virgin islands scene

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
-- Jan Glidwell


Monday, January 8, 1996

The easy way out

Nothing that is truly valuable is ever easy to create. This is a self-enforcing law of reality. It is the effort that goes into something that gives that thing value. Many people spend their lives looking for the easy way out -- buying those lottery tickets, trying all those get-rich-quick schemes. That course rarely brings success.

It is sustained, focused effort that produces wealth and other great accomplishments.

The easy way is often very seductive. Just cut a few corners, take advantage of a few people, get a little lucky and you’re set for life. It is so enticing, the possibility of getting something for nothing. Then you could just retire and have fun and...

And what?

What if you did win the lottery? What if you suddenly had $10 million in your bank account? Would all your troubles be over? Probably not by a long shot.

First, you would still be a mortal human being. If you were overweight, you would still be overweight. If your marriage was in trouble, the addition of $10 million might even make matters worse. If you had no clear direction in life, the prospect of never having to work could take away every last bit of direction and focus you did have. If you had trouble relating to people, being worth $10 would make it even worse, because you would immediately have to suspect everyone of trying to get a piece of you.

The point is, even if you’re lucky enough to win $10 million in the lottery, life is not easy. A life of value and fulfillment takes effort, no matter what your bank balance is. Because it is precisely that effort which gives life meaning. There is no meaning in a life of leisure and consumption. It is empty and sad.

Life is all about making a contribution. Providing value. Creating excellence. That is where true wealth comes from -- not from some numbers on your bank statement.

— Ralph Marston

previousThe value of art       Pity, need and challengenext

Copyright ©1996 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.