“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
Jim Rohn (Entrepreneur, Author, The Art Of Exceptional Living)
“The business of business is relationships; the business of life is human connection.”
Robin S. Sharma (Canadian Author, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari)
When it comes to success, there are two very popular philosophies today.
The first philosophy states that you should live a short-term oriented lifestyle, despite the fact that you will likely live a very long time.
As such, you should chase experiences over material possessions, and you should not wait until you retire to start living like you’re retired.
You should rent instead of own, and travel and explore instead of setting down roots.
Living your fullest life in this moment is a way to reward yourself for hard work and keep your momentum going towards your next goal.
Short-term focus can include higher risk and excitement, and this philosophy has a lot of appeal because it lacks the sacrifice of long-term planning and delayed gratification.
Plus… it means that if life doesn’t turn out the way you planned (and it often doesn’t) that you’ve maximized living in the moment.
Nothing is guaranteed in business and in life — anything can happen, and if you put off living too long, you’ll end up with regret.
Except, the second philosophy states that you should invest for the long-term only.
You should buy a moderately priced house and live in it so you can gain equity.
You should invest in a long-term career at a large company.
You should invest in stocks, bonds, startups, gold bars, and on and on.
You should plan, be pragmatic, and sacrifice thrill now for stability later.
But, both of these philosophies are riddled with faults, and yet both can be effective in terms of living a happy and successful life.
My question is, “Why can’t you have both?”
Not every contrary philosophy has to be mutually exclusive.
Instead of always thinking that it is “this” or “that”, why not shift your thinking to “this” AND “that”?
Because, the reality is you can blend philosophies to create a life that is exciting and satisfying now, while still making rational decisions for your long-term outlook.
Not OR… but AND.
Why Success Only Comes From These 3 Investments
The truth is, in today’s world, there are only 3 truly worthy investments: your health, your knowledge, and your network.
The bank can take everything else away from you — everything but your health, knowledge, and network.
These are the investments that will bring you both short-term and long-term happiness and success.
And, happiness and success are intertwined.
This report out of Canadian Psychology, Sustainable Happiness: How Happiness Studies Can Contribute To A More Sustainable Future, defines lasting happiness as a combination of inherent psychological needs, including personal growth, physical health, healthy relationships and community involvement, combined with extrinsic goals like financial success, popularity, and social status.
To break each of these down, consider this…
First, we know health is connected with, and one of the greatest determinants of, happiness.
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Our health and well-being are connected to our overall satisfaction with life, and are measures of success.
In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies by The Harvard Business Review, life satisfaction contributed to successful business outcomes.
Next, our relationships and the way we work and interact with others are contributors of happiness and success.
Social Indicators Research reported that a decline in happiness is primarily due to decreased social connections.
Lastly, we know that lifelong learning is important for personal growth, and adds to life satisfaction, as reported by Research Gate. This study confirms the positive impact of lifelong learning, education, and the pursuit of knowledge.
Focusing your energy on investing in your health, increasing knowledge, and forming healthy networks of like-minded people will increase your ability to achieve both short and long-term success and happiness.
How Leaders Invest In Short And Long-Term Goals
Do you ever wonder how some of the world’s most successful people go bankrupt and then end up on top again, shortly after their downfall?
The reason they rebound so quickly is because they’ve invested heavily in their health, knowledge, and network.
The reality is that regardless of which philosophy you buy into, you can fulfill both short and long-term goals if you’re consistently investing in these 3 areas.
Because if you’re not investing in these 3 things, you’ll never be truly successful in life.
Here’s how you can live for today and tomorrow by feeding your health, knowledge, and networks.
1. Invest in your health.
Health is so intimately connected with happiness and success that it’s either taken for granted or just ignored.
But how you feel — emotionally, mentally, and physically — impacts your experience and ripples out into every area of your life.
If you ignore preventative health measures in your lifestyle today, you’ll pay for it later.
If you focus so much on short-term satisfaction that you sabotage your health, you’ll regret it later.
Your investment in your health shouldn’t be short or long term… it should be ongoing and daily.
Because you won’t reach your goals if you’re sick or in a constant battle with your health.
Health is more than just the absence of disease.
It’s optimal functioning in every way.
You invest in your physical health by eating healthy and exercising daily.
You get regular screenings and lab work done to monitor your overall health and mitigate warning signs.
You make sure you get enough sleep and reject the type-A personality cliché of, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”.
Being focused on health means taking the impact of work/life imbalance and chronic stress as serious threats to your overall health and well-being and taking active measures to reduce them.
