When I entered the workforce as a teenager, my dad would constantly remind me to, “Pay yourself first.” Paying myself first meant putting aside a portion of my income into a savings account before expenses. In essence, my dad was encouraging me to get a reward for the work I had/would put in. He said that it did not make any sense for me to grind forty to sixty hours a week and not get a reward for my labor.
So many of us are living our lives—making sacrifices, dealing with setbacks, burdened by pain and loss, and at the end of it all there is no reward. Think of the many years of hard work you have put in for your company. Why not get a reward for it? Think of the time, energy and resources you have put into your relationship(s). Why not get a reward for it? Think of the sacrifices you have made for your children. Why not get a reward for it? Think of the course work and papers you had to complete while you were in school. Why not get a reward for it?
I think back to my college days where a significant part of my time was spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, and not just for one class—but for multiple classes year after year—from undergraduate through graduate school. For all that hard work, I had to get a reward. My reward was writing several books for which I now receive quarterly royalty payments.
You deserve to experience the best of what life has to offer.
Someone might be thinking that if a person truly loves what s/he does, then there is no need to focus on a reward. Well, my response to that person is, let’s say you love your job, why not work there for free? Stop cashing your paychecks. Don’t accept any promotions. Don’t go on any vacations. Cancel your employer 401(k) matching program. Why think of a reward?
You see, the focus is not really on the reward. The idea is to move from old mental models that keep us living in mediocrity to a mental paradigm shift that enables us to turn negatives into positives, pessimism into optimism, paucity into wealth, misery into happiness and scarcity into abundance.
You deserve to experience the best of what life has to offer. You deserve to see the fulfillment of your dreams. You deserve to live a life you are excited about. You deserve to be amazing. You deserve to be phenomenal. You deserve to laugh and celebrate memorable occasions. You deserve to be loved unconditionally. You deserve to live a life of adventure. You deserve to be happy.
But here’s the twist. The reward is not about you. The reward is about creating experiences that add value to other people’s lives.