My New Mantra

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. – Benjamin Franklin

Like so many, I have been on a health journey my entire life. The most consistent factor in my journey has been a lack of consistency. Two years ago, I trained for my first half marathon. I printed up the training schedule and made it a practice to complete each day’s workout. I completed maybe 85% of the training runs. At the time, I considered it a victory. The Asheville Half Marathon in Western North Carolina is not the easiest course to run. Before the race, my friends at work were showing me videos of the 10th mile. All uphill. Running that race was one of the most difficult physical feats I have undertaken. It taught me many lessons. Did I train enough? Yes to complete it, but no to being truly prepared for it. Did I have within myself the fortitude to keep going? I struggled through it, often wanting to give up. Several times I had to walk, especially on that 10th mile. What could I have done better? So much, but the number one thing I could have improved upon was consistency in my training.

It is tough to be consistent. Life sometimes just wants to get in the way. As you get older, you have more responsibilities. You have more things that require your time and attention. If only there was a way to have more time.

What does it mean to be wealthy? Is it only for the ones born with it, or the lucky? Is it all about money, or is being wealthy mean more? Have I ever been wealthy? From a comparison standpoint to those with financial wealth, I cannot even compare. Have I been through difficult times? Absolutely! Most, if not all, of the difficult times in life came from one source. Me. Could they have been prevented? You bet. Do I still make mistakes? Yes, and yes.

I am obviously no get rich expert, but I do have an idea of how one becomes wealthy. You work hard, work smart, and you continuously learn. Many of those early difficult financial struggles in my life were a product of a lacking financial education. I would work hard. I thought I was working smart, but in truth I was really naive. I also had an epicurean approach to money, which was to serve my pleasure and my belly. It was not a good approach.

Now wisdom, above all, was the one attribute I went after. I mean, it’s pretty clear in Proverbs 4:7, “The beginning of wisdom is this: GET WISDOM (caps my own), and whatever you get, get insight.” I used to look at this verse thinking “you gotta be kidding me.” That’s step one? Get wisdom? Once I really started to think about this verse, I realized the beginning is the starting point. Now it is up to me to figure how to get to that first step. And that first step is just that, it is the first step of many, many thousand steps to come. You cannot go anywhere without taking that first step. Ready. Step.

There was a time when I thought I would be some kind of philosopher. I was horrible at Geometry, but at least I could remember the most basic of shapes. I always thought my triangle was body, soul, and mind. However, there are many applications to this idea. One of them is looking at Franklin’s quote: healthy, wealthy, and wise. One by itself really is not good enough. Even two is still incomplete. All three together creates a balance that is hard to topple. To get there is not easy. It requires discipline. The discipline to work at it every day. It is not about hoping to have time to work on it. It is about making the time. If that means you have to go to bed early, so you can get up before everybody else, then that is what you do. You make the time.

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