Many years ago, I unfortunately joined one of those multi-level marketing companies. It boasted many benefits that other companies didn’t have and promised a certain amount of generous residual income, based on how hard I was willing to work. As is usually the norm with these types of organizations, I had to give up work shifts in order to make certain info sessions, surrender money of my own to “invest” in the company and it’s products and I was “encouraged” to push my family and friends into signing up!
Obviously, I didn’t stick with the company for very long. I have this thing about putting in a lot of hard work and not getting paid for it! Plus, if you’re really committed to these “companies”, you tend to lose your friends and alienate your family rather quickly. But the point is, during one of the first info sessions I attended, the speaker used a tactic that’s quite popular in those types of forums. He asked the guests what they planned to do once they accumulated some wealth. This gets the guest daydreaming a little bit and helps them focus on working harder on the company.
Most people provided answers that one would expect; buying a larger home or taking destination vacations… When the speaker landed on me and asked what I would do with accumulated wealth, I provided an answer that threw them for a loop.
ME: I would buy a coffee.
SPEAKER: You would buy a coffee…? (look of awkward confusion on his face)
(Bear in mind that I was holding a cup of hot coffee, which had been provided for me at the info session.)
SPEAKER: That’s interesting, but perhaps you’d like to explain what you mean by that?
ME: Certainly. I don’t want to be rich. I don’t need to be rich. I simply need to be happy. If one is happy, then everything else in life can come in its own time. When I can make the amount of income necessary to allow me to stop and buy a simple cup of coffee every morning without worrying about my finances, then I will have achieved that happiness. Because if that cup of coffee gets me going and puts a smile on my face, then the rest of the day can be tackled with a better frame of mind. Therefore, I would use any accumulated wealth to buy myself a cup of coffee. Every morning.
SPEAKER: Uhh,… that’s interesting. Let’s move on…
I got the typical confused look I often get from people when I start getting philosophical in a public setting, and it took almost a full minute before people’s attention refocused on the speaker, once he stopped giving me a look that said he thought I was a random weirdo who walked in off the street (a look I’ve gotten more often than I care to admit!)
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Life is a Journey. Not a Destination.” We often get so caught up in making goals and struggling to get to the finish line that we overlook the scenery along the way.
It’s important to remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with shooting for the stars. Ambition and goals are an important part of life and the gratification that can accompany reaching those goals can be immeasurable.
But there is also nothing wrong with taking your time, making plans and taking time to stop and smell the roses. Life is a fleeting thing. On the cosmic scale, we aren’t here for all that long. So make sure you’ve made it possible to stop and buy your cup of coffee. Every morning. That little slice of happiness may be just what you need to get through the obstacles ahead! ☯