Many years ago my father sat me down as a young boy and proceeded to give me his philosophy on life. He told me that hard work and financial stability are the keys to a happy and fulfilling life. I admired his love for both his work and devotion to his career. He taught me the importance of saving and building wealth. While his passion for his work was admirable, I was struck by the lack of importance he put on his health and well-being. In fact, his addiction to smoking and his poor diet contributed to a shortened life –clearly a paradox existed which led to his imbalanced life. It took me many years to understand why he chose to live his life this way. His passing served as a gift (of sorts) to me –it launched my life and career in a new direction. I embarked on a crusade not only to study and understand human behavior but also to comprehend what motivated and influenced people and their lifestyle decisions.
Life is about making decisions and trade-offs. It’s about growth and learning – making mistakes and learning from them. My father’s life choices taught me that one needs to invest in both wealth and health. They are, in fact, synergistic. Smart banking is smart living and vice-versa, and the parallels are clear. Life is like a bank. You make deposits (i.e. healthy choices like starting an exercise program or studying a new language); and withdrawals (i.e. quitting your gym membership or taxing your body with poor food choices). If you deposit more than you withdraw you have a surplus. If you withdraw more than you deposit you are at a deficit. It soon became pretty clear to me that health and wellness mimics this principal. Your mind and body are yours for a lifetime. How you treat them is up to you.
Healthy tenets (“deposits”) in the Bank of Life include:
– Find meaning and purpose.
– Find role models and mentors from whom you can learn. Surround yourself with people who are successful and are willing to share their vision.
– Feed and stimulate your mind.
– Challenge and strengthen your body.
– Give back and contribute to the well-being of others.
– Understand that wealth and money does not buy you happiness, but rather it gives you the freedom to make choices.
– Recognize that you always have options.
– Realize that no one but you and you alone are responsible for your decisions.
– Avoid withdrawing more than you deposit.
– Make sure you pay off your debts ( financial, social, personal).
– Live with integrity.
*And remember, it’s never too late to open a bank account!!