Kris’ Take: In America, where we are surrounded by advertising and glittering images, we are constantly pressured to buy, buy, buy and keep up with the neighbors. It can sometimes become very easy to fall into this trap. When people fall into this trap I call them an Uberconsumer. That is a word that I completely made up on my own so I know it won’t pass spell check. When you’re an uberconsumer, you completely lose sight of what is truly important. People begin to covet their iphone and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. Sometimes I find myself in this position where I am blindly driven to succeed and few times do I ever really sit down and define what the word succeed means.
Sure, the world says that succeeding is acquiring large amounts of money, power, or a combination of the two. I know for some people that is success, but I think to myself, what is truly important to me? I would rather have loving children and a faithful wife rather than a million dollars. I know money is necessary to properly supply the needs of the people that you love, but a line must be drawn. I know there is some guy out there that is working tirelessly to shove millions in the bank for the family that he has at home. What he doesn’t realize is while he is slaving away, the kids are growing up, the wife is developing new interests that she isn’t able to share with him because he isn’t around, and all this is doing is widening the gap between him and the family that he thinks he is doing this all for. It’s really a catch 22.
There needs to be a balance. I’m a highly driven person, and that is probably one of my biggest blessings, and one of my biggest flaws. I need to know how to balance my drive to provide and succeed financially, and also make ample amounts of room for attention and quality time. I think of the plant analogy: You buy a plant and put it in the window so that it is sure to have plenty of sunshine. Then you go to the river to get it water. But wait, a gallon is okay but you will need plenty of water to sustain it throughout its whole life. So you hurry home and drip a couple of drops on the plant and you run back out to the river.
You collect hundreds of gallons of water, every once in a while running back to drip a few drops onto your plant. You’re too busy to notice that the plant is beginning to brown and wither. It doesn’t matter how much water you gather, it won’t save that plant without the right amount of attention. In this case the plant was only receiving a couple of drops a day at best.
This Christmas I went to my mother’s house and it was nice spending time with her. I don’t get to see her often and it reminded me of just how nice and important family is. I see it everyday, celebrities that “have the world” but in all reality, they are unfulfilled. Look at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They will be going to Louisiana to help rebuild, I think that is fantastic, but examine that a little further. All of the money, and sway that they have, they must be fulfilled, right? They have the ability to live their lives completely for themselves and not lift a finger, yet they choose to do the opposite. This shows me that no matter how much money a person has, there is far more to life. I know this is an obvious conclusion, but look at how many people spend their lives, lose their lives, and lose their families because they love money more.
Christmas reminds me that it’s okay to work for the money you need, but to remember to put everyone that you truly love before it.