Some of my loyal readers – ok, make that two – asked me at what age I started to mind my own business and to actively take care of my own business.
Here is how it all started:
Well, that’s not really how it happened.
This is what happened:
I experienced two epiphanies in my early stages of my professional life.
The first one occurred in my mid twenties. My boss, who I looked up to because of his strong job dedication, disclosed to me that he got retrenched. His position was ‘made redundant’. I could see the huge disappointment in his eyes and hear it in his voice when he told me:
“How could they? After all those years where I dedicated the majority of my waking hours to work for this company. They always gave me positive feedback about my work and praised my attitude. Upon a little change in wind-direction – they claim market forces – all of my previous work is forgotten and they let me go just like that. And the worst thing is, I have always assumed that my salary would continue to grow forever and that I could afford my life style easily in the future. But the truth is, I have hardly got any savings. I have a huge home mortgage to serve and two kids to bring through their tertiary education. Why haven’t I started saving when I was young and when it was relatively easier. I totally missed out taking advantage of time in the market. Now I pay for the magic of compounding through my mortgage instead of earning from the magic through a nice stock portfolio.”
The second one took place around the same age during the presumably happy occasion of a retirement farewell office party (aren’t we all looking forward to that day?). After a few beers (mind you, that was back in Germany where beer is considered liquid bread and thus beer in the office was a common sight) the lucky retiree suddenly shared with me his biggest regret:
“Andy, you know, my biggest regret after having worked in this company for 35 years is that I have not spent enough time with my children. Back then when it would have made a difference. To listen to their problems and to be there when they needed me. To watch them in their important sports competitions. To talk to them more about values and help them to form a strong personality. Work, however, always took first priority for me. For what? Now they are adults and have their own kids. I dreamt of spending ample time with my grandchildren, but my energy level and my health does not really permit me to do so now. Andy, don’t you ever repeat that same mistake.”
So, you see, the reality is not too far off from the above parable.
Don’t get poked by life.
Don’t always follow the herd.
Live your life by your own design.
The earlier the better.
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan.
And guess what they have planned for you?
Have you experienced any epiphany – that sudden feeling of knowledge that brought to light what was so far hidden and then changed your life? Care to share?