Sunday, May 06, 2007

Success Master Skills - Disaster Avoidance

You can show off a new car. You can show off a new house. But you can’t awe the neighbors with compound interest. You can’t inspire envy with personal liability insurance. You certainly can’t impress anyone with a brown bag lunch, even if you tell them that it will add thousands to your retirement savings down the road. These are the Quiet Successes of Disaster Avoidance. They are often invisible, and even can appear negative or geeky. It is very hard to explain “I’ve done a number of things to make my life smoother and more stress-free”. It just doesn’t say “Rolex” does it? It’s not dissimilar to the problem you have proving your anti-terrorism credentials: if there is no terror, you get a yawn at best. How do you talk about “the disaster that didn’t happen” at a cocktail party?

The items below are tedious. Uninteresting. Boring. Adding them up, they are even somewhat costly. We are tempted, in these consumerist times, to let these expenditures go, but what we gain in freed-up income, allowing us to buy trifles, we actually lose in peace of mind. Each “quiet” task adds to a supply of comfort that grows over the years, and ultimately outweighs the finest clothes, the snazziest PDA, and the hottest plasma TV screen.

Consider these items. What would happen if one or two items happened, within the same week or a month, that could have been avoided by engaging in the “quiet success” of preventing disaster? Imagine these events happening, at random, throughout your life. Consider the drag on your happiness. Your serenity, your peace of mind. Even your life itself.

Can you “declare success” within yourself, and work on these items, or do you need to buy your success from others, by showing off your toys?

The List of Quiet Successes:

Living below your means
Wearing a seat belt
Seeing a dentist and optometrist regularly
Creating a “reserve” cash account of 6 months’ savings
Putting the maximum in your 401K
Buying long-term care insurance
Making a will
Personal liability insurance
Errors and omissions insurance (business)
Paying off your credit cards in full each month
Exercising every day
Quitting smoking
Eating in moderation
Drinking good spring water instead of soda
Eating a healthy diet
Getting a Colonoscopy
Eating cholesterol-reducing foods
Driving within the speed limit
Getting (and using) a library card
Doing your car’s scheduled maintenance
Getting a regular medical checkup
Having emergency supplies on hand
Brush and floss every day.

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