“Live Like No One Else So You Can Live Like No One Else”

The title of this article is my favorite single thing that Dave Ramsey has ever written.

The idea here is pretty simple: if you live in a challenging way right now, you’ll be able to enjoy incredible opportunities and advantages later. Almost every person who has accomplished something great in their life went through some very challenging period (or periods) to get there: executing obsessive hours of practice, living in poverty or near-poverty, spending countless late nights building up a project, and so on.

Often, we don’t see the hard work behind success.

We see the financially successful person and are envious of their money, overlooking what got them there. We see Bill Gates’ billions, but we forget that he spent his teen years, college years, and early adulthood glued to a computer.

We see the people who are incredibly skilled in a certain area and are astonished at their talent. What we forget is that, usually, it took obsessive amounts of boring and difficult practice to hone that skill – it’s rarely God-given talent.

We see people who are famous and grumble about how on earth that person could possibly have fame and wealth. Often, we forget that the person we see is often working very hard to get to that point, then to put on a good show for us, both in their actual performance and in how they “present” themselves to the public. (Yes, this usually does include the reality star du jour.)

We see the person down the street who has signs of material wealth and feel some pangs of jealousy in our gut. We usually forget that they’ve either sacrificed their past to get there (by working a lot of hours, studying very hard, or living very lean) or sacrificed their future to get there (via debt).

Almost always, when we see something exceptional that someone else has done, they have made a tremendous sacrifice of some kind to get there.

It’s because that kind of sacrifice is unusual that we find such success to be unusual. Most people don’t live as cheaply as they could. Most people don’t spend every evening and weekend for years launching a side business. Most people don’t practice their musical instrument for six hours a day for years. Most people don’t pull consistent all-nighters to nail some key projects, putting them in place for a big promotion. Most people don’t make their own laundry detergent.

And, unsurprisingly, most people don’t find exceptional success.

Each day, we have a choice. We can choose to continue to be in the same situation we’re in. Or, we can choose to start a very long journey with a single step. That journey will take a long time, but when we get to the other end, we’ll find ourselves in a completely different place than we’re at right now. Along the way, we’ll walk some roads that are completely different than the ones we’re used to.

The question is where you want to be and what you’re willing to do to get there.

When I look at some of the goals I’ve set for this year – improving my piano playing skills, reading challenging books, and getting into better shape – I see this very issue popping up. Am I willing to live in a different way, filling my free time with these types of tasks, or am I happy just being complacent and wondering why other people are successful at their goals while I’m not?

It’s up to me to be different.

Are you happy just continuing things the way they are right now? Or are you ready to live like no one else so that you can live like no one else?

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45 thoughts on ““Live Like No One Else So You Can Live Like No One Else”

  1. Josh says:

    Good article, but I have to admit I chuckled pretty hard at the laundry detergent plug.

  2. Ginger says:

    Interesting, and makes me want to get off my butt and make some changes for the better.

  3. Agreed with #1 Josh.

    I will disagree that the exceptional person rarely has “god given” talent. I agree with the hard work part, but no matter how hard some people work, they will never be exceptional without some “talent”.

    I’m of the opinion that it takes a combination of hard work and talent to be exceptional.
    I think we can be better than average with hard work alone, but not exceptional a la the Bill Gates example.

  4. Johanna says:

    Again, the world doesn’t always work like this. Not everyone who makes sacrifices is rewarded for it. And not everyone who accomplishes something great has sacrificed for it – at least, not to the same degree. (And oftentimes, I’ll bet, the things they “sacrificed” were things they didn’t really want in the first place.)

    I’m not saying this to be a grumbler. If anything, I’m *more* successful in my life than I would deserve to be in this view of the world – I may not have accomplished anything truly great (at least, not yet…) but I’ve accomplished a lot, and I’ve sacrificed relatively little.

    True, I spent most of my adolescense with my nose in some math book or other, but that’s because I enjoyed it – that was my idea of fun at the time. And I spent five years of my twenties living on a grad-student stipend, but my stipend was more than a lot of people earn for doing jobs that I wouldn’t want to do (and will probably never have to).

    The things I’ve accomplished are mostly things that come easily to me (and I know that they come more easily to me than to some other people). And when I’ve worked hard to improve some skill or other, it’s usually because I found the practice itself to be enjoyable at some level.

    It sounds, Trent, like you really want to believe that the universe metes out equal amounts of pleasure and suffering to anyone, and that it only looks unequal because of things you’re not seeing, but that’s not actually true. Some people really are privileged over others. Life really isn’t fair.

