“Employ they time well, if thou meanest to get leisure.”

— Benjamin Franklin

Most people are, by nature, lazy. It is human nature to expend the least amount of effort as possible to get through the day, the week, the month… even our lives. We have to make a conscious effort to discipline ourselves to overcome this natural tendency of laziness. I know a few individuals who seem to have boundless energy, who can wear you out just by having a conversation with them. But these people are the rare exception. I fall into the category of the majority… lazy by nature. But I haven’t let my natural laziness keep me from achieving my goals; and you shouldn’t either.

To give you an idea of how lazy I am, I determined at an early age that I did not want to work for the rest of my life. I accepted the fact that I would have to work part of my life to put a roof over my head, food on the table and clothes on my back. But I didn’t want to have to work for money all of my life. At some point I wanted my money to work for me… and the sooner the better.

So I did the math. One option was to get a good job with good benefits and a good retirement plan and hope that by the time I turned 65 my retirement savings and Social Security would carry me through the rest of my life. However, there was too much evidence that this plan doesn’t work out for most people; that most people my age will most likely need to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age.

The other option was to take control of my financial future and learn to discipline myself to save and invest my money so that I could be financially secure and retire at 55. My strategy included keeping myself in good health so that I could be active and have fun when I retired. I was willing to trade some leisure time along the way to get a lot of leisure time at the end, because I really did not want to work for the rest of my life. The math showed that making this trade would result in much fewer years of work with this strategy. So, to get out of the extra years of work, I decided to put in a few extra hours a week to build my own businesses and learn how to manage my own investments. A friend of mine puts it this way: “You have to peddle before you can coast.”

This year I turned 51 and I am ahead of schedule. I could retire now, but since I had 55 set in my mind I’m going to keep working. I love what I do, which is helping others achieve the lifestyle that I enjoy. I have also managed to keep myself in relatively good health as well, so 55 doesn’t seem as old as it once did. I’m shooting for 100 so 45 years of “leisure” will probably be plenty. I say this tongue in cheek as I know I will never have a life of leisure. I enjoy projects and I enjoy reading and learning.

Published in: on June 2, 2009 at 10:41 AM  Leave a Comment  

Find time for exercise or for illness… it’s your choice.

“Those who think they have not the time for bodily exercise

will sooner or later have to find the time for illness.”

— Edward Stanely, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

I have been a student of the principles of health, happiness and prosperity for most of my life. Financial wealth without happiness is not appealing to me. I know rich unhappy people and poor happy people. I would rather be poor and happy. Fortunately I also know people who are rich and happy so I know you can have both.

I also know wealthy people who have very poor health and would give up all of their wealth to have their health back. The sad truth is that for most people, good health is a lifestyle choice. The decision to exercise and eat a healthy diet early in life will make a huge difference in the quality of your life later on. I know that there are some health challenges that are hereditary. I have a friend who recently passed away from the ravaging effects of diabetes. Although he exercised regularly and ate a healthy diet, this was a disease he had for most of his life and even his substantial wealth couldn’t keep it from eventually taking his life.

The good news, barring hereditary diseases and some cancers, you can enjoy a life of abundance filled with good health, happiness and prosperity. It’s simply a matter of becoming a student of these principles and applying them in your life. Many years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Cooper Clinic in Dallas Texas. Dr. Ken Cooper is known as “The Father of Aerobics.”  At the Cooper Clinic I learned that there isn’t a whole lot that we can do to extend the number of years that we’ll live. To a certain degree that’s built into our DNA. Of course smoking cigarettes, drinking a lot of alcohol and taking harmful drugs will shorten your life.

But I also learned that we do have control over the quality of our lives in our older years. Exercise and diet will have an impact on your functional fitness as you age. For example. let’s say you’re going to live into your 80s. If you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet most of your adult life, the chances are good that you will be physically active up until you pass away. If you don’t exercise regularly and eat a poor diet, chances are good that you may be in a wheel chair or be bed-ridden for months or years before you pass away. The exercise and diet habits you have today will be a big determining factor in the quality of life you will enjoy in your older years.