There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but only one view.
This was my fortune cookie from a catered work lunch a couple weeks ago. This one simple idea has so many facets. Here are a few things I’ve realized:
Everyone’s Path is Different
We continue to harp on how personal finance is personal, but it’s true. There is relativity in finances as well. You and I may have the same numbers, but that does not mean we are the same. You will go your path and I will go mine. Some of us are starting on opposite sides of the mountain. Are some paths easier? Yes. Are any of the paths wrong? No! If your path is going up, you’re heading in the right direction!
This also means your story is important. And my story is important. Every story has a place. And maybe ONE person out there will be changed by my blog and my story. To you, dear reader, you are important and I am here to cheer you on!
Watching the FinCon Twitter coverage made me realize that every voice counts… even if we’re all talking about money. Money is big, but money is also personal.
Stop comparing your path to someone else’s.
Your Path Up Will Impact Your View
The view from the top may be the same, but the way you got there will matter. The process is part of the product. If you’re proud of your accomplishments on the way up, you’ll enjoy the view even more.
On the flip side, if you’ve gotten up the mountain by pushing people down on the way up, you’ll get to the top and ignore the view. You’ll be too busy looking over your shoulder to see who or what is coming up behind you. Remembering ethics on the way up is also important.
If the journey is hard, the reward feels greater. A friend of mine told me about a hike she took her younger siblings on. Somehow, they turned off the well-marked trail and were bush-whacking up the mountain. They finally arrived at the top to find a broad, easy gravel trail everyone else had taken. Maybe there was an easier way, but if you spend too much time looking back down the mountain, you’ll miss the view entirely.
You Can’t Take Every Path
It is possible to switch paths, but if you’re going up one path, you’re inevitably missing out on another one. You sacrifice some paths for others. What’s most important to you? If the answer is “being rich” or “money” (have a better dream), you’ll certainly make it to the top of your mountain, but, like Scrooge McDuck, you’ll be alone swimming in money!
I’ve chosen to be a stay at home mom. That means I’ve given up the main career path. I do work part time, but I will never be important at work. Luckily, I don’t want to be. Every mountain comes with sacrifices. And there isn’t a “right” path. Remember how personal finance is personal? You and I are not the same person. Some paths include more things than others. And some paths are just downright hard.
Climbing a Mountain is Hard
When you forget what’s at the top of the mountain, it’s really easy to talk yourself out of going up. If you don’t have a clear idea of where you want to end up, you may find yourself drifting off the trail. Pick a path and keep moving forward. Remember what’s at the top!
In the end, we’re all blazing our own trails. But the view from the top will be grand!