  5. Katie says:

    Of course, the answer could be “No, I’m not willing to live like no one else now to ‘live like no one else’ later,” and that’s okay too. No rule saying being exceptional will ultimately make you happier than being average and content.

  6. Johanna says:

    And Katie, as usual, makes a really good point too.

  7. Justin says:

    AWESOME POST! It reminds me of the phrase “Entrepeneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

  8. Michelle says:

    I totally agree with Katie. I have a job I love, enough saved for a rainy day, and I’m pretty happy where I am. And no, I don’t want to live like no one else now so I can live like no one else later. Not everyone’s dreams revolve around having billions in the bank, and their own business. Some of us want a comfortable life for most of our life, and are completely happy being average.

    Stop acting like you’re morally superior because you make your own deteregent. I buy Tide for $1.50 a bottle by pairing coupons and sales. I don’t look down my nose at you, so stop acting like making your own detergent makes you more deserving of success than me.

    And the random bold phrases are getting annoying. Please stop.

  9. A.J. says:

    “Most people don’t live as cheaply as they could.”

    Don’t most people live on something like $1.37 per day? I’d be willing to bet they’re living pretty close to ‘as cheaply as they could’. This is a pretty Eurocentric viewpoint.

  10. marta says:

    Re: laundry detergent. In my case, that expense is so negligible that the constant mention of making one’s own laundry detergent as a superior frugal tactic never works for me.

    Then again, I manage to run just one load a week by doing stuff such as not mingling clean clothes with dirty laundry in the hamper…

    R: article. I have to agree with Johanna here. Life is not a fairy tale.

  11. Anna says:

    I don’t normally comment here but I thought I’d chime in and point out that I’ve noticed the morally superior tone here too. It’s like you’re trying to inspire us, but instead come across as your own personal cheerleader. This happens occasionally in your articles.

    I stay because overall your articles are very good and I enjoy them, but the occasional smugness is off-putting.

  12. Jules says:

    Odd how the next post will turn right around and suggest that anybody who has anything nice is in debt and hasn’t done anything to earn it.

  13. Susan says:

    Trent – you forgot to mention that here in Seattle, Gates is from one of the wealthiest neighborhoods and attended probably the most prestigious high school in Seattle (Lakeside). He is not from humble beginnings – I don’t think the sacrifices are quite the same as the daughter of a gas station attendant. Make no mistake – Gates is one of the best men in the world and extremely generous and humble….but, he has never been a disadvantaged person who scraped his way to the top.
    Must chime in on the laundry detergent. You are not superior because you make your own detergent. Also, please remember that a lot of the US is not like rural Iowa.

  14. Tanya says:

    LOL to the laundry detergent banter. No, I don’t make my own detergent, but I did clean my bathroom with vinegar thanks to a tip from another frugal blogger. Smaller points aside, we all need a vision for our lives, and I think that blog makes this point well. It’s too easy to get pulled into the busyness of daily life and forget what it is we really wanted. Reminders to keep moving in the direction of our goals and dreams are always good.

  15. Laura in Seattle says:

    Excellent post.

    By the way, I was reading the paragraph that begins “It’s because that kind of sacrifice is unusual that we find such success to be unusual” and thinking “Yeah, but Trent, do YOU do those things??” when suddenly, there was the laundry detergent. So I was actually happy to see it there, because it’s an example from your own life, that works for you, rather than a bunch of hypothetical examples that I was ready to dismiss with a “well, you don’t do it so why should I”.

  16. Lisa says:

    I get that the overall message of this post is supposed to be that you shouldn’t expect things to just happen for you, you have to put effort forward to make them happen. It’s just that the way this message was presented, saying “Most people” and “We”, comes off as a giant overgeneralization and I can see why people would view that as condescending.

    Personally, I would grumble about reality stars like Snooki or various YouTube celebrities being famous just because I don’t like what that says about fame.

    Also, it’s possible to believe someone’s talent is astonishing and at the same time realize that they had to work hard to develop that talent. And it’s possible to be envious of something someone has and still realize what work they had to do to get it.

  17. Steven says:

    I think a distinction should be made between living in poverty (as in, BEING in poverty) and living LIKE you were in poverty. There’s a pretty huge difference…

    But maybe you really did mean what you wrote, I guess I can’t really be sure. I have been in poverty. Real poverty. Homeless. Not the self-induced, I’m depriving myself of my Starbucks Mocha Latte…that’s not poverty. Not buying a pair of designer jeans isn’t poverty.

