January 4, 2011

A New Year’s Resolution for 2011: Make Money. Be Happy.

Have you heard of the book Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill? It’s one of my favorite inspirational reads and even though it was first published in 1937, the book’s primary message, getting what you want through visualization, hard work and a positive attitude, still rings true today.

Even better than that book though, is the sequel to Think and Grow Rich which was published 40 years after the original. You see, in 1967 an 84-year old Hill had come to a slightly different conclusion about the role of work in our lives and what success really meant. Its title: Grow Rich—with Peace of Mind.

After a lifetime of fame, riches and service as an advisor to three presidents, the elderly Hill began to whistle a different tune: be successful—but have a life, too. Hill’s not pitching a 4-hour workweek here, but suggests that one of the best ways to achieve peace of mind is to make a time budget.

Spread out over a 24-hour day, his time budget looks like this:

  • * 8 hours a day for sleep and rest
  • * 8 hours a day for work at your profession (but as your success grows, work less than 8 hours)
  • * 8 “particularly precious” hours “devoted to things you wish to do, not have to do.”

Hill’s suggestions for the final 8 hours include: “play, social life, reading, writing, playing a musical instrument, tending a garden, or just sitting and watching the clouds or the stars.” You can add to that downtime with the family, prayer, yoga, cooking, sex or any of the stuff that makes you happy.

And Hill is very serious about the “8 precious hours”. He further amplifies that message with this passage:

“Do not let a day go by without taking some time for yourself — some time you spend in pure pleasure, as you see it.”

He adds that with increasing business success:

“You should increase your hours of pure enjoyment. Do not allow these hours to be eaten away by business or anything else.”

The bottom line is that sure, we all need to make money. But in the year ahead, let’s remind those who need reminding (including ourselves) that success is measured by more than the money in our bank accounts. It’s measured by the richness of our lives.

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