My take on the Monk and the Merchant
Let me first say that I read through the first 30% of the book and got nothing from the book. I was tempted to put the book down and just be done, but remembered that it was recommended by Dave Ramsey for a reason and just continued to trudge through it until the book piqued my interest.
This was my first lesson from the book: If I can build up my reputation and gain the trust of people, I will be able to lead them. Had I not trusted in the words of Dave Ramsey, the author of many books and a highly ranked podcast, I would have stopped reading. If I can gain the trust of people in my immediate area and truly am altruistic in my teachings and business, then I can also achieve this type of success.
“Principal one: work hard and God will prosper you”
Hard work has never been an issue. As the son of a laborer, who never missed a day of work unless he had a fractured bone, work is expected. I never thought of work as performing God’s will. We were given the ability to bless those around us with our talents and through those blessings we receive thanks in the form of dollars. This aligns with Rabbi Daniel Lapin‘s theory that those that are paid much are only paid much because they affect many people. Watch the video here.
“It’s easy to have an idea. But it’s another thing to commit time and effort to it. “
This very much describes me. I have the attention span of a squirrel. If it can’t be done in 20 minutes, it’s probably not going to be done. Doing things like writing the blog, scanning paperwork into the computer system at work, creating presentations etc. etc. are not my strong points. In an average day I have so many ideas that it’s hard for me to even capture them. Acting upon those ideas is where I have difficulty. If anyone has ever listened to Barbell Shrugged I can very much relate with Mike Bledsoe. If you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend it.
“… There are a lot of great ideas. But if we allow the negative influences of others to stop us, then we will never accomplish anything.“
This one is a great quote but doesn’t necessarily apply to me. Naysayers and negative influencers provide more fuel for me to perform the activity that they’re telling me that I’ll fail at. I think that if a person is so easily swayed by a negative influence, then the idea that they have is not very convincing. It’s easy to fight for something that you internalize, but hard to defend a fleeting thought against pressure from those held on high.
“So, the first principle is basically, ‘Seek God and decide what you want to do, and then do whatever it takes to make it happen.’ Oh, and work hard at it.”
I like that the quote mentions seeking counsel in God. A long time ago as a student at Joliet Junior College, I was torn between going to medical school and becoming a teacher. My prayers were answered in that I was to go to school to become a teacher. During these prayer meditations, God spoke to me not to just become a teacher, but to also follow the path that it takes me to have an impact on many people. At the time, I assumed that this meant that I would be able to affect many at once with my time as a teacher, but alas, I was wrong. The path from studying education led me back to healthcare as a PT. In this field I have influenced over 18,000 people with a blog, over 60 students, thousands of patients and multitudes of people through volunteering my time in this profession.
By the way…none of that would’ve happened without hard work in the process.
“Principle two: Financial prosperity is often connected to soul prosperity”
It’s so simple. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Find that thing that lights up your heart and follow it. It will not let you down!
I’ve never had a single position for more than 7 years and even that’s a stretch if you consider how many times I left that position and return. Again…squirrel.
I have an obsessive demeanor. I do that what I enjoy and do the hell out of it. At some point, the joy dissipates and then goes away altogether. At that time I go find something else that lights up my heart. Some people love challenges; some people love helping others; some people love to be recognized; some people love to be paid.
Go find that thing that makes you smile. I find it incredible how many people that I come in contact with that do not know what makes their heart sing. It must be hard to live like that. How can one ever be satisfied? Happy? Complete? If one never finds that “thing” that makes their eyes shine, heart sing, and face light up, how hard must life be?
There are many ways to help people. Many ways to be challenged. Many ways to be recognized etc. Once I feel completed at one version of helping others it’s time to move to a different version of the same theme.
It does become harder as one has more responsibility because each move affects more than just you. For instance, it was easy to transition from pushing carts at Sam’s club (helping people) to putting on tires (helping people) because I had no responsibilities to anyone other than myself. It was a much harder decision to go from a financially lucrative position at a local hospital to a private company with less financial incentive. I had to have a conversation with my wife and we discussed how it would affect our family. In the end, this change has allowed me to help more people than I ever could had I stayed at the hospital.
“Principle three: A man must do whatever he can to provide for his family”
This goes hand-in-hand with the last principle. I have to provide for my family and that ranks right up at the top with personal satisfaction. Because of the decision to leave the financial stability of the hospital, I’ve taken on a second job to try to narrow the gap between what I used to make and what I make now. Again, work is not the problem, but other problems do arise. For instance, it is now one additional day that I am away from my family. One additional day that I don’t get to recharge. One additional day in which I have responsibilities outside that of just my family.
We must question our decisions and determine if we are on the right track. I am sure that I made the right decision to take the job at the lower paying position, but not sure if I need to keep the second job or choose a different path.
“Many men have robbed themselves of their destiny because they have allowed discouragement to rob them of their dreams”
I’ve been blessed throughout my life. A good friend, Mary Jones, described my life like this. It goes beyond me though. I’ve been blessed with a support system that treated me fair and always encouraged me to just keep going forward.
Not everyone has been as blessed and we all start the race at a different starting line, but we all must run.
Principle four “Trials develop your character, preparing you for increased blessings.”
As long as you don’t stay down, you will grow stronger and more resilient. When you become stronger, more people will follow. I’ve had many trials in life but was too dense at the time to know that quitting was an option. I was too dense to know that there were other possibilities and that failure was an option.
These trials and difficulties, we all have them, have led me down the path. We all have fears and skeletons in our closets that push us or create chips on our shoulders.
HOW one responds to those fears, skeletons, and chips will define WHO one becomes in life!
Excerpts from The legend of the Monk and the Merchant