by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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This concept may fall short for a bunch of people in today’s world, which is exactly why I wanted to share it.  I heard a story once about famous authors Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut attending a party at the house of a billionaire.  One author joked with the other that the owner of the house would make more money in an hour that they would from a lifetime of book sales.  I believe it was Joseph Heller who said “Yes, but I have something the billionaire does not.  I have the Gift of Enough”.

Profound words, and maybe more relevant today than any other time in history.  The ability to be happy with what you have, whatever status in life that may be.  I was happy living in a crappy two bedroom apartment with two other guys while chasing the dream I was pursuing.  Before that, I was happy living at college in a tiny dorm room with a guy I didn’t really know, because I was excited to be at college and away from home for the first time in my life.  My truck was a piece of junk, barely making it up the hill to get me back to school.  Now I live a comfortable life, and am happy as well.  I live in a small house in a modest neighborhood, drive a truck that’s a few years old and spend time fishing as often as possible.

There was a time were I thought I wanted to be rich and famous, but I learned that this is not a goal worth pursuing.  As Mick Jagger said: “Fame does not sit well on anyone’s shoulders”.  And this is a man who would know, so if he doesn’t handle it well, who am I think I possibly could.  Rich and anonymous would be appealing, assuming that I do not have to work 80 hours a week to maintain the “rich” part.  I want to live a life I enjoy, that allows me time to appreciate the things I have done thus far and work on the things I have yet to accomplish.  But I am still learning to fully live the Gift of Enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not live like a monk or anything like that.  I buy things out of desire, not need.  I do nice little upgrades in my life, taking something I have and use regularly and selling it and buying a better version of the same thing.  Sometimes the new version is more functional in some way, but sometimes it is just that I wanted the newer version.  I get a tinge of envy when I see someone driving down the street in a black on black Ford Raptor that I would love to own, but refuse to pay $80K+ for.  Would I like to pull through a guard gate and travel up a steep hill to one of the exclusive mountainside homes here in the Phoenix area?  Of course, but not enough to start a company or go to law school and earn the money through endless hours of work to get to that house.

It is not that I am lazy, far from it.  I have made it to where I am largely by outworking others.  But I value my time to do other things more than I do the new car in the driveway.  The older I get the more I realize I want as many experiences as possible.  The charm of material possessions fades quickly, but the payments do not.  Ask any Tesla owner how cool the first 90 days of ownership is, and then the next six years of car payments are.  Once all of your friends see it once or twice, the novelty has worn off and now its just the car that you drive.  And I see a lot of Uber stickers in the front windshield of those cars, which tells me someone is working a second job just to be able to afford being seeing in a Tesla.  Are the opinions of others really having that much impact on your life?  If so, you may want to take a step back and reevaluate things.

Maybe my farm boy beginnings have helped solidify this thought process.  Maybe being around others who can never have enough is a bigger influence, I am not sure.  I have been fortunate to have lived poor and comfortable, be around ultra-wealthy people and those who are not.  Economic status does not define happiness, please remember that.  I know happy people that live paycheck to paycheck, and I know miserable people who have more money than they could spend in the rest of their lifetime.

If a cup of coffee with a friend doesn’t make you happy,

neither will sitting on the back of a yacht.

Learn the Gift of Enough.  Learn to appreciate what you have, regardless of what that is.  Starting out in life you will likely have less, and slowly accumulate more as you go.   Make secret to real success: Set yourself up for a life you want to live and enjoy.  Strive for experiences versus ownership (or worse, renting of things)  You will have a richer and fuller life if you do.

As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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