The Fourth of July is my most favorite holiday. I love the barbecues, the parades, spending time with friends and family, and yes, I love the fireworks. The past few years, I have found myself on a quest of sorts. I have been drawn to the study of history; especially to American history. If there is anything I have learned through the study of the founding documents, and the Founders themselves, it is that we have come a long ways from where we were in 1787.
I am concerned with the direction our country is moving. I do not intend for this to be a political commentary (for both major parties are at fault here). I am worried for the future of our great nation, and I desire to do something about it. Perhaps you have felt the same.
But what is to be done? There are so many voices crying out for change. Can our words make a difference? Does our one vote really count? May I offer what is perhaps the most patriotic thing we can do as individuals to reshape the future of our country and change the trajectory we are currently on; get yourself rich.
Much to the chagrin of some, this will not be a discussion on how to get rich. Rather, I will attempt to share why it is my opinion that every individual who cares about our liberties ought to have a goal and a game plan to achieving wealth.
I first began thinking about this concept several years ago when I decided to turn off the television and pick up the Federalist Papers. As I started to learn more about the Founding Fathers of our country, I began to realize a pattern. Though not universal to all, most of these men had successful lives and businesses outside of politics. There was a reason they could leave their farms, stores, and practices for three months to meet together in that little, overheated hall in Philadelphia to write the most important governing document in history. It was what they did before the summer of 1787 that really mattered. Partly because of their wealth, they were able to give in time, money, and resources.
Of course, being successful has many advantages (as well as some disadvantages). I will attempt to share with you just four:
1. Freedom of time
As already demonstrated above, if one is not constantly tied to the fear of loss, time takes on a whole new meaning. If money was not a concern of yours, what would you be doing with your time? Could you be studying more about principles of freedom and helping to educate others on the same? What about running for office or helping someone else get elected who best represents your morals and ideals?
2. Freedom with money
One of our county’s biggest challenges right now is our spending, out debt, and our broken welfare system. I am a strong advocate of welfare, but of private welfare rather than a forced system administered by the state. Dr. Franklin once said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” Access to money can open gates to the betterment of society as a whole. As the great hymn says so powerfully, “America! America! May God thy gold refine, till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine” (America the Beautiful).
3. Freedom of thought
What makes this country the most prosperous of any other is the freedom we have to dream, build, and create. The entrepreneurial mindset is alive and well, but most of us are so busy, head down, trying to pay the bills that those dreams are by necessity shelved. Remember, successful businesses are all about creating value for others. What value are you holding back from the world because your only concern is how to pay that mortgage again this month?
4. Freedom to connect with others
There is something inspiring about self-made wealth. We privately admire one who threw much caution to the wind and put their blood, sweat, and tears into growing a successful enterprise. That admiration often leads others to want to learn and be a part of that successful individual’s life. Right, wrong, or indifferent, success often leads to connections and to networks of others who indeed have the power to make a difference for good.
Being wealthy should not be ones sole goal in life. Indeed, there are many aspirations more worthy of our focus. However, wealth, and the power that often accompanies it, can be a powerful instrument for good. It is precisely the four benefits listed above that make the pursuit of success one of the most patriotic things we can do.
Enjoy Independence Day, and go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner, but he has found most of his success as a self-employed, residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc., and is a popular author, speaker and consultant. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach (www.theappraisercoach.com) where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers helping them to also run successful appraisal companies and increase their net worth. He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office (www.yourappraisaloffice.com) which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up time for real estate business owners. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.