In a celebrity culture like ours, the “rich and famous” get most of the attention.
The freak athlete. The shrewd mogul. The talented entertainer. The mesmerizing author. The successful investor. The flamboyant reality star.
Through some combination of genetic gifting, hard work, and dumb luck, these few lucky souls have managed to hit it big. As in “BIG BIG.”
An obsessed public idolizes and envies them. Many think, “I should do what they did and try to become my own brand.”
Never mind that 96% of the people trying to strike it rich as “social media influencers” on YouTube don’t make enough money to reach the U.S. federal poverty line (in 2019 it was $12,140).
Never mind that only about 2% of high school athletes get to play at the college level. That only about 2% of those ever become professionals. Or that only a tiny fraction of those get nine-figure contracts and the chance to date J-Lo.
The myth—“it’s easy to get to Easy Street”—is more popular than ever. And so “get rich quick” schemes flourish.
People of character are wise. They understand the truth that if some financial scheme sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
I hear this kind of wishful thinking in regular folks as they talk to me about money.
- “What do you know about Bitcoin?”
- “Why is AMC stock skyrocketing? Should I get in?”
- “Put me in some really aggressive fund…I’d like to retire by 55…”
- “I want to find something I can do from home and earn passive income…”
All these statements are made with the belief that maybe there is a formula to fast success—reading some financial guru’s book, buying the right stock, doing what that billionaire did, etc.
Can I suggest a better way to success? Granted, it’s not very “sexy” or flashy. But it also doesn’t require movie star good looks, out-of-this-world talent, or catching some of that elusive “lightning in a bottle.”
It’s character. Developing character.
You ask, “What does character have to do with financial success?” Answer: Plenty!
People of character are wise. They understand the truth that if some financial scheme sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is. They grasp (and take advantage of!) powerful financial truths. Amazing realities like “compound interest,” which Einstein called the eighth wonder of the world!
People of character are patient. They know that undesirable things like weeds and mold and debt can grow quickly. But valuable things like being debt-free, building a healthy business, and growing a 401(k) take time.
People of character have self control. They don’t squander their wealth. They are able to say “no” to the lure of instant gratification, and “yes” to the unglamorous discipline of saving and investing.
Finally, people of character are generous and compassionate. They know the truth of the old saying that giving actually brings more joy than receiving.
As you think about your own attempts to earn, grow, and enjoy wealth, you may be tempted to play the “if only” game in your head. If only I had more talent . . . better looks . . .a more engaging personality . . . a better education or better connections. To be sure, such things can give a person a leg up.
But character beats them all. And it’s available to all.
Character isn’t likely to make you a household name, but it will help you develop qualities that lead to financial health and peace.
Looking to build the kind of wealth that lasts?
Start with character.
And if you’d like some practical help in getting on the road to a better financial future, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask for my new, free e-book called “How to Put Money Worries in Your Rear View Mirror.” I’d love to send it to you, then hear what you think about it.
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