is indicative of choices. I know that fruits and vegetables are more expensive than potato chips. I know there is skill and knowledge involved in cooking a package of chicken rather than purchasing a t.v. dinner. But, the poor have a choice how to use their grocery money, just as much as the rich do.

The same holds true with their listening choices. A huge chunk of our population owns iPods or some other listening devise. In order to have anything to listen to, you must download it. You have the choice what you are using your dollars on-music or books. Anyone can chose to buy an audio book.

The junk food and audio debate in the comments of DR's article remind me that life is full of choices. And we each make good and/or bad choices. Success comes from making good choices, but also from owning up to your choices. Take responsibility for whatever you have chosen. Don't blame. Be the driving force not the victim. Abraham Lincoln made good choices very consistently, and he always took responsibility for consequences that may have come from his bad choices.

The rich limit their screen time. This is smart. I waste so much time perusing my various feeds, when I could be reading a book or doing a hundred other things. Theodore Roosevelt read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime. 

Reading for continual education or business is the acknowledgment that we need to keep our knives sharp. If we aren't growing, we aren't staying static. We are moving backwards. Steve Jobs was always producing a new product for Apple. He was always keeping abreast of upcoming trends and developing technology to meet demands. 

Writing down daily goals and life goals gives something to move towards. It creates a sense of accomplishment when you can check off the items as done. Goals provide direction when you are feeling lost. Goals indicate a sense of purpose and a concern for the future-not just today. Michael Phelps set many goals for his swimming career and moved steadily towards them over a period of years.

So, what's my point?

Will practicing these things make you rich and successful? Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on what your definitions of rich and successful are. But, I think these practices will definitely enrich your life and they will definitely help you successfully follow the path God has for you.

After all, Ben Franklin said, "early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

(incidentally, most of the 20 things listed would also fit into one or another of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Successful People)

What do you think? Does this resonate with you or offend you?