Stepping out with faith into the unknown, and going on an adventure outside of your comfort zone, is one of the most overlooked steps on the stairway to build wealth.
I am 35 years old, and my wife is 27. When we started dating, we had some bad debt: a school and car loan totaling in the low five-figure range. That was our first goal as a dating couple: working together to get debt-free. It took us about a year of sacrificing. We went at each day with the mentality that even a McDonald’s Egg-McMuffin was a big purchase, and eventually our last debt payment was made, and we were free from debt.
We spent the last several years improving our finances by continuing to encourage our smart saving strategies; and capitalizing when simple investment opportunities arose. It’s been pleasurable watching our financial assets and accounts grow, because it allows us to stress less about work and bills, and worry more about finding answers to our biggest questions, like why on earth are we here?
We’re not pursuing money to buy bigger, better, and flashier things. We just want enough money to fund our journey to discover our purpose in life.
This is ultimately the most important thing I’ve learned over the last few years of building wealth: Improving the mind, is the path to finding yourself and growing wealth.
Yesterday, after the work day, when my wife and I finished dinner, we faced a decision on what we were going to do with the remaining hours of the night. We sat down on the couch and looked at each other, discussing the options in front of us:
1) We could stare aimlessly at our phones until we were tired enough to fall asleep in bed.
2) We could watch TV until our brains turned off for the day.
3) Or we could challenge ourselves, and try to do something different, original, and try to learn something in the process.
It’s September in Minnesota, and a long winter of being indoors is ahead of us. I looked out the window, and the cool fall evening was beautiful outside. I said to my wife, “Let’s get our bikes and go for a ride. We can stare at our phones any night, but we’re limited on how many bike rides we have left before winter hits.”
At first, my wife was hesitant about the idea.
After a long work day, laying on the couch with her phone looked so easy and comfortable. But I pushed the idea and won her over. We contemplated a few different loops we could take on the suburban trails leading out of our backyard, and we decided to bike to my parents house to say hello since they live about 5 miles away.
The cool wind splashed on our faces as we rode out of our driveway. I instantly realized that even though we were tired, the exercise and
adventure we were experiencing felt ten times better than if we would have stayed in and stared at our phones all night.
We flew through the bike trails, and 20 minutes later, we arrived at my parents house. The neighbors were outside playing with a new puppy, and my wife walked over to check it out.
I’ll be honest; puppies don’t do a lot for me. But for my wife, Amanda, she’d probably rather play with a puppy than do anything else in the world. This is one of her favorite things in life to do, and because we had decided to get out and explore the world, she had found an opportunity to do something she loves.
We biked against the oncoming traffic as the sun set behind us on our way home, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw an old best friend at a gas station I hadn’t seen for over a year. We stopped our bikes to say hello, and she gave us a hug. I could tell something was wrong with her immediately. She looked stressed and frustrated. She was trying to clean her car, but the vacuum cleaner wasn’t working. We talked to her for awhile and learned that she was picking up her fiancé in the morning from a long trip, and she wanted everything perfect for him when he got home. Since she couldn’t get the car perfectly clean, her visions of her perfect day were falling apart.
“Don’t worry about that vacuum,” I said. “I have one at my house. I’ll do it for you if you want to follow us home.”
The stress on her face turned into happiness, and Amanda and I jumped on our bikes, and we all sped through the neighborhood like teenagers with her mini-van following us.
At our house, I took over cleaning her car, and my wife Amanda talked with her. She talked to her about missing her fiancé, and the change that was going to happen when he came home in the morning. My wife asked if we could pray for her, and we did.
Our friend left our house that night with a big smile on her face. My wife felt fantastic praying for someone, and I felt fulfilled having spent a night adventuring outside.
It was 8 PM when we finally closed our front door, and laid down on our living room couches to relax. My wife reflected on the evening, and said, “That was an amazing last few hours. We created something out of nothing. I got to play with a puppy, you saw your parents, and we prayed for a woman who needed it.”
I nodded. “You’re right, it was a lot more fun than being lazy and watching TV. We almost spent all night doing that.”
My wife agreed. “What we just experienced was WAY BETTER than any TV show ,and it didn’t cost us a penny to get out and feel great. ”
Her mind traveled deeper into memories of how the night unfolded, “This is the life I want.” She said, “This is the path to feeling wealthy, and feeling great about your life. The experiences, attitude, and adventures you make with your time alive is 90% of actually being wealthy.”
She put her feet up, and stared outside the windows, “I want to help others. I want to save money, so that our bills is a low priority in our lives. I want to create the wealth so that other people’s lives can be better, and we will find ourselves happier, and wealthier, as a result. This is the purpose of life I seek. To live a life of adventure, and not a life of obligation to debts we create.”
I was in sort of a trance thinking about God in my mind. I said, “I like that idea. The TV and phone is always one click away, and if we keep clicking those little machines, they’ll consume our lives without us even realizing it.”
My wife nodded. “We didn’t make a single dollar tonight, but it was one of the best investments of time we’ve ever made.”
“You’re right.” I said. “The life we dream about won’t happen if we sit around waiting for it. We have to make the adventure happen. We have to MAKE our lives an adventure if that’s the life we really want.”
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