Imagine. It is a sunny Sunday morning. You are in your garden, tending to your tomatoes.
Gardening is more than just a hobby, it is a reminder of the innocence of your childhood, when there was time to enjoy life, to do things slowly — when you had no cares in the world.
But now you are much older — 70 years old, in fact.
You’ve worked long and hard. You’ve helped raise a family, but you missed out on many special moments with your family because of your career.
You sacrificed. You did work that now seems meaningless. You wish you could go back and trade that work for living. But you can’t.
And so here you are today, trying to play catch-up with your family, and trying to recapture your youth and to make up for lost time.
The stress and demands of work caused you to gain weight over the years, and today you struggle under the hot sun. You move slowly. Your breath is labored. Simple work, like gardening, takes much out of you.
The sun is getting hotter as it rises higher in the sky making this work ever harder. Suddenly, as you are bending over to make sure that ants haven’t invaded your precious tomatoes, you feel a thunderbolt hit your body. But it is not the thunderbolt you felt as a young person in love. Instead, is the sledgehammer of death.
“Quite suddenly it felt as if the sun had come down very close to your head. The air filled with dancing golden specks. Your oldest grandson came running through the garden toward where you knelt and the boy was enveloped by a yellow shield of blinding light. Death hid behind that flaming yellow shield ready to pounce out on him and you waved the boy away just in time. The sledgehammer blow inside your chest makes you choke for air as you pitch forward into the earth.
Thus described the death of Don Vito Corleone, as written by Mario Puzo in The Godfather. The Don worked his entire adult life building wealth and power at great cost, and yet here he was in retirement, longing only for the innocence of his youth, an innocence he was never able to regain.
He had spent 45 years building a criminal empire and all he really wanted was peace and freedom. And when he had attained the simple life that he had sacrificed so much to earn, it was all snatched away from him by death, because of the stress he placed upon himself in life.
Your future doesn’t have to be that way.
I know, I know. You aren’t a mafia boss. You didn’t spend your life committing crimes, ordering ‘hits’, racketeering, or violently building out your turf.
But you have spent much of your career in stressful traffic jams during your long commute to work. You suffer under a boss that cares only about the bottom line, and not about treating employees with respect. And on top of all of this, you struggle to make ends meet and you worry about your finances almost every day.
That’s not how you want to spend your future.
So here’s how you can change it.
It starts with creating a clear vision for your life and your family’s future.
When you have a clear vision for what you want, you can find a better path to get there than one that involves so much sacrifice.
You don’t have to spend 10 hours in a cubicle, or. You don’t have to commute an hour to work each day. You don’t have to kill yourself at work just to retire and die.
The Godfather’s demise reminds me of the story of The Executive and The Fisherman. Perhaps you’ve heard it. I’ll let the great author, Paulo Coelho tell it. He does it better than I ever could.
“There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”
The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”
What will be your story?
“How will you measure your life?” asks Clayton Christensen.
What sacrifices are you making, and why?
Are they worth it?
I am not suggesting you do not work.
But I am suggesting you sit down and think about where you really want to be in life.
You don’t have to be trapped in someone else’s plan.
You can design the life you want.
But it starts with knowing where you want to be and having a map for getting there.
Let us return to the death of The Godfather.
Back in his garden after his heart attack, the great Don was helped by his son Michael to the shade of his patio where they waited for the ambulance. Death was mere moments away.
“With a great effort the Don opened his eyes to see his son once more,” Puzo wrote. “He smelled the garden, and he whispered, ‘Life is so beautiful.’ He died, holding the hand of the son he had most loved.”
One does not need great wealth and power, nor enemies that want to see you dead, in order to know that life is beautiful. One does not need to work 60 hours a week, to lose your health to work, or to set aside for tomorrow the things that matter today.
With better planning, with a vision, and with the right decisions for your right life, you can enjoy the beautiful life much more today. You can be present with your family, instead of losing them.
Let me show you how. Join me next Wednesday evening for a one-time-only special presentation for Early To Rise readers. You can watch it from the comfort of your own home. It’ll be like having me sitting down at your kitchen table, across from you, and coaching you on creating that all-powerful vision for your life.
You can be successful without sacrificing your life like the great Don did.
And I will show you how.
And when you do, you’ll immediately be sent a free bonus gift to help you start creating your Perfect Life.