Emotional health is as important as physical health, and goes hand-in-hand with strong mental health and overall resilience.
Meditation, self-help practices, and professional help are ways to strengthen your emotional and mental health now, and in the future.
Building self-confidence, abolishing imposter syndrome, and deciding that you’re going to be successful in all areas of your life isn’t complicated.
It’s just a choice you need to make.
Make this choice a matter of life and death before it is — if not literally, then metaphorically.
Ultimately, you must be feeding your mind and your body positive material if you want to perform at your best and be successful.
And, while you might have a list of excuses of why you aren’t taking care of yourself, none of them are valid.
Neglecting any one of these health areas will impact the other and keep you from achieving the level of success you desire.
2. Invest in knowledge.
The brain can grow and change throughout the course of your entire life.
It doesn’t stop at adulthood, like we once thought.
In fact, it needs to be stimulated by growth for as long as we live.
This is one of the reasons why lifelong learning is promoted as a way to support the health of your brain, but also to enhance your own personal growth.
If you’re not growing, you’re miserable.
You’re miserable because you’re stagnant.
You were designed to evolve in so many ways, yet you’re easily stuck in your old patterns of thinking, and perceiving the world.
You get in a rut.
Learning stimulates neurogenesis, or the growth of new neurons in the brain.
This enhances creativity and breeds new ideas and vision for your life.
Learning doesn’t just keep you current on the latest information, it breathes life into places where you’ve become stale or uninspired.
It increases your level of skill and ability when you strategically apply it.
You will never master anything if you aren’t dedicated to expansion.
A curious mind will seek knowledge and ways to apply it to life to achieve goals.
It seeks solutions to problems, rather than staying stuck on the problem itself.
Learning keeps the brain sharp — not just now, but long-term.
You can invest in knowledge daily by reading books, taking courses, attending conferences, and talking to people that are experts in areas you’re interested in.
Challenge yourself to read more than just the bite-sized paragraphs and headlines that are force-fed to you on social media.
Practice focusing your attention for longer periods of time with rich material that is well-researched and intelligently written.
Elevate the standards of your conversations.
Start thinking critically, rather than being a passive sponge to whatever others talk about.
Make learning a lifestyle choice, similar to health.
Challenge yourself to keep moving forward by setting goals that fire you up.
Be comfortable with getting uncomfortable and doing something different.
When you value and seek knowledge, you’re naturally better able to make the best decisions for your life and accelerate your progress to you goals.
3. Invest in your network.
You might think you’re a lone wolf, but the truth is, you still need people.
Your ego wants you to be the sole champion of your life, but the reality is, you still need others.
Healthy connections and relationships are markers of overall success.
Your connections influence all the other areas of your health but for busy people, maintaining positive social connections is easily neglected.
The importance of a quality network for social and business connections for happiness and success are diminished.
The challenge is to be strategic in who you invite into your network and who you allow to stay there.
One negative person in your life can infect your attitude, confidence, and progress.
Your network should be a curated blend of social and business connections that are like-minded and healthy, and can create reciprocity in knowledge-sharing and support.
Investing in the right people in your business network can change the trajectory of your entire career.
Being network-savvy in how you add value and create community to advance your purpose can open up opportunities that you might not have ever had before.
In your personal life, your network needs to also be the balance of encouragement and challenge.
You don’t want to stay the same, so surround yourself with people that are a little different.
You don’t want people that will only agree with you, either — that won’t make you better.
You should be looking for people who are smarter, funnier, and more successful than you.
You need to weed out the manipulators.
The drama addicts.
And everyone hosting a pity party.
When your goals are defined and important to you, putting people that are negative influences and focus-stealers on the chopping block becomes a lot easier.
How you invest in your network now will determine how successful you are later.
When cultivating your network, think about the value you can add to them, not just what they can do for you.
Be curious about their experiences, not just your own.
Be authentic and empathetic with healthy, positive people but cut-throat with everyone else.
Don’t let your goals become wasted because you didn’t value them enough to protect them from people that are only interested in sabotaging your success.
A big mistake that most people make is thinking they have to choose between what will make them happy now, versus what will make them happy later. If they are responsible now, they’ll have a good future. Or, if they enjoy life now, they’ll have no future to enjoy later. These self-imposed limitations shrink your perspective and your goals. Why can’t you have both? Instead of forcing yourself to choose one over the other, realize that you can have both. In terms of success and happiness, your philosophy of choice should support both short and long-term goals, bringing rich satisfaction and joy in the moment, as well as being forward-focused in pursuit of future goals.
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