Gifts: The Purpose of Life

The purpose of life is to contribute to society and the world around you. 

What do you contribute? Your “gifts”.  

What are your gifts? They are those things that you are given at birth to give to the world. 

People often interchange the word “gifts” for “talents”. With this interchange there is an assumption that some people are given more than others. But, I don’t agree with this theory. 

The challenge is identifying what gifts or talents each person has and then helping them develop those talents so that they can become not only better at them, but also be able to help them learn to give those talents to the world and thus be duly compensated for them.  

In any area there will be those who become more monetarily successful with their talent than others. There are a lot of talented people who struggle financially because they didn’t learn how to make a living with their talent. Most of the difference lies in the number of people that you affect with your talents.

There is a limit in how much you can do on your own. A really talented singer can be a great singer and sing every day for the rest of their lives, but can’t possibly make as much money as a singer who records songs and albums and sells them to the world, where they don’t have to personally sing every dollar they make into existence. 

A garbage man can make money collecting the garbage, but there are only so many garbage cans they can empty in a day. If the garbage man wants to make more money, he has to figure out how to be able to remove more garbage in less time and do it with better service. 

You see, everyone has a gift to bring to the world. Actually, they have many gifts. This is what being successful is all about. Bringing your gifts into the world, and making some noise in the process, so that you get known for your contribution. With that will come a higher perception of the value of your service and more success. 

Where you begin your gift giving journey also makes a difference. While everyone starts at zero and has to work their way up, there are those who start higher on the ladder than others. This doesn’t necessarily make their gifts more important or somehow make them “better” than others gifts, but it does mean that they are higher up on the pay scale than others. 

What do I mean by that? 

If you take someone who goes to law school or medical school and becomes an attorney or doctor, they will enter the workforce at a higher income level than a garbage man at the age of 18. They will start much later because of the time it takes to become a professional, but once they are in the workforce, they are making more than the garbage man who has worked the same amount of years. 

In my singing career I started in a small theater. Someone who starts in a large well known theater will be perceived as better based simply on the place you work, even though the work itself is the same. Had I started in a larger theater, I would have made more money sooner, been perceived at a higher level, and my career could have had a completely different trajectory. As it was, I had to battle it out at the bottom and work my way up through the ranks to get anywhere seriously in the area of income. I made twice as much at a large theater than I made at a small theater, and at the larger theater I probably would have worked less and concentrated more on my area of expertise. 

Volunteering is a great way to get yourself known in a community. Joining organizations, and participating in the life of the town you live as a positive force can greatly enhance your perceived value within your community. 

The talents or gifts that you have mean nothing if you do not share them with the world. If you are worried about how much you get from your job, you aren’t doing your job. The only way to earn more, is to perform at a higher level and move up the ladder inside whatever organization you are a part of. 

Look, not everyone is meant to be an entrepreneur. Going into business for yourself requires the ability to take money from people, and businesses for whatever it is you are selling, whether it be a service or products. 

But! The bottom line on all of the discussion on gifts and talents is that if you don’t learn how to transform your efforts into monetary success, then no matter what you do, no matter how much you earn, your efforts will lead nowhere monetarily. You will lose everything. 

Along with giving of your gifts and talents is the understanding that there is one business that all people are engaged in, and that is personal finance. 

Personal finance is the most important skill that all people should embrace and develop. You must have a plan, goals, and the general direction must always be up. 

There are two maxims that guarantee personal financial success. 

  1. Profit: Making more than you spend.
  2. Accumulation: Building on your profits over time.

More important than the nice car or the designer clothes is the bottom line. You want to see a plus sign at the end of each month and more money in your savings every month over the entire span of your working career. 

Living within your income and building a savings account, no matter how small the interest, are two basic vital ways to live a secure and peaceful life. 

Nothing is worse than being in debt and not having enough security at the end of your life. 

Money doesn’t bring happiness, but it is nearly impossible to be happy if you don’t have your own money. 

Here are some other great ideas about money that you should heed: 

  • “Never lose money.” Warren Buffett
  • “Put your eggs in one basket, and watch that basket.” Andrew Carnegie
  • “It isn’t how much you earn, it is how much you keep.” Robert Kyosaki
  • “Respect and help those above you, lead and acknowledge those who are below you.” 
  • “Be where you are, watch where you are going.”
  • “Keep score.” Tracking the numbers is the only way to measure progress. 
  • “Start on the highest rung on the ladder that you can. Coming from below is difficult.” Cynthia Auerbach. (Positioning) 
    • What is going to get me to the top sooner?
      • Going to Harvard Law School or to a small state law school?
      • Getting your Doctorate as soon as possible? 
      • Becoming a CPA or an engineer? 
      • Having an MBA at the age of 23? 

Let’s say you are a minimum wage earner and you barely make enough to make ends meet. If you can save just $10 a week for life, that will get you to $20,800 in 40 years. 

Now that doesn’t sound like much does it? Well, it isn’t, unless you get to 40 years and you don’t have that $20,800 bucks when you are done. 

Yes, gaining interest and investing are good ideas, and without that the percentage increase in the cost of living will effectively devalue that $20 at the end of the day, but still, it is better than not having it at all. 

If all you do is buy gold or silver then that money will definitely be worth more at the end of the 40 years. 

But, the real thing to take with you today in reading all of this is,

  • Establish rules for yourself.
  • Don’t fudge on those rules.
  • Stay true to your financial goals.

I wished I had developed this discipline from the beginning, because changing habits later in life is difficult. 

Yes, being talented and gifted is great, but squandering the fruits of those gifts and talents is a disaster. Don’t be a disaster. Don’t be poor. Be the master of your ship.