This morning in church, my pastor reminded me of that again. He talked about simplifying your life, borrowing from Bill Hybel’s book “Simplify.”
I have a successful businessman friend who used to say: “If you wish to have, you must first be, and then you will do. To have is a fruit of the first two.”
In the words of this friend, if you wish to become a millionaire, you must first become one in character. You must become the kind of person who is capable of wisely handling a million dollars. When you become such a person, you will do the things such people do. Things like get advice from those wiser than you, researching investment opportunities before you invest, drive old cars until you can buy nicer ones in cash, get up early in the morning, and work diligently.
Then once you do that as a natural part of who you have become; once those things you do have been rooted because of who you have become; once they are habits to you; then the fruit will grow on the tree as a natural by-product of what the tree is. You can hang a million dollars on a broke man, but that doesn’t make him a millionaire, because he can’t produce the fruit. And when someone who is not a millionaire wins a million bucks, the fruit normally falls right off and he is left with nothing.
Okay, so that is how it looks in my friend’s word picture. But it doesn’t just apply to money. It applies to everything in your life. If you become something, start doing accordingly and it becomes a habit. The becoming often happens as we force ourselves to do though. We usually start there. We change a few beliefs, and then we start training ourselves to be that new being we were meant to be. And once we have become that, we start growing the fruit.
The focus is very different though. Most peoples’s to-do list is focused on what they wish to have. If you focus on who you are becoming rather than what you are doing, it shows on your schedule. You schedule things in with the becoming in mind. Priorities re-adjust. And the everyday to-do list becomes secondary to the habits and character you are trying to build.
When you focus on who you are becoming, your to-do list isn’t so influenced by your want-to-have list. And that is where this old ironic principle that Jesus gives us plays out again: “If you will seek to save your life, you will lose it. But if you will give your life for My sake, you will have life abundantly.” That is quoted from the MFV (Milton Friesen Version).
You could also say it like this: “if you will seek to have success, it will surely elude you. If, however, you will focus on building the character God desires in you, on becoming whole, success will most likely find you.” (Okay, that was the MMFV (Modern Milton Friesen Version)). You can replace life or success in that verse with so many different things. Like love, happiness, money, passion, purpose and a thousand other things.
I have areas in my life where the lack clearly shows me I need to become somebody I am not yet. The best life requires us to become somebody tomorrow that we are not yet today.
You can support this blog by buying Bill Hybel’s book “Simplify” through the links on this page.