The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.
- Marcel Proust
The single most important element of personal finance is patience. Financial independence isn’t built in a single day – it takes many years of consistent, patient work to build the foundation necessary for money success. Whether you choose to take the route of earning more through building an impressive career or a stellar business or you focus on spending less through frugality and strong spending choices – or you do both – it’s still a long, long road.
That road can sometimes seem really dull. When we make the hard choices day in and day out, it can feel long and painful. When we stay up late at night trying to break through with career success while others are kicked back and relaxed, it can feel incredibly difficult.
And when these sacrifices happen day in and day out, it can begin to feel we are missing out on life. We’re stuck in a rut of doing the same old thing.
I’ve struggled with this very thing many times during my financial recovery and my career rebirth. There have been times when I’ve wanted to simply step back from my work and just take it easy. There have been times when I’ve wanted to take my emergency fund and go splurge on some things.
It’s those times when I step back, recharge, and try to look at things through new eyes.
I look at things through my own eyes if I stopped on this path. After the initial rush, I would be deeply disappointed with myself. I would hate that I let myself down. I would hate that I let others down. All I’d have to show for it is a few nights of relaxation or a few material items I didn’t really need.
I look at things through the eyes of my wife. She does so many things to keep our family running. She relies on me to provide a solid income for our family so that she can continue to do what she’s passionate about (teaching and taking care of her children).
I look at things through the eyes of my children. It’s up to me to take care of them, both now (making a good income, teaching them, and setting a positive life example for them) and later (having sources of income so they don’t have to take care of me in my dotage).
I look at things through the eyes of my readers. I know from many conversations with readers that the articles I write have a positive impact on their lives. If I quit doing that, it might not be devastating to them, but it would be the loss of something positive.
When you begin to look at what you give to the world through the eyes of those truly important to you, you often strive to not only maintain the positive things you’re doing, but to push yourself to do even better. Your choices impact those who are most important to you and when you step back and realize the impact you have by making certain choices, it’s often an incredibly powerful motivator to do the right thing.
When I play with my daughter and look into her shining eyes, I wonder what she sees. I hope it’s a good thing.