Irecently heard an expression that will have an everlasting impact on my personal and professional life. The speaker told his audience that you should break your life into thirds and live by the expression: Learn…Earn…Return. These are the three essential phases of life. There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being in succeeding.
The first third of your life should be learning. Learn in school, learn from mentors, read, become a sponge and absorb everything. Dedicate your early years to learning—both academically and in your everyday life. Challenge yourself and push yourself. So, do your best in school, surround yourself with positive people who challenge your thoughts, and find a few mentors to build your knowledge base.
Regardless of which college you attend—or, candidly, don’t attend—you can learn in many ways: reading books, listening to audio books, attending free meetings, finding a mentor. Of course, life is not fair. Some of us have advantages (financial, contacts, etc.), but that’s life. If you do not have these advantages, work harder and prove to yourself and others that you can overcome and persevere.
The second third of your life is Earning. Earn! Build something for yourself. The more you utilize your knowledge, resources, and learned experiences to earn money and build wealth, the more you’ll succeed.
Work! Odds are that you will be working to earn a living to support yourself and your family. Depending on your career choice and many other factors, your annual compensation will vary. Find an industry you love, and work hard to earn to your greatest potential.
Without sounding naïve, earning money is very important to sustain our quality of life—the basics, of course, and some luxuries of affordability. Whether you are earning until retirement and beyond, the quality of your work for both financial and personal reasons is immeasurable.
The most important step is to return—or give back—to the next generation. This step requires you to make time and financial commitments.
The speaker used “Return” in a philanthropic way—whether you earn $20,000 or $120,000 annually or anything in between, the latter years of your life should be returning to help those less fortunate.
Yes, the gift of giving should start in your younger years. As we mature, we “get it” regarding helping those less fortunate. It’s not about just giving money; it’s about getting involved. There are many great causes. Pick one close to your heart and contribute whether it be with your money, your time, or both.
And in closing, may I indulge my poetic license? How about adding “Remembering” as the fourth mantra to the previous three already discussed? Yes, remembering where we came from, remembering who helped us along the way, and remembering our responsibility and obligation to the past.
Enjoy these simple yet powerful expressions and remind yourself that these words and, more importantly, their meanings are a great platform to live the remainder of your life.
Dan Jachimiak is a life coach and life skills trainer working with teens, young adults, and adults in the Toledo area. Dan can be reached at 419-787-2036. ❦