I recently started reflecting upon a very short story that my Grandfather Francis Schellinger read long ago in a newspaper and has shared with me. I have asked him to repeat it to many times over the years because I find it fascinating. The story goes something like this:
Steve and Wally are sitting waiting for the bus. Steve says to Wally, “I’m richer than Harrison.”
Wally stares at Steve in utter disbelief and finally declares, “But that is impossible! Harrison owns three houses and is a MILLIONAIRE many times over.”
Steve pauses for a minute, smiles at Wally and says confidently, “But I know I have enough and Harrison does not.”
This bit of conversation moves me every time I think about it because of Wally’s insight into life. Wally realized he could declare that he had enough money, just like he could say when he was full from eating dinner.
On the other hand, even though Harrison had assets a thousand times in excess of Wally’s bank account, Harrison never gave himself the gift of declaring that he had enough money. Instead, he was always fretting about finances and probably spending nights tossing and turning as he worried over how he would make his next million.
Harrison’s amazing financial abundance did not afford him Wally’s peace of mind and joy.
For my grandfather, realizing that he had enough changed everything for him and his family. Grandpa Francis was a contractor and retired from that stressful career when he was fifty. He moved with his family from the city to the country. Grandpa then was free to spend his time loving his wife, kids and grand kids. He also gardened extensively and became an expert craftsman, making countless beautiful objects out of wood.
Recognizing that he had enough, Grandpa gave himself the freedom to live a life he was passionate about. Sure, grandpa could have made a great deal more money if he worked until he was seventy. But he chose a path that he found far more rewarding. A few weeks ago, I had the honor of visiting my grandfather in Minnesota. Now at age eighty-eight, grandpa told me he was so grateful that he retired when he did.
Was my grandpa extremely fortunate to have made enough money to retire at age fifty? Of course he was. But more importantly, he had the wisdom to declare that he had enough at age fifty and then use his resources to live exactly the life he wanted.
There will always be more money we could make, more hours we could work, more stuff we could buy and on and on.
Realizing we have enough is an extraordinary result that has the potential of transforming our lives.
Game of the Day
- How will you know when you have enough?
- How would recognizing that you have enough change how you live your life?
Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska. He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset. For more information on Jason’s powerful message, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.