If you make a lot of money, you are successful, right?
Hm – I think it depends!
Let’s do a quick experiment: Which of the following men is the most successful in life?
a) Jim made a fortune with his wholesale market. He has eight Million Dollars to his name. He’s 48, and since he worked 12 hours on six days per week, he didn’t have time for a wife.
b) Toni is also an entrepreneur. He has 1,5 Million Dollars to his name. Toni is 40 and lives with his wife and his two kids in a small house. Last week, Toni found out that he has cancer.
c) Max is 52 and works as a construction worker with a salary of 30.000$ a year. He lives with his wife on a small farm that Max inherited from his Dad. They grow their own food and have some chickens running around.
Jim, Toni, and Max are good friends.
When Jim is at Toni’s house to have dinner with him and his wife, Jim sometimes feels greedy. “Though Toni has less money than I do, he can share it with his wife! I would change places with Toni if I could!”
Toni – the only one knowing that he has serious health issues – experiences the same feeling for Max. “I would immediately change with Max. What is this money even all about? Maybe I will not see my kids finish school!”
Every time the three friends are together, Max thinks by himself: “Man, I’m such a failure. Look how much my friends make, and I must plant my food to get by.”
How full are your life buckets?
In his book “How to live a good life“, Jonathan Fields explained the concept of life buckets. Let’s imagine you have four buckets:
You can have more buckets, like “Job” or “Spirituality,” for example. But let’s go with the basic ones here.
An empty bucket means that you are miserable at this part of your life. A bucket full of water represents “Everything’s good!”.
You don’t want to have any of those buckets be empty.
If you see those buckets side by side, would you only fill up the “money bucket” and leave the rest of them empty?
I don’t know anybody who would do that.
But still, there is this thinking: Success = money. I think it is not wrong, but only half of the truth.
Success = Health * Family * Gratitude * Money
This equation is slightly different for everyone. How is yours?
Time to rethink
Looking at your life buckets, how should your buckets look like so that you will feel successful?
“All buckets full to the top, of course!” I hear you say.
But think twice:
Filling up buckets needs work & attention. If you want to be healthy, you need to make time for workouts and prepare healthy food. Not once but consistently.
Killing it at the job to get a raise takes dedication and time, too. Not once but consistently.
And so on.
You only have 24 hours a day! How realistic is it to have every bucket filled up to the top at any given moment?
What’s the point of filling up the money bucket when it is already full, but the other buckets are bone dry?
How much water do you need to fill up your money bucket to the top? In other words: What is “enough” for you?
I imagine it’s also a tough life if you have a family and are healthy but can’t buy food because you’re broke.
As always in life, it is all about balance.
You need to define how you want to fill up your buckets.
“But hey! Why is gratitude even on the list?”
Good question! If you have all buckets filled, but you can still not be satisfied, is a miserable way of life. What’s missing is gratitude.
To be truly successful, we need to appreciate the things we have.
Gratitude is one of the most critical steps, not for being successful, but to feel successful.