It was a hot summer day in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1977, and I was driving to an assigment across town from The Charlotte Observer, the local daily newspaper, where I worked as a staff writer. I listened to a cassette tape by Zip Ziglar, one of my favorite mentors. The following statement from Ziglar triggered a process of new thinking that gave me the key to the good life. Ziglar said: “You can have everything you need and want in life if you’ll just help enough people have what they need and want!” Quickly, I reversed the tape and listened to that statement once more before cutting the player off to ponder what Ziglar had said.
“So,” I thought aloud, “helping causes having, and needs precede wants.”
Now, 30 years later–during a relatively mild summer in North Carolina–as I write this, I credit that shorthand version of Ziglar’s assertion with being the key to the good life. Helping triggers having! Needs precede wants!
In this article, I will share with you the laws that define and govern the good life. I will also outline knowledge you need to live the good life. I will close with three questions to answer to determine if you’re on the road to the good life.
I live the good life! Am I wealthy? Not yet, but during the past 30 years I’ve built a massive foundation to sustain wealth. Now I’m ready to build wealth.
But if I’m not wealthy, how can I describe my lifestyle as the “good life?” First of all, realize that wealth, however you define it, will not make your life good. Money and other resources don’t change your life. They simply allow you to be more of whatever you are. For example, if you’re broke and violent, with money you can afford to be more violent. You see, being precedes doing, and money finances doing. Money will not change being, or who you are.
So let me explain the definition I use for wealth and the relationship between wealth and work.
Wealth is how long you can live a specific lifestyle with no new money coming in. For example, if I have $250,000 in the bank and my monthly expenses total $2,500, I am eight years and four months wealthy! In other words, your ability to manage resources, ie. money, determines your wealth, not how much money you have. Using this formula, a person with $100,000 and monthly expenses of $2,500 is three years and four months wealthy. A person, then, with $50,000, and the same monthly expenses is one year and eight months wealthy. I trust that these examples clarify the point. Resource management and time define wealth, not how much money you have. Conversely, lack of money does not cause poverty. Inadequate planning and money management causes poverty.
Yes, you’ve probably guessed it. I define work differently, too.
Work is a variety of ways you enjoy helping people have what they need and want and for which they’re willing to pay. Every day I help people learn how to be successful. I define S.U.C.C.E.S.S. as striving until clear, comprehensive, empowerment secures stability. I will save a detailed explanation of that definition for another article. Suffice it to say that I teach customers to understand success as a lifelong process of serving others, rather than a retirement destination.
Okay, given that, if I apply these principles in my life, why am I not wealthy, and what makes this the good life?
I am not yet wealthy because I have crafted a wealth vision statement that says: “I will be wealthy when I can finance a $50,000 monthly lifestyle for 20 years, while giving $35,200 of those monthly expenses to others. I will give $22,000 each month to my former wife who hung in there with me for 22 years as I struggled to change. I will give each of our sons $5,000 per month so they can have a monthly “pump primming” for success. I will give two people who aided me during two years of homelessness $2,000 and $1,200 each respectively to demonstrate how much I appreciate their help. That’s the $35,200 I will give away each month. My personal monthly expenses will total $14,800. To sustain this vision for 20 years requires $12 million.
I am on my way to wealth because I know how to accomplish this. Here is my wealth creation mission statement: “Between 2007 and 2012, I will help 400 individuals and families earn at least $200,000 each as homebased business owners. I will earn a 20 percent commission for helping them, which totals $16 million. I will cap expenses for this vision as $4 million, or 25 percent. This means, in a practical sense, that for every $40,000 commission I earn for helping a person achieve $200,000 in revenue as a HBBO, I invest $30,000 into the family foundation. When I’ve done that 400 times, I have the $12 million I need to finance the 20-year lifestyle I’ve envisioned.
Well, since I will be 65-years-old this year, will I live to be 90-years-old, which is how long I would have to live to accomplish this? Yes, I will! I will explain how I know that in a future article. Now, though, why should you care about this?
First, please understand that the good life does not just happen. You must plan it. Planning the good life means to learn, understand and apply the 12 laws that define and govern it. We begin with the five good life planning laws.
1. Acquire and use the key to the good life. The key says: helping causes having; needs precede wants.
2. Understand and plan for wealth. If you become a people helper before you are wealthy, when you’re wealthy, you will be empowered to help more.
3. Help a large and expanding group of people to have what they need and want.
4. Learn how to organize your work into automated systems that function efficiently and effectively whether you or someone else push the buttons.
5. Write your good life plan because an unwritten plan cannot be followed.
Those are the good life planning laws. Here are the seven good life operational laws.
6. Get started
7. Develop a powerful “why” statement for your venture into success and wealth.
8. Become and remain teachable and coachable.
9. Learn and master systems and processs thinking.
10. Learn to work S.M.A.R.T.
11. Learn to work hard.
12. Never quit!
I use three “road signs” if you will to reaffirm that I’m living the good life on this journey to wealth.
1. Do I know where I’m going and have I planned to arrive?
2. Do I have a correct “map” to my destination?
3. Do I understand and apply the laws of this trip?
When you can truthfully answer a resounding and confident “yes” to each of those questions, you’re living the good life!