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by Paul Kindzia in Happiness, Personal Finance
August 16, 2022

We have all been advised to “follow our own path” in life.  That is sound advice, up to a point.  There’s nothing wrong with being unique.  It’s another one of those pesky paradoxes.  Consider the quote;

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

Life is full of forks in the road.  We are nothing more than the cumulative effect of making thousands and thousands of decisions over our lifetimes.

I’m a fan of the above Robert Frost quote.  There are certainly times where we know deep in our hearts that we took our own path, resisted the urge to follow others blindly and are better off for it.  We were true to ourselves.

With that said, what if we discovered that we are just making our lives that much harder by continuing to travel on paths that are not the most efficient and effective to our goals and objectives?  What if we consistently found ourselves in the weeds, going nowhere, often backtracking just to get back to a familiar place on higher ground and wasting valuable time?

Wealth building can be one such instance when I see people taking paths that just aren’t the most effective or efficient way to arrive at a particular destination.

As with many things in life, you can put people on a great path towards accomplishment, but it is up to them to follow it.  That’s the benefit of modeling ourselves after those who came before us and accomplished something that we deem a worthwhile goal or objective.

You can apply this to many areas in life; athletics, art, business, leadership, etc.  There are certain fundamentals and principles that are undeniable on the path to progress.  These things make up the vast majority of the results.  It’s the cake.  Once we add our own unique approach, our own flavor and personal touch to the matter, then we are making a statement on how we are truly authentic and individualized.  That is the icing on the cake.  That’s the sprinkles on the icing on the cake.  But it’s not the cake.

Too many times people want to go off and reinvent the wheel when it comes to just making the cake.  It may be satisfying but it may also be very inefficient and ineffective.  It’s the same with wealth building.  Wealth building is built upon principles of success that have been around for a few thousand years.  Those principles will be around for a few thousand more years (forever).  You aren’t going to build wealth if you are constantly living above your means, or taking on growing debt loads, or investing foolishly.  You certainly aren’t going to keep it either.

Living by these time-tested principles will greatly impact your wealth and help keep you focused on the right path. Do you have a well-defined set of wealth building principles that you live by?  You should.  I hope they are something similar to mine which are below;

  • Make a substantial living.

  • Live below your means and control spending.

  • Save consistently. Make savings a priority by paying yourself first.

  • Eliminate debt.

  • Always keep adequate emergency funds on hand.

  • Invest prudently over a lifetime. Get rich quick schemes are the dreams of fools.

  • Use proper risk management in all areas of your life.

So, this is another choice that we all have to make in our lives.  The choice is up to you.  Nobody forces us to be wealth builders or preservers of wealth.  That’s a choice we all need to make for ourselves.  Wealthy individuals can detail out many of the directions and steps that keep you on the path.  But those directions and steps are specific to a particular place (i.e. wealth building and preservation).  You have to know where you want to go.  Yet, many will still go off into the weeks.  They will leave the path.  They’ll go off on an adventure, explore other places, and other paths.  This is fine and may be what someone wants to do with their life.  It’s just that we can’t travel down multiple paths at once.  We need to pick one and then travel it.

It could be frustrating to watch others stray from the path of success when they vocalized and expressed a deep desire to know what the path to wealth success is.  Those are the times when people need to travel, “the road most traveled” by others who reached the wealth destination.  It’s the most efficient road to success.

It’s a nuanced statement when I say;

“The desire to live like a wealthy person is often much stronger than the desire to actually behave like a wealthy person.” – Paul Kindzia

Most people want the rewards of being wealthy, but they don’t actually want to walk the path of a wealthy person and follow the path that was required to reach the goal.  To take it one step further, many become disappointed when I tell them that the path to wealth is never ending.  If you actually get off of the wealth path and start getting into the weeds and “off-roading” you’ll eventually find yourself going in the wrong direction of preserving the thing that you worked so hard to assemble.

Wealth building and preservation is actually a lifelong journey.  It’s a permanent lifestyle.  Otherwise it would be like somebody saying, “I really want to get in shape and be ripped and sexy so that I could go eat a pizza and a quart of ice cream.”  That would make me ask, “Do you want to be in shape?  Do you want to be ripped?  Do you want to feel sexy?  Or do you want to sit on the couch and eat pizza and ice cream?”

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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