As I am updating our personal portfolio and working on the work portfolio I manage, I wondered, “Is Money the Only Measure of Success?” Look, I understand we all espouse a variety of success measures. These are a few success traits I value:
- Contributing member of society
- Good parent, neighbor, and friend
- Community volunteer
- Faithful employee
- Accomplished athlete
Do you think those who earn more are more successful?
At Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance I promote self reflection and living in accord with one’s personal values. For example, which is more important; planning a fun day with your family at a local park or event or spending that day working to earn extra income? There’s no correct answer. This is a decision I struggle with all of the time.
I love to work and I value earning extra money. Yet, spending time with my family is the most important activity for me. But I must confess that sometimes my actions don’t exemplify my purported values.
Time is Finite
There is one certainty, time is finite. Once it’s gone, there is no more. Couple that with the fact that no one knows how long they will live, and these realities underscore the importance of spending one’s moments fruitfully.
I don’t have the answer to whether money is the only measure of success nor what is the best use of one’s time.
I resolve it by attempting to balance work, leisure, time with family, and time on hobbies.
I’m certain that this balancing act confronts most adults. In fact, just a few minutes ago I found an email in my inbox from Darren Rowse of Problogger fame offering a new book with the title Blog Wise: How to do More with Less. Although tempted to purchase, I realized there really is no secret message for productivity and success.
Yet, returning to the start of this post, while updating our portfolios I began to mentally project some of our annual income; I have a new teaching contract coming up at a local university, El Carino started his new job, and I expect to make some money blogging. How much is enough? Is the marginal time spent earning a buck more important than a precious afternoon with my family? Personally, after a certain level of income is reached, the answer is; the best use of my time is to spend the time with my family!
Multiple Measures of Success
Yet the pursuit of an answer to, “How do you measure success?” continues to interest me. The research intertwines the importance of finding one’s purpose in life, having control, and making a contribution with feelings of personal success. In reality, these fundamental human desires may or may not result in financial wealth. Think about the single mom social worker with a few kids. It’s unlikely she’s swimming in extra cash, but she is definitely making a contribution to the betterment of society. If she helps place a child in a good home, she’s a true success. The community volunteer is working for the betterment of society, without remuneration. The mom who coaches the kids soccer team and the dad who helps with homework each night are successful within the family and helping the greater good as well.
In a broader sense, every job makes a contribution. And doing one’s job enthusiastically and competently can make you a success in any area. Society needs successful trash collectors, school teachers, accountants, and plumbers. When a pipe bursts, you value and appreciate a plumber more than a highly paid company president or wealthy movie actor.
More Readings on Success
- In Cooking to Financial Success, Andi of Modern Tightwad talks about success in her guest post at Prarie Eco Thrifter
- The Canadian Financial Blog reiterates that Financial Success Comes from Working Harder
- The Clutter that Kills Your Success in Business and in Life from The Smashing Entrepreneur
- Financial Success for Young Adults is all about helping the younger set prevail
Barb across the Blogosphere
Totally Money Carnival at Control Your Cash
Carnival of Financial Camaraderie at My University Money
How do you measure success? Do you value money over other factors?
image credit; google images; luisgalarza.blogspot.com