Have You Built A Better You?

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  Douglas Adams, The Long, Dark, Tea-time of the Soul.

Life is not a linear problem.  The things you need to know today, you may not learn until next year, or perhaps you’ll never learn them.  Successful living is about making do and compromise.  It is about the joy of achievement, even an unintended one, gratitude for the good in life and appreciation of the work and value of others.

It is especially about accepting life and its lessons.

Looking back with regret is a mistake.  You could look up Ronald Wayne and one of his decisions.

Woulda, coulda, and shoulda don’t matter any more.  You are who you are because of your decisions and because of the lessons you drew from them.  The only serious life mistakes that you can make are to fail to learn from your mistakes and to fail to appreciate what you have become.

Douglas Adams was right.  We often do not reach the goals we think will work for us because all goals are formed in the present and achieved in the future.  When we reach the future we will have new experiences and knowledge that will condition who and what we want to be.  It is a mistake to refuse to amend our goals as we learn more.  At about 11, one of my son’s friends had the goal of being the leader of a hugely successful rock band and to play in the NHL.  I doubt his life has led to this immature goal, but I’ll believe he is okay with where it did lead.

Every decision and every goal is based on what you know today, what resources you have today, and what desires you have today.  None of those factors will persist.  Where you end up will involve the things you experience and learn in the interim.

People become confused about how they are doing and especially by how much better they should be doing.  There is a good reason for that.  They don’t know the standard.  Part of the standard is comparison and part of the standard is knowing yourself and your reasonable outcomes.

Knowing yourself is an ongoing task.  Be sure to spend some time on it.

Comparison is easier.  Comparing in two ways may be a little helpful.  Compare both up and down.  People who are doing better than you are on whatever metric you think is important and people who are doing not as well.  Understand the reasons for each and amend your tactics to either avoid or take advantage of what you learn.

The risk in comparison is that you will not assess enough of the available metrics.  Is someone who has achieved greater wealth than you, but at the cost of a chaotic family life or poor health, truly better off?

Maybe you could adopt a GE strategic management idea.  Look at the problem/opportunity from many viewing points, but study only one aspect at a time.  That way, you can learn many lessons.  You can balance the successes in one viewing point against the failures in another before deciding what to do.

Discover here is how I could gain wealth AND preserve my health and family while I do it.  Or maybe, I would learn how to preserve my health and in the process adapt to living with less wealth.

Live is many faceted.  People tend to get down on themselves by faulty comparisons.  There is likely no one in the world who is, or could have been, a better you.

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Contact: don@moneyfyi.com  |  Follow Twitter   @DonShaughnessy

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

2 Comments on “Have You Built A Better You?

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