Before we got married, we signed up for pre-marriage counselling at the local country church.
The pastor asked about our thoughts on work, which was a sticking point: at the time I was working around the clock getting Barefoot up and running, appearing on television, and travelling the country most weeks doing paid speaking gigs.
I turned to Liz and said:
“If in a decade from now I’m still working my guts out, and travelling constantly around the country, the only reason will be because I’m status hungry, and that I value my work over my family. Whatever excuse I give you in the future … will be a lie.”
Liz has not only remembered that conversation … she has skillfully reminded me of it at opportune times.
What the hell was I thinking?
Well, life is difficult to measure, which is why money is such a simple substitute for happiness:
Do I have a bigger house than I used to? A better car? A fancier title? Earning more money?
Even millionaires think they need more. A 2018 Harvard study asked 4,000 millionaires how happy they were, and how much money they’d need to be perfectly happy. The overwhelming answer? Two or three times more than they currently had.
However, I’ve also spent a lot of time around a lot of really old people (some of them fabulously wealthy). And the one regret that keeps coming up is:
“I wish I’d spent less time working, and more time with my family.”
Now I’m sure there are plenty of things pre-marriage counselling didn’t pick up on that I totally suck at.
However, I’m proud to say that I haven’t done a (paid) speaking gig since my kids were born.
And this year my oldest son started school, and he’s coming up for his first school holidays. He’s been excitedly telling me about all the things he wants to do with me … like going camping on the farm, and doing lots of secret boys’ stuff.
That’s why in my last negotiation with this newspaper I told them that from now on I wouldn’t work on school holidays.
There was no negotiation. Take it or leave it.
Now that’s real wealth to me.
See you in two weeks!
Tread Your Own Path!