    Not having a place to live, nor any income with no idea of how you’ll find your next meal…that is poverty. What we consider “poverty” and what I think you are talking about in this article are nowhere near what it means to live in poverty.

  18. valleycat1 says:

    I’m with the others who have commented here that just because you put in exceptional effort doesn’t automatically lead to exceptional success. My problem with Dave Ramsey is that he promotes being prudent financially now so that in the future you can pay cash for the same lifestyle you’ve shunned (that others have gone into debt for & been able to enjoy all those years you were saving). Now, I’m not totally a grasshopper or totally an ant, but I’m an ant that likes to have some fun now because you never know how much longer you’ll be on this earth.

    Also, this quote doesn’t make any sense without knowing about the implied ‘now’ and ‘later.’

  19. CB says:

    When I saw a photo of Ramsey’s over-the-top enormous house, he lost validity for me. What kind of ego needs that house? The environmental costs are enormous.

    Gates mother was a lawyer and his father a prominent businessman. He came from a prominent family at least two generations back.

    The hard work that people expend is not as easy to observe as the end result!

    Trader Joes’s sells a laundry detergent that is condensed and not expensive. Environmentally sound. Add that to the fact that most clothes are holding a lot of embedded detergent, so even less is needed.

  20. Riki says:

    Trent’s view of a frugal lifestyle kind of reminds me of the “noble savage” concept.

    These articles bore me.

  21. Alice says:

    I wish I had been aware of Dave Ramsey twenty years ago when I was making a mess out of my finances.

    The thing I learned from reading Ramsey is that there are usually choices that may not be apparent. In the context of this blog, it never occurred to me that it was possible to make laundry detergent. While doing so is not practical for me, it makes me think about other everyday things I might be able to make to save money.

    For example: the homemade yogurt from a few weeks ago – I’m planning to try the recipe, I had no idea it was that easy (and since I go through a lot of yogurt, I expect to save money, but more importantly, will be able to control what’s in the yogurt).

  22. SwingCheese says:

    #4 Johanna is correct. I watched a dear family member try for years to start his own business. His methods were sound – he was responsible for developing the materials that a very successful firm, doing the same sort of work, still use to this day. He worked like a dog – days, nights, weekends. In home, out of home. In area, out of area. He worked and worked until he’d run through his saving, then took a full-time job, but continued to work on this business on the side. It was his passion. He did this for almost 20 years until he finally gave up, never having broken even, let alone turned a profit.

    Sometimes you can put in all the hours, do everything right, and still not be successful. As other commenters have pointed out, life isn’t fair. Success is often the interaction of luck, along with practice and talent.

  23. Claire says:

    Just a reply to #18 – hubby & I have been married for 41 years. We have always lived prudently, way below our means & now ‘can live like no one else’ if we choose, but we DON’T. He drives an 11-year old, hail-battered car that runs well, my own vehicle is 10. We’ve discovered that we just don’t want a lot of stuff, or a mega-mansion like Dave’s. What we do want is to give to families & charities & to be grateful that we will not have to rely on our children, or the government, when we’re 80.

  24. Nicole says:

    Of course there are people who get screwed by life, and people who stumble bass-ackwards into success for no good reason. But this post isn’t about them. Nor am I certain they are the rule.

    There’s a story about a famous violinist (the name always changes, but it doesn’t really matter; let’s say it was Perlman) approached by a concertgoer who was gushing, “I’d give my life to play like you!” Perlman replies, “I did!”

    I agree with Katie: it’s not necessary for everyone to be exceptional at everything (in fact, I think it is a hugely important life skill to be able to prioritize). But again, this post is about the exceptional. I thought that I was rather quick to read tone into print, but I’m afraid for a second time I don’t quite get what folks are so defensive about. I doubt many people would come here to read this blog if they didn’t see something they want to emulate — a dream, even. Somebody who cast off the yoke and followed a passion. Since so many people end up putting security before real fulfillment for one reason or another, that’s rather exceptional. I don’t think there’s a need for false or excessive modesty. Right? Wrong?

  25. Lauren says:

    Valleycat– I’m glad I’m not the only who thinks this quote as written is nonsensical. It has always annoyed me because without knowing the implied now and later, it basically says nothing. On it’s face, the quote isn’t inspiring to some just starting to get their finances in order.

