Michael Hyatt’s blog has been a part of my daily trawl for a couple of years. When he started podcasting last year, I hesitated adding him because I was already a bit overwhelmed with all of the media I was taking in, and I didn’t think adding one more voice to the pile would gain me much. That might have been the right decision at the time, but when I cleaned house earlier this year, I intentionally made room to start listening to him. This post is inspired by his podcast from April 10 on the 3 components of job satisfaction.
There are three basic components to that must be present to be satisfied with your work. You must be competent at your work. You must have a market for your work. You must have passion for your work. With all three of those, you hit the sweet spot. That can be awesome.
Having only two of those, though, isn’t so awesome. Those zones will only lead to building frustration, and it makes your life a struggle.
There’s a difference, however, between those three zones that we have to recognize. The upper left and upper right zones (hobby and failure respectively) both have fairly short life-spans as a career. Staying in those zones is discouraged by a lack of income.
That bottom middle zone, though. Boredom? You can settle down and live there. Pretty comfortably, too. And most of us do.
And that’s where the trouble starts.
We lie to ourselves and say that work is supposed to be frustrating, and we can pursue our passion when we’re not at work, or after we retire. We medicate our discontent with spending, maybe even driving ourselves into debt while chasing happiness. And it only gets worse from there.
And I know. I live in the bottom middle. I’m very competent at my day job and boy howdy is there a market for my services, but I’ve got almost no passion for it. There’s a bunch of reasons why that is, but needless to say, I’ve topped out on my job growth. I’m stuck.
Most people understand that they enjoy greater success when they feel good about their activities. […] Helping your mind to know and believe that what you do professionally is good, noble, and worthwhile in itself helps to fuel your energies and propel your efforts.
If you feel really good about your profession, you sweep others along with you on the waves of your enthusiasm for what you do. You will become known for telling entertaining accounts of amusing incidents in your professional life. Stories about events in your business day can inspire others, and they will be moved by poignant interactions you relate. These natural and positive aspects of your public persona flow inevitably from feeling pride and passion for your work.
– Rabbi Daniel Lapin
In order for you to have a chance at real success, there has to be passion. And if you don’t have passion, it shows, because boredom isn’t inspiring or engaging. Either become more passionate about the work you’re doing, or begin the process of transitioning to something where you have all three components. It’s either that, or stay stuck.
Almost everyone, even those who aren’t big on church or religion, have heard this verse:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
1 Timothy 6:10
Although, many times it’s shortened, so it sounds more like this:
Money is the root of all evil.
Now, there is a significant difference between the verse and how it’s paraphrased. Though, with all of the greed, corruption, and cronyism in our society, I can understand how that difference can shrink and become less significant. Watch the news for a while, and money starts to transform into a symbol for evil.
But is it? Is money a symbol of evil?
Possibly, but there are different ways of looking at it. For example:
“Take out a dollar bill and look at it,” he said. “Now pat yourself on the back because you are looking at a certificate of performance. If you did not rob or steal from anyone to obtain that dollar, if you neither defrauded anyone nor persuaded your government to seize it from a fellow citizen and give it to you, then you could only have obtained that dollar in one other way – you must have pleased someone else.” How true those words. Whether you pleased a client, a customer, or your boss, that money is testament to your having pleased another human being. Having money is not shameful; it is a certificate of good performance granted to you by your grateful fellow citizens.
Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Thou Shall Prosper
So, money’s a certificate of good and not a symbol of evil?
Here’s the problem. Money doesn’t have intentions and it doesn’t take actions. It can’t be generous or greedy. It doesn’t have a mind of it’s own, and can’t be judged innocent or guilty.
Money is a tool. It’s like a hammer. It can be used to create or destroy, but it doesn’t do either until it’s put into the hands of a human being. That person lifts it with intention and swings it into action. They are the ones to be judged.
Some people treat money in such a way that it becomes a symbol of evil. Others treat it as a certificate of good performance. In the both cases, the bills and coins stay the same. It’s the approach that matters.
So, set your approach. What is the most valuable way that you can serve your fellow man? Don’t love wealth. Love people, and allow them to reward you.
Once the debt is gone and you’ve put together an solid emergency fund, it’s time to start working on funding the future. Both for yourself and your children. Below are my notes from the lesson, including the key points that I highlight from the video when leading the class, and some supplemental material that I think could help the class go further on this topic.
Lesson 7, Retirement and College Planning
Independence in the future is up to you. Work with investment advisors who have the heart of a teacher. You are responsible for funding whatever kind of future you want to have. Do not count on government programs or handouts to provide for you. Make a plan and start now.
The best way to invest is to be out of debt first. Work the Baby Steps. If you try to fund your future while trying to save for emergencies, put aside money for your kids college, and make all of your debt payments, well you’re not going to do any of those things well. Multitasking is a bunch of crap. Only work on one goal at a time until you’ve mastered it, and then move to the next step.
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. You must diversify. Spread your money around. You should never pile all of your wealth into one particular investment. The more you spread it around, the better your money will grow.
Fund college education only after you are fully funding your retirement. Your kids future in college may or may not happen. Your future (and your spouse’s) is definitely coming, and you need to be ready for it. There are a lot of options for your kids to fund their education, and it’s probably healthy to let them explore them as a part of the process.
Can You Get a 12% Return? Investing is about long-term growth, and requires patience. Dave bases the 12% number on the average performance of the S&P over the past 80+ years (11.84%). Individual annual returns are going to fluctuate:
Based on 20 to 25 year averages, I feel 10% is more realistic, but ask me again in 5 years.
What’s Your Magic Number? How old are you going to be when you retire? Is 65 set in stone?
Consider Life-Long Work. If you are doing work that you love, why would you want to stop doing it? What does that do to the concept of retirement?
Say No To Student Loans. The average student graduates with $27,000 in loans (In 2011, it was $24,000, and in 2008 it was $18,000. Not a good trend). In most circumstances, these are NOT able to be bankrupted.
Is Education Changing? Almost everyone predicts that the next big economic bubble will be in education. At the same time, how we learn and what we need to learn has changed. Will the next decade do to the education industry what the last decade has done to the newspaper industry?
- Thou Shall Prosper by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
- 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller
- Stop Stealing Dreams by Seth Godin
- Debt Free U by Zac Bisonette
Next week: Lesson 8 – Real Estate and Mortgages