First impressions are indeed deceiving. A dear friend recently lost his father at age 87. My friend and his family lived in a modest home; his father drove a modest car, he dressed modestly and he was quiet and reserved. He was the kind of person who, if you saw him walking down the street, you would not give him a second thought. Throughout my childhood I never asked my friend what his father did for a living. I only naively assumed that his father had an office job. This is what I discovered about my friend’s father.
He retired a millionaire at the young age of 55. He had no debt. He worked in a high paying and technically-demanding job that he absolutely loved. He was also “internally successful.” He was successful at the things that are largely internal to him and he was happy with that.
In contrast, another person I know constantly has a shiny new vehicle on a lease, he has every recreational toy I can imagine, and takes 3 or 4 vacations every year. I also know that this person is in so much debt that even a small reduction in income would result in debt payments missed within a few weeks.
This person might appear successful. He thinks that he deserves everything he has because he works hard. So, he will “fake it until he makes it”. The problem is that external success is extremely fragile if you don’t have internal success backing it up. External success without internal success means that if even the smallest unexpected life event occurs, the facade collapses and you are left with nothing.
If you want to be successful, build your internal success first.
Focus on the long term. Focus on debt freedom. Focus on cash flow real estate investments. Focus on spending time with people that share similar values.
Don’t focus on the flashy house or the flashy car or the pile of toys. Don’t focus on impressing other people. Be true to yourself. Those things just delay internal success.
The rewards for internal success are huge:
Less stress. Fewer monthly bills. No need to worry about appearances. A sense of pleasure from doing what you want to be doing.
External success is no longer important once you have found internal success. Once you have internal success, your focus changes to relationship building and making a difference without the pressure of impressing other people.
I would be very interested to hear your definition of success. Please respond on the blog.