  26. Kate says:

    While I enjoy listening to Dave Ramsey occasionally on the radio and think he has good advice, I don’t understand his need to accumulate such large amounts of wealth. My feeling is that if he is as devout as he claims that he would live simply and give most of it away.

  27. deRuiter says:

    Johannah, You’re correct, “Life really isn’t fair.” That’s how the world is. On the other hand, generally, the harder you work, the luckier you get. There are some people who work hard and fail. Sometimes the failure is due to outside influences, but sometimes because they are doing a thing wrong, or have chosen a poor idea. I don’t care how much effort you put into your buggy whip factory, how much time, how much dedication, you are most likely going to fail. As for Dave Ramsey, he’s a stunning success now, but he failed at his first real estate ventures and plunged into debt. Dave Ramsey is a magnificent example of how to succeed by thrift, hard work, A GREAT IDEA, and he deserves every penny he’s earned. Dave Ramsey Inc (or whatever his enterprise is called) employs a lot of people, they earn their living because Dave Ramsey makes a ton of money and they get part of it working for him. How many jobs do you create and maintain so others may earn their living from you? Trent’s had the same good luck to pick a blog about finance and attract a lot of mostly liberal, fairly recent college grads, plus others to read his blog so he earns money. If Trent had picked a different subject for a blog, he would most likely not be a success at blogging. Trent worked at his blog, and he was fortunate that he picked the right topic. See? A combination of hard work and luck pays off again! Trent is Dave Ramsey in miniature.

  28. Esme says:

    #24 has hit the nail on the head.
    It amazes me that people spend thier precious time reading things that ‘ bore them’. There are dozens of other of blogs out there if this one bores you. I understand adding to or debating the topic but whining is just juvenile. Sheesh.

  29. Kevin says:

    “Am I willing to live in a different way, filling my free time with these types of tasks, or am I happy just being complacent and wondering why other people are successful at their goals while I’m not?”

    This is a false dichotomy. It ignores a third possibility: I’m happy being complacent, and I UNDERSTAND that that may preclude me from achieving the kind of success other people experience.

    I make enough money. Why would I bust my rear pushing myself to some arbitrary benchmark of “success” if I’d rather just kick back and spend time with my family? That doesn’t mean I “wonder why other people are more successful than me.” I fully understand why. I just might not be willing to make the same sacrifice/reward value exchange that they are.

    There’s such thing as having “enough.”

  30. Kevin says:

    @CB: “When I saw a photo of Ramsey’s over-the-top enormous house, he lost validity for me. What kind of ego needs that house?”

    What does “need” have to do with anything?

    Are you saying that everybody should only ever spend their money on things they absolutely “need?” What should we do with the rest? Give it to you?

    Of course Dave doesn’t “need” a house as big as the one he has. Neither do I. Neither do you. So what? As long as we pay our bills, and it’s not hurting anyone else, isn’t that all that matters?

    And for what it’s worth, Dave’s house is paid-for. It doesn’t have a mortgage. The vast majority of his neighbors (and yours, and mine) do. So who’s got the bigger ego? The one who actually HAS the cash to pay for their home, or the one who buys a home bigger than they can afford (thus necessitating a mortgage)?

  31. getagrip says:

    Trent had me pretty well until the mentioning of laundry detergent. Really? So making deer jerky at home involves sacrifice and makes someone successful too?

    Sigh, I hope that was put in as a pun. To me Ramsey’s message is about finances, in that we all have to make something to live, and by exercising some restraint in our lives up front, we can better chose what to focus our resources on later in life (regardless of the size of those resources). That said, I think the most telling line in the above article is:

    “The question is where you want to be and what you’re willing to do to get there.”

    If you want more, plan out how you can get what you want and execute the plan. You may fail, you may have to sacrifice a lot, but if you don’t try, you sit there wanting more forever. If you aren’t willing to do what it takes, then give it up or pick another desire.

    If you are generally where you want to be in life, then in many ways, you’re done and enjoy the dickens out of what you have. You might have small things you want to do, some goals to keep from getting bored, but otherwise enjoy what you have and are achieving.

  32. David says:

    It occurs to me to wonder what would happen if everyone took this advice. Six billion or so people each living like no one else is an awful lot of unique lifestyles. There lived a King, as I’ve been told, in the wonder-working days of old…

  33. SwingCheese says:

    I wasn’t trying to whine. I was merely pointing out that luck is essential for success. What I call “earned luck” (i.e., someone has put in the time to acquire skills to allow them to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they come along) actually occurs quite frequently. I myself have been the recipient of this kind of luck. It just drives me nuts to hear hard work and practice will pay off and you will be uber-successful. Not true: you will be in a much better position to take advantage of opportunities, but even then, you might not be successful. Sometimes it just isn’t going to happen for you. Is this the rule? No, I don’t think it is. But it is still a valid point.

