Dear future self, Are you rich? Are you wealthy?
When I was a Freshman at BYU (I’m currently a Senior), I took a class titled Intro to Entrepreneurship. This was my first exposure to the world of business and startups. Our professor would invite seasoned entrepreneurs and successful business professionals to speak to our class.
As a young inexperienced human, I was hoping they would impress me (even make me jealous) and then teach me how to achieve a life similar to theirs. BUT it didn’t really happen like that. More so, it just confused me. I hoped to hear how their financial success in life afforded them more freedom, better health, greater relationships with family and friends, and incredible travels and life experiences. Instead, they would choose to speak about their revenues from the previous year, how many employees they added the past month, or the crazy long hours they put in at work or even their commute to and from. Gross.
This made me wonder if they were always like that, or if somewhere along the way they “grew up” and their priorities changed.
I decided I did not want to be a businessman. At least not that kind. I began to make a list in my journal of notes to my future self. Things that would help remind me later in life of my cares and priorities at a younger age. Maybe, someday I would look back at these notes and think they were foolish. OR, maybe they would save me.
Scan : a dorm room succe$$
During that Freshman year, 2 of my schoolmates and I started a side project we called, Scan. Those 2 schoolmates were Ben Turley and Kirk Ouimet. That fun project “matured” into a startup and 3 years later, became the bearer of sweet financial fruits for us, our team, and our investors. I still remember that early day in Kirk Ouimet’s dorm room when we set our first (and last) “company goals”. Although they seemed lofty at the time, we thought it would be stellar to achieve :
- 1 million+ downloads
- $5,000 dollars profit
Well, we achieved our goals : ) Our app eventually surpassed 100 million downloads and..$5,000? Yea, we surpa$$ed that guy too..
Does money change people?
Personally, I’m beginning to think that money doesn’t change people, rather, money exposes people. It brings out the best. It brings out the worst. It brings out characteristics that were already there. Deep down. When Scan brought money into our lives, more money than we had expected, some very interesting things were exposed.
Truth be told, there’s a surprising number of people who go out of their way to point out that we’re still very far from rich. That’s nonsense. “Rich” is a relative and opinion-based adjective which is mostly based on each individual’s level of gratitude towards life. So to be transparent with you, both about my financial situation and my current level of gratitude in life : We are rich : )
The purpose of life
Kirk Ouimet(1 of my cofounders at Scan) has become a very close friend. The amount of joy he added to the journey of our first startup venture was priceless. He’s probably the best conversationalists on the planet. (Anyone reading this who knows him just chuckled in agreement ; ) He has a way of putting life into perspective and making you think about things in a way you never have before.
During our college days, the system would tell us to focus and work towards a career. Advisors would tell us that in order to be successful we should get good grades, do internships, get a degree, and then hopefully we will land a job that puts food on the table for us and our families. But what happens when we’ve “accomplished” that goal? Or beat that system altogether? If our 9–5 isn’t about earning a living anymore, then what is it about?
Kirk brought up the question : “Who is wealthier? A man with billion$ but no love? Or a man with less money but a happy marriage?” Immediately this reminded me of that list I had started many years back as a Freshman.
So Kirk, here is the plan. We got rich. Now, let’s go get wealthy.
“Don’t let your riches make you less wealthy than a poor man.”
My WEALTHY list
Here is my personal LIST of WEALTH that I started years ago. Hopefully it continues to be something I return to regularly for good direction and focus in life.
Here is a breakdown of each:
Love : are you in love? Are you loved? Are you good to your mate? This is #1.
Family : are you close to your family? Are you a good son/brother/father?
Friends : do you have good friends? More importantly, are you a good friend?
Spiritual : are you living true to yourself and your beliefs? How is your relationship with God? Are you selflessly serving others? Do you sacrifice and give to those in need? Are you kind? Are you accepting and loving to all? Open minded and open hearted? Are you progressing spiritually?
Mental : are you educated? Are you learning every day? How is your memory? Your mind sharp and your thoughts clear? Do you recieve creative inspiration freely? Are you progressing mentally?
Physical : are you active? Are you gratefully making the most of your body? Do you feel good? Do you look good? Are you savoring your youth? Is your diet clean? Pushing your potential? Are you progressing physically?
Time : how do you spend your time? Are you making the most of your daily opportunities? Do you avoid any form of laziness? Are you excited to wake up every day? Are you free?
Travels : are you seeing the world? Experiencing other cultures? Expanding your boundaries? Are you traveling with those closest to you?
Accomplishments : Are you working towards meaningful goals? Do you focus on your passions? Are you developing your skills and talents? Are you adding value to your community and the world? Are you living a life you can be proud of?
A life in progress
This list is forever improving, hopefully for the rest of my life. Currently, most of my focus is going towards my health and performance while I finish up my Senior season with BYU Soccer..then after that I have something special in the werks ;)
I‘m definitely a rookie in most every way so please do send any advice, resources, encouragement or help my way.