A priority of this blog is to write about priorities…doing things in the order of their importance.
The title mostly relates to prioritizing the use of money, but I also enjoy studying how to prioritize our other resources: time and ourselves. The three major resources of life are: Money, Time, Ourselves.What do I mean by ourselves? — self-improvement, sanctification, becoming a better human being.
My original idea was “Tithe 1st, Pay Yourself 2nd, Live 3rd.” Here’s how I explained it:
I came across the “Pay yourself first” concept a couple years ago and wanted to spin it for those who tithe the first of their income. I’ll explain more about “paying yourself first,” but first why should we tithe?
Tithe is simply 10% of your income. Leviticus 27:30 says: “A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.” Nowadays, our income is in dollars versus grain or livestock, so we tithe with the currency that we have. Also from Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”
Yes, it seems odd that God wants our money, but that is how He’s chosen for his people to support their local church and more broadly, the church around the world.
For those who may be reading who don’t tithe, it could be “Give first, pay yourself second, live third.” Giving to others will bring you more happiness than spending that money on yourself. I think even research says so!
So now, “Pay yourself second.” Normally, when you get paid, the bills are the first priority…the mortgage, food, cell phone, etc; but now we’re changing all that and you’ll understand why soon. Saving is a lost art in America due to lack of discipline (a kind of important ingredient in our success equation below) and easy credit. But saving is very important for anyone who wants to achieve financial success in life. Paying yourself second is the idea that a portion of all you earn is yours to keep, which originated with the book The Richest Man in Babylon (it explains basic saving/investing concepts in ancient terms, like investing your money with a camel trader…it’s a fun way to learn the concepts). You don’t work hard at your job just to pay the bank, the gas company, and Kroger. Part of your work should go toward a better future for yourself and your family. This is the portion of your paycheck you’re actually earning, the part you keep, for the rest of the money, you’re really just acting as a middleman…a pass-through entity.
Now that you’ve put giving first, and set aside some money in savings, pay your bills. This may seem like the most difficult part, but many people pay their bills and eat and have a roof over them. Many fewer people give away 10% of their income and save another 10%. That’s the difficult part…the most valuable part.
When you get your next paycheck, give, pay yourself, and then live your life…you’ll find over time that this order in spending your paycheck will make living third that much better.
I wanted to broaden the scope of the blog to include the other resources (time, ourselves), and also simplify it a bit. “Give. Earn. Live.” was a natural progression.
It is better to give than to receive. — Jesus
Here are some quotes on giving by some famous people:
The secret to living is giving. — Toni Robbins
What is the use of living if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? — Winston Churchill
The luxury of doing good surpasses every other personal enjoyment. — John Gay
To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being. — John Lubbock
A committed giver is an incurably happy person, a secure person, a satisfied person, and a prosperous person. — Eric Butterworth
What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal. — Albert Pike
The miracle is this — the more we share, the more we have. — Leonard Nimoy
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
— John Wesley, Letters of John Wesley
No man has ever risen to the stature of spiritual manhood until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself. — Woodrow Wilson
My experience has been that if you don’t start giving away your money when you have very little, you won’t do it when you get a lot. — Robert Bainum
We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. — Winston Churchill
If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. — Bob Hope
He who obtains has little. He who scatters has much. — Lao-Tzu
You may recognize many of these sayings, verses, quotes… It is a common theme across continents and throughout time that giving is the secret to happiness and a successful life.
When it comes to your time, your money, or yourself, give first.
A feast is made for laughter, wine makes life merry,
and money is the answer for everything. — Solomon
It’s difficult to give without earning, and the main way to earn is to work. The “Earn” portion of the title is about working well.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. — Colossians 3:23–24
And Solomon’s take on it, which is a bit different:
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.
Really, of the three resources, money is the easiest…easy to count, easy to use, easy to spend. Not as easy to earn, save, and invest, but the knowledge to do so is all out there, for free even for those who take the time and decide to study. If you search “how to become a millionaire” on Google, there are 22,400,000 results. If you read just the first 10 results and apply them to your life, you can become a millionaire.
Actually, you can skip the Google search. Here’s the secret to Why You’re Poor.