  34. Telephus44 says:

    Thanks David #32. Everytime I read an article with “you too can be exceptional!” in it, all I can think of it the scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian – with the entire crowd repeating back in unison “Yes, we are all individuals. We all have to work it out for ourselves.”

    I am happy being complacent. I am happy working my 8-5 job. I am not going to spend 6 hours a day playing a musical instrument, pull all nighter’s to finish a key project, or make my own laundry detergent. I am happy with not being exceptional. This isn’t sarcasm, but this is how I feel about my life right now.

  35. Evangeline says:

    There is a lot o snipping in these replies. Maybe Trent sounds a little superior. Maybe Johanna sounds like a curmudgeon. There are quite a few missing the main point: Sacrifice something now so you can reap the reward later. Yes, Trent is referring to finances. However it can be applied to anything. Take education, for example. Sacrifice four years of very hard work so that in the future you can have a job you truly enjoy. Would you really condone your child rationalizing “I’m not going to college because I might not live long enough to get that great job.”
    We should take this post in the vein in which it was meant.

  36. Jonathan says:

    I’d like to address a couple of items.

    First, regarding Michelle’s (#8) suggestion – please do not stop using bold to highlight what you consider important points of the article. While I did read this article in its entirety, I do not always do so. The bold helps me to skim the article to get the key points without reading the whole thing. I often find myself immediately clicking the back button on other sites when I go to a lengthy article that does not use formatting to allow the reader to skim to see if they feel the article is relevant enough to read.

    Second, the majority of comments to this article are kind of depressing. Trent writes what should be an inspirational article, but so many people are choosing to view it negatively. To all of the nay-sayers I just want to say that, Yes, you can succeed with sacrifice, hard work, and a positive attitude. If you prefer to keep your defeatist attitude instead, then there isn’t much anyone can do for you. That being the case, I’ll just offer my sympathy.

  37. Carole says:

    I remember reading in one of M. Scott Peck’s books that he thought the worst psychological problem was laziness. People would think “I’m not mechanical” and not try to learn how to do anything mechanical when with more effort than someone who was “mechanical” they could learn. Perhaps this is what Trent was saying in another way.

  38. Jonathan says:

    @Kevin (#29) – This comment actually applies to others as well, but Kevin’s comment made the best springboard.

    Many people have different ideas of success. What Kevin describes here seems to make him happy. Therefore, I would consider it a success. I don’t see why anyone needs to judge their own success by someone else’s definition.

    My goal is to save up enough money and reduce my costs enough that I can quit my corporate job and live off of approximately $1,000/month. Assuming I reach that goal, my life would seem like a colossal failure if judged based on most other people’s definitions of success. For me, however, it would be a great success. I’m working hard now so I can live the life of my choosing down the road. This is my understanding of the Ramsey quote. The sacrifices and end result will vary for everyone.

  39. Tracy says:

    See, my issue is that financial and fulfillment goals … aren’t always the same.

    Ramsay was talking about eliminating wasteful spending now – so that you aren’t drowning in debt in the future.

    When it comes to personal life and goals – things Trent describes as “improving my piano playing skills, reading challenging books, and getting into better shape” – the idea of sacrifice just doesn’t work for me. These are all things where the journey should NOT be considered a sacrifice. They’re all good things, but the act of getting there should be rewarding in and of itself.

    This reads like you don’t actually get anything OUT of reading challenging books, except the fact that you check them off a list. (And that’s the one goal you’re on track with, if I remember, you’re actually not making your other goals at all – but do you want to just magically be able to play the piano or are you actively enjoying the learning and the music? The healthy one, ok, I think a lot of people would just like to be healthy without effort, but – are you not ENJOYING feeling stronger every day you work out? A lot of people do exercise for the love of it.)

    Even with Bill Gates. Not only did he come from a wealthy family, but for him, spending “teen years, college years, and early adulthood glued to a computer” – that wasn’t a sacrifice! That was his passion, that’s what he loved. He just happened to be incredibly fortunate that his passion and timing happened to hit just at the right time. A difference of a few years would have changed his story completely.

