Thursday, June 11, 2015

Earn As Much As You Can But Never Sacrifice Your Soul To Do It

Money..... The most important aspect of our lives? Or is it not? From the day we graduate from school and enter the corporate world, we devote so much of our time for work that it seems like we do not have enough time for anything else. Replying to emails in the middle of the night, answering calls even during weekends becomes part of our lives.

Busy is the word that constantly comes out from our mouths. The bills to pay, the house to pay, the car loan to service and the children to feed keeps us moving higher up the corporate ladder to earn more. Before we know it, we are sucked into this corporate world for God knows how long a period of time.

The rat race is what most people call it. The rat keeps running on the wheel but never reaches a destination. Going round and round and round for so long without a purpose. Is that the life we want for ourselves? Or is there a greater purpose to life than just making money? 


Earn as much as you can but never sacrifice your soul to do it is the message. We all know our limits when our soul is sacrificed. When we start to neglect our health to earn money, when we start to neglect our family to earn money is not a good choice to make. Money lost can be earned back but time lost can never be recovered.

I had a colleague who choose to focus on his children and family instead of just aimlessly making money. In the past, he was working full time in the day and worked as a property agent by night. The money was good but his time with his children in the evenings and weekends were sacrificed. One day, while he was alone in a client's apartment thinking about his life, he asked himself is it worth it to spend less time with his family just to earn this extra money? His answer was No and never regretted ever since.

How We Get Ourselves in The Rat Race? 

A conscious decision early in our lives can make a difference on the path we will take in life. Let me illustrate this with a story:

There was a man who lived with his newly wed wife and they own a simple house at the outskirts of the city. The couple were excited for the new family they are going to have and had many plans for their future. They wanted to renovate their house to make it nicer, buy a car, build a beautiful pond, have children and also build a barn to raise animals. However, after calculating their budget, the couple realised they could only do one thing only.

The wife suggested that they renovate their house. The husband asked: "why should we renovate the house?". The wife replied: "If we renovate the house, our house value will go up so it is a good choice." The husband however said: "We should build a barn to raise animals." Both of them could not come to an agreement and quarrelled aggressively over this issue. The wife was so angry that she questioned her husband: "Are the animals more important than me?"

Who do you think won the argument in the end? The wife or the husband? In the end, the husband eventually won the argument. The husband said: "If we build the barn to raise animals, the income from the animals will pay for the renovation. More than that, it will also pay for the car we want to buy, the pond we want to build and the children we want to have."

Most of us sacrifice our soul to earn more money because we "renovate the house" first. When we entered the workforce, we start to spend more thinking that we are increasing our standards of living. We buy a car, we renovate the house, we go on expensive holiday trips. When our income doubles, we double our expenditure too. In the end, we have no money to build the barn and still have to work doubly hard to sustain our so called higher standards of living,

Remember, we can still have the pond, the car, the renovation without working doubly hard and getting into the rat race. Build the barn first and let it pay for the others. Gradually, let money work for you while you're still working for money. It takes time and some sacrifice not to renovate the house first in the beginning to build the barn but it'll be all worth it. A conscious decision can change your life forever.

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Related Posts:
1. How to spend on an overseas holiday but still have money?
2. The Two Approaches to Making Money


  1. Its easier said than done as I myself as well as many around me do fall under this trap or spell I would say. I've since escaped but there are still many willing "prisoners" behind bars.

    1. Hi Joyce,

      I myself will be prone to this trap as well. I think we have to consciously choose what we want in life. Being a "prisoner" is a result of the choices we make.

  2. Thank you for that inspirational post.
    I think money is just a means to an end, but can never be a goal in itself.
    And we should all realize that even if - in the unlikely event - we win the rat race we are still a rat.

    1. Hi Tacomob,

      If we win the race, at least we don't have to keep running anymore. That is the time when we can live a more meaningful life.

  3. The key theme that this post revolves around is "delayed gratification". Not many folks would have the strength to postpone gratification when you can satiate your needs instantaneously.

    All the best in your journey to financial freedom :)

    1. Hi RB35,

      Yup, delayed gratification is a must at the start. To save money, there needs to be a purpose. I realised that many people can actually save money when they are saving for an overseas trip, a wedding or for a house. This is the purpose that most people have.

      A higher purpose will be to save money to build that "barn" (buy asset). It is still a purpose and I hope it works for other people out there just like how it worked for me. A change in mindset will do the trick.

  4. The delay gratification has worked for me in the last 12 years. I almost bought the car after thinking of the convenient fetching my children around. Fortunately, i dropped the idea. I dont see my family deprived of anything of not having a car except some inconvenient at some site outings. Otherwise, i see myself at least 100k richer over these years and with continuous passive income out of it.

    1. Hi HS,

      Thanks for sharing your experience. A car is definitely much more convenient. I've always wanted to own a car when i grow up but now that i have the money, I'm not buying one.

      Hopefully your passive income is enough to pay for a car now if you choose to buy one. The delay gratification pays for what you initially wanted. Now you get it for free.

  5. Hi SGYI

    I can comfortably own a car now from passive income. But i choose to stay on the path for financial freedom. The delay gratification have given me and my wife more options and less stressful when dealing with our works or finance matters. Congratulate you started early in your financial journey, time is on your side in wealth building.

    1. Hi HS,

      Wow, that's very encouraging to hear. I'm more determined to continue my journey now. Thanks for inspiring me :)