All of us dream to grow and prosper in life. This is a natural human phenomenon. It is fair to be ambitious and aim for the moon or even beyond. We need to set our vision high, evolve our strategy, determine our actions and take the first steps. Hard work, perseverance with a little bit of luck will definitely take us towards our goal. We may not achieve what we want in the time frame we set ourselves. But sooner than later we will accomplish our mission if we never give up.
Let us look back at our own lives. We start as students in school and then college. Apart from studying and giving our best in academics, we also strive to excel in sports and cultural activities. No wonder our parents, friends and relatives are impressed. Our parents try to give us pocket money for our sundry expenses. It is here where our ability to balance income and expenditure begins. Living within our means is the first lesson in our lives as a student.
We then finish our studies and get into an employment or business vocation. We dream to climb the corporate ladder at the shortest possible time. If our parents reached the peak of their career in three decades, we want to achieve the same in three years. I admire this spirit in the youth today. It is indeed filled with optimism and an appetite to take risks, which my generation did not even dream of.
However, there is one small point to be kept in mind. There is no short cut to success in life. Even if we look at the world’s best sportspersons, their successes and accomplishments are visible to us. We do not see the millions of hours of hard work they put in or the number of failures they face before they succeed in their sport. It is this ability to be focussed and the “never say die” spirit, which accelerates our road to success.
As we reach our first milestone, we tend to believe that we have achieved our goal post. We want to celebrate even before the ink has dried on our first offer letter. While there may be nothing wrong in partying on the first night after our first offer, we need to remember that our long and strenuous journey to accomplish our mission has just begun. It is at this stage we need to learn to become thrifty. We may be tempted to live beyond our means. We may be lucky to be brought up in a upper middle class family with all comforts. It is our ability to realize the world isdifferent now and all the comforts in life have to be earned by us through our own earnings is critical.
We end up competing with friends who come from rich family heritage and want to live a dream life even before we have earned it. It is at this stage, we need to get grounded and remind ourselves that life has just begun for us. We have just run the first few kilometres of our life marathon. We need to learn to save money every month to build the future of our choice. It is like the marathon runners conserve their energy in the first few kilometres so as to put in their best foot forward in the last lap of the race.
Life is a journey and it has many facets. My learning in life is that if we can master the art of living within our means, we will always be happy. Our expenditure should always be less than our income. We should never get into the credit trap. We need to learn to enjoy life within our means. After all happiness cannot be bought only by money. Rather, I would say thatmoney buys the least of happiness in life.
As in the photo above, Sikhism teaches you to be grounded, treat everyone as equal and live within your means.
Let us learn to live within our means from today. After all, it is never too late to begin.
S Ramesh Shankar