    I’m not going to sacrifice things I love now so that I might get some intangible reward in the future. I’m going to live and love my life now and by working on things that matter to me, I’ll continue to enrich my life and never stop doing things that matter to me. I don’t want to wait for some ‘later’.

  40. Evita says:

    I am with Tracy (#39). The notion of “sacrifice” in that post really irked me.

    Successful people put a lot of time and effort at something that they clearly love, it is not sacrifice to them.

    In my younger years, I put thousands of hours of piano, flute and oboe practice. I did not sacrifice anything, I couldn’t wait to get back to my instruments. And what brings me back to exercise everyday is the way it makes me feel: strong and clear-minded.

    Life is so short, I just hope that Trent finds a little pleasure in reading, practicing and making laundry detergent !!

  41. Annie says:

    I agree with Joahanna and Katie on this 100%.

    I just have to add a comment that me personally, I don’t want to live super cheap today for a wealthier someday years from now. I rather have nice things and opportunities now then when i am 45 or 50. Life is half over for me then and I won’t have as much energy to drive a nice car long distance with the top down or wear nice clothes taylored becasue i don’t plan to look like a 20year old when i am 45/50. This is not an insult to others who look good at that age, i am talking me personally. So for me it’s working hard right now to live responsibly and not take on unnecessary debt but if you do to make your choices more carefully and buy nice things so it will last long and you won’t have to save up for the same thing year after year. My savings is growing tremendously with this effort becasue i am more conscious of my spending and i spend on nice things that last a long time.

  42. Doug says:

    I can’t see anything wrong with Ramsey’s advice. It’s kinda funny that people seem to think it’s all about money.

    Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else.

    Sacrifice now, so you can do what you want later.

    Maybe that means money. Maybe that means donating 100% of your time to your favorite charity. Maybe it means starting a non-profit.

    Why do people assume it has to be about money?

    What do people do now that hurts them? They live beyond their means. They fall for the “save two months salary for an engagement ring” line. “Everyone gets student loans, you should too.” So, live like no one else; i.e. live below your income, don’t get student loans when you can simply work through school, don’t do all the stupid stuff that everyone else does. Everyone else leaves early on Friday. Why are you? “Average” and “normal” are “broke and stupid.” Don’t be average and normal.

    Later, you can live like no one else. Travel. Go on a Greenpeace whale-watching expedition. Spend time with your grandkids without worrying about whether your social security check is gonna arrive or not.

    Guess who didn’t have any problems during this recession? People with no debt and an emergency fund. People with paid for houses. People who sacrificed in the past, so today’s troubles are mere speedbumps.

  43. Johanna says:

    @Doug: I don’t see why you think people are assuming that it’s all about money, when this very post is about ways in which it might not be about money. (E.g., sacrifice now by boring yourself out of your mind to build some skill so that you can do something great with that skill later.)

    The obvious thing that’s wrong with the advice is that it’s always “now.” It’s never “later.” So if you keep following the advice, you’re always sacrificing, and you’re never reaping the benefits of your sacrifices.

    That’s why people are saying that you’ve got to get some pleasure out of the journey as well. If you love to play the piano, then practicing for an hour each day is not a sacrifice – it’s a pleasure. And if you don’t love to play the piano, maybe you’d be better off working on some different skill in something you do love. Then, if that skill leads to you doing something truly great, that’s awesome, but even if it doesn’t, you’ve still spent your life doing what you love.

  44. Anne says:

    “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.”
    – Barry Switzer

    I have a co-worker who is tall, handsome, smart and athletic. He was born to upper-middle class parents, went to the best schools, and an excellent private college. He married a woman who’s father has a great number of connections that help him in his chosen profession.

    Yes, he worked hard, really hard, to achieve this level of success. But he never acknowledges or even UNDERSTANDS that he had advantages most people just don’t have. Just being a white male in America is a huge advantage – and please don’t rag on me and call me racist. You don’t have to be racist to make the observation.

  45. Anne says:

    I posted my email too quickly and didn’t really get to my point, which is that hard work combined with luck is what makes success. Priorities and hard work and willingness to make sacrifices are all important. But sometimes things are fair. Sometimes you get cancer. And get it again. Or have a seriously ill child. Or have a serious car accident. And all of those things can put a person back at square one. Every frugal tactic ever employed doesn’t change the monstrous costs of cancer, even with an 80/20 insurance plan.

    Having said all that, I’m trying to live like no one else so I can live like no one else.

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