The Gift of Purpose
PERSONAL PRINCIPLES AND GOALS
Most of us do not achieve our goals, financial or otherwise. The primary reason we fall short is not that we have unrealistic goals or a lack of ability to achieve them. It is because we have not completed an exercise of far greater importance than goal setting. Prior to establishing goals, we must understand the stuff in life that we want to be about. Stephen Covey1 calls them values, Ben Franklin called them virtues, but we’ll call them Personal Principles. What are the underlying principles that guide you, and how do you want to make a mark on this world?
After his 12-month journey in The Ultimate Gift, Jason Stevens concludes, “I understand the purpose for my life.” It need not take 12 months to get there, but without a better understanding of our purpose, it’s exceedingly difficult to draft an excellent financial plan.
Establishing goals that are not supported by our Personal Principles can only achieve one of two dissatisfactory results. Either we feel the inadequacy of falling short of our aim, or we change our value system to conform to the goal. For example, if I’m reading a financial magazine that tells me that I need $3 million dollars saved to retire comfortably by the age of 55 and I take the steps necessary to meet that goal, I may work two jobs that I hate and be perpetually absent from family functions and my kids’ events. If “Being present physically, intellectually, ...