Ok. Here’s the deal for the day. I want all the younger guys, the newlyweds, the ones dating and the ones who are just reading this hopefully to hear something clearly… The good life doesn’t happen by accident. Happy marriages don’t “just happen.” Financial security is rarely as simple as a lottery ticket. The folks who drift through life have no control of where they end up. They also have no right to complain when they get there.
Time for some grandpa wisdom. Something I didn’t hear when I needed it. Something I probably wouldn’t have listened to anyway.
“If you do whatcha gotta do, when you gotta do it; eventually you can do whatcha wanna do when you wanna do it.”
If you take responsibility for your future. Plan for it. Work for it. Refuse to make excuses. Set goals and pursue them relentlessly. Push as hard as you can while you are young and strong, and eventually, you can drift when you want.
It’s not a foolproof formula. Hard work doesn’t always get rewarded. Nothing guarantees success. Working smarter is always better than working harder, but both can fail and your work can be undone. Sure. But the number of highly successful men who got there by planning and working, is massively different than the number who got there by dumb luck.
Like the lottery. You might have a chance with one ticket out of a million. But if you had a thousand, the odds go way up. More effort, more opportunity. You might get lucky and become successful by accident. But the odds are stacked against you so much that you’d be a fool to even hope for that.
Enjoy life. Have fun. But not at the expense of your future. There’s much more fun to be had with money in the bank and more options. It’s a lot more effort and compromise when there’s a family to support. It’s hard to enjoy a vacation or even the weekend, when those unpaid bills are looming over you.
Guys. There’s a little old man we are all responsible to care for, our entire lives. Ay idea who? You. One day, you will be old. One day your body will resist moving in the ways that come easily now. One day caring for the aches and pains and needs of an old man will be your main responsibility. And if you are married, there will be an old lady to care for, too.
Proverbs 24:27 says, essentially, that we should get our work and business in motion before focusing on building a home. Get the money coming in before you decide how to spend it. Prepare to care for a family before starting one. That’s the better way to do it.
As a husband, I can say that I didn’t do that. I married my wife with almost no money in the bank, no stable job, no college degree, no plans and living in a rented single wide trailer in the worst part of town. It was bad enough that the cops wouldn’t patrol it without a 911 call coming in. Yeah. Really. I asked them.
As a father, that’s the kind of guy I would gladly beat with a stick to keep away from my girls. I didn’t understand any of this at 19 years old. I thought I did. I thought I was a pretty smart feller. But I lived through enough of my decisions to fully understand how bad they were. I made my family suffer through those bad decisions. We are still dealing with some of them, even now.
Proverbs 6 verses 1-19. Laziness. Troublemakers. Liars. Foolishness. All wonderful ways to ruin a life. Read it. In fact, make a habit of reading a chapter of Proverbs everyday. There’s 31. Do the math. Whether you are a Christian or not, there is some incredible common sense wisdom in that book.
If you are already married, get her involved in these plans… Immediately. If you spend weeks, months or years making plans, without her involved, you miss a wealth of opportunity. She is invested in your success. Your success or failure affects her. Make plans together. Get her opinion without defending yours. If the two of you are on the same page, you are virtually unstoppable. It’s also a lot less stressful to find out she doesn’t like your idea before you spend months working on it.
Finally understanding all this solved a lot of problems in my home. I never would have found myself, or my truest passions, without learning to listen to my wife. She knew those answers years ago. It blows my mind to think how much easier this journey would have been if I had learned to talk and listen sooner.
Hard work, careful planning, focus, commitment, decisiveness, ethics, morals, honestly and integrity can’t guarantee success 100% of the time. But, they do stack the odds pretty deep in your favor. They also make you into someone you can be proud of when it’s all said and done. The little old man inside you can be proud of the man you are now. It will also make that little old lady proud and happy to be with you.