It seems like it’s easy, so why are there so few millionaires? Hence…
Success = (Work + Disciplines) x Time
Let’s go back to the three main resources of life: time, money, ourselves. Where are they in the above equation?
Time is there already. Any good thing multiplied by time equals lots of good things. Time is basically the great multiplier of life. Time isn’t all good though, that’s why we have to study it, use it well, multiply it by good things.
Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that leads us to either fortune or failure. –Jim Rohn
The opposite of success, “failure,” looks like this:
Failure = (Work + Judgement Errors) x Time
Everybody works and everybody has basically the same amount of time (24 hrs. per day / 365 days a year), so the difference between success and failure is in “disciplines” vs. “judgement errors.” Let’s boil these two ingredients down.
Disciplines basically means good habits, good decisions, self-improvement. Judgement errors would be bad habits, bad decisions, self-deterioration. I’m going to step out on a limb and say mediocre work equals bad work. Now, before you cut me off and I fall to my death, read my next post on “Reversing Entropy.”
I worked the last four years in residential remodeling and the overwhelming philosophy was “good enough.” When we finished fixing/replacing a roof, it was: “Guaranteed not to leak until it rains.”
When we finished remodeling a bathroom, “Looks great from my house…” meaning, when we go home, it won’t matter any more how it looks because we won’t see it.
I found myself fighting against the idea of good enough every day.
You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. — Jim Rohn
It’s incredibly difficult to stay the course when you’re surrounded by mediocre philosophy. It helps to be mindful of the people you hang out with and to choose friends that will pull you up and not drag you down.
How can we improve ourselves? It starts with the desire to. The desire to do good work, the desire to commit to lifelong learning, and the desire to become more disciplined.
Back to the equations simplified:
Good Work x Time = Success
Bad Work x Time = Failure
Living well is that simple. Now simple doesn’t mean easy. Nobody ever said that being disciplined is easy.
I’ll finish with a story. I found it here, but it fits well with my goal for this blog. The title of this article is called: “One Behavior Separates the Successful from the Average.” I read articles like this and think, why should I write? This fellow produces boatloads of simple, life-improving, motivating stuff. How can I do any better? Fortunately, I realized that kind of thinking is a judgement error and leads to bad work, so I stopped thinking it.
A certain farmer had become old and ready to pass his farm down to one of his two sons. When he brought his sons together to speak about it, he told them: The farm will go to the younger son.
The older son was furious! “What are you talking about?!” he fumed.
The father sat patiently, thinking.
“Okay,” the father said, “I need you to do something for me. We need more stocks. Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?”
The older son shortly returned and reported, “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale.”
The father graciously thanked the older son for his work. He then turned to the younger son and said, “I need you to do something for me. We need more stocks. Will you go to Cibi’s farm and see if he has any cows for sale?”
The younger son did as he was asked. A short while later, he returned and reported, “Father, Cibi has 6 cows for sale. Each cow will cost 2,000 rupees. If we are thinking about buying more than 6 cows, Cibi said he would be willing to reduce the price 100 rupees. Cibi also said they are getting special jersey cows next week if we aren’t in a hurry, it may be good to wait. However, if we need the cows urgently, Cibi said he could deliver the cows tomorrow.”
The father graciously thanked the younger son for his work. He then turned to the older son and said, “That’s why your younger brother is getting the farm.”
Successful People Initiate
Most people only do what they are asked, doing only the minimum requirement. They need specific instructions on most things they do.
Conversely, those who become successful are anxiously engaged in a good cause. They don’t need to be managed in all things. They don’t just do the job, they do it right and complete. They also influence the direction for how certain ideas and projects go.
Most importantly, those who become successful initiate. They reach out to people, ask questions, make recommendations, offer to help, and pitch their ideas.
Being successful requires being proactive and not waiting for life to come to you. It means you’re on offense, not defense. You’re active, not passive.
— One Behavior Separates the Successful from the Average
Here are the topics I’ll be covering:
-Time: productivity, prioritizing, time-hacking tools and methods
-Money: giving, saving, investing, budgeting, earning, debt, entrepreneurship
-Ourselves: personal development, career development, lifestyle design