The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness. A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick. He has no ambition; no incentive; no force.

P.T. Barnum

Everything in life comes down to trades.

To get something, anything, you must trade your energy for it. Time is not the highest-value asset in the world. Energy is. What is time if you have no energy to savor it? At the end of my life I want to say that I did the right thing, the appropriate thing, in every moment.

This is much harder than getting a good monetary ROI. It adds a constraint into the equation: if you get richer, but not happier, you lost the moment. My advice to myself, if I could go back 10 years, would be simple: work hard to secure the bases, but don’t confuse achievement with fulfillment. The most fulfilling things I get to do have almost nothing to do with money.

It’s taking my daughter to school. The conversations are priceless. Waking my son up and chasing him around the house before breakfast. Reading a good book with my wife and some wine before bed. In the middle of all these moments, I work my fair share. More than that, actually. Because sometimes these moments are expensive. It is almost impossible to live a great life if you are poor. I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor — rich is most definitely better (a lot better).

But there are memories I missed, early on. Time I cannot repurchase because it is gone. The first three years of my daughter’s life are a blur. I cannot remember them. That is time lost; the collateral damage of an either/or mindset that promised, “You can be rich OR you can be happy.” The truth is you can be both. And anything other than both means you settled.

A lot of people talk about getting to “the top.” This is a subjective place. Chasing another person’s definition of “the top” will leave you empty. Changing the world is a lot easier than they tell you. And it almost always starts at home. Want to change society for the better? Be a good dad. Be a good mom. The business accolades are derivatives of a healthy psychology and a healthy work ethic. There are things that are not inherently true, yet made true because we believe them.

My opinion is the work/life balance is one of these things. We believe we cannot have it because other people say that we cannot. After all, the loudest voices are often the easiest to listen to. And they say the only path to greatness is to trade your life force away for temporary (and unsecured) progress. I believe that the most effective form of progress occurs when we are most proud of ourselves. When our values and our choices line up — we have power.

The more power you have, the more money you can make.

The happier you are, the more each dollar can generate for you.

Choose wisely.

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