The values that make up the foundation of a life well lived—and, no surprise, money isn’t one of them.
The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home. The ultimate expression of life is living a good life.
Here’s what we must ask constantly, What, for me, would be a good life? And you have to keep going over and over the list—a list including areas such as spirituality, economics, health, relationships and recreation.
So, what would constitute a good life? Here is a short list:
You won’t be happy if you don’t produce. The game of life is not rest. Yes, we must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity.
What’s the reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life? It’s to see what you can do with it—to try your hand to see what you can do.
2. Good Friends
Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world, so don’t deny yourself the time to develop it. Nothing can match it. It’s extraordinary in its benefit.
Friends are those wonderful people who know all about you and still like you. I lost one of my dearest friends when he was 53—heart attack. As one of my very special friends, I used to say that if I was stuck in a foreign jail somewhere accused unduly, and, if they would allow me one phone call, I would call David. Why? He would come and get me. That’s a real friend—somebody who would come and get you.
And we’ve all got casual friends, friends who, if you called them, they would say, “Hey, if you get back, call me and we’ll have a party.”
You’ve got to have both real friends and casual friends.
3. Your Culture
Language, music, ceremonies, traditions, dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. The uniqueness of all of us, when blended together, brings vitality, energy, power, influence, and rightness to the world.
It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds the nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach—don’t be careless about the spiritual part of your nature because it’s what makes us who we are, different from dogs, cats, birds and mice.
My parents taught me not to miss anything, not the game, the performance, the movie, the dance. Just before my father died at 93, if you were to call him at 10:30 or 11 at night, he wouldn’t be home. He was at the rodeo, he was watching the kids play softball, he was listening to the concert, he was at church—he was somewhere every night.
Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can.
Live a vital life. If you live well, you will earn well. If you live well, it will show in your face; it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.
Invest in them, and they’ll invest in you. Inspire them, and they’ll inspire you. Take care of the details with your inner circle.
When my father was still alive, I used to call him when I traveled. He’d have breakfast most every morning with the farmers at a little place called The Decoy Inn out in the country where we lived in Southwest Idaho.
When I was in Israel, I’d have to get up in the middle of the night, but I’d call Papa. I’d say, “Papa, I’m in Israel.” He’d say, “Israel! Son, how are things in Israel?” He’d talk real loud so everybody could hear. I’d say, “Papa, last night they gave me a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean.” He’d say, “Son, a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean?” Now everybody knew the story. And giving my father that special day only took five or 10 minutes.
If a father walks out of the house and he can still feel his daughter’s kiss on his face all day, he’s a powerful man. If a husband walks out of the house and he can still feel the imprint of his wife’s arms around his body, he’s invincible all day. It’s the special stuff with your inner circle that makes you strong and powerful and influential. So don’t miss that opportunity.
The prophet said, “There are many virtues and values, but here’s the greatest: one person caring for another.” There is no greater value than love.
So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do. May you truly live the kind of life that will bring the fruit and rewards that you desire.