Time enough — or not
By Jeffrey Reeves MA
Editor's note: Jeffrey Reeves' introduction to "The Way to Wealth" provides an overview of this weekly blog series.
Benjamin Franklin, in the persona of Father Abraham, continues again with sage words that anyone who ever tried to complete a complex project on schedule can relate to:
“And what we call time enough, always proves little enough.”
Joe’s working career started in 1965 as a computer programmer for a large corporation. His first assignment was to learn a symbolic language that would let him talk to an IBM 1460 computer. He went to a computer language school for a week and returned confident that he could handle any programming challenge that was thrown at him.
As soon as he returned to his desk at work the boss handed him a small payroll-reporting program that one of the HR folks wanted. His boss reassured him that “It should only take you a few hours to code it. You can get it compiled into a language that the computer can understand overnight and have it running tomorrow.”
That was Monday morning — Fast forward to Thursday morning and the distinct possibility that Joe would be summarily dismissed for gross incompetence. The few hours turned into about 30 and the program simply defied every attempt at being compiled. Joe was downhearted, and thought himself a complete failure. He was ready to take his lumps.
Joe and his boss were, however, in for a surprise. One of the more senior programmers offered to look over Joe’s code and help him get it right. After a few minutes, the senior programmer burst out laughing. Joe was certain the senior programmer was about to ridicule Joe out of existence but instead he gave Joe hug.
“Joe’s logic is impeccable,” he told them, “and his code is elegant.” They were puzzled. What’s wrong, then, they wondered. “The only problem is” he continued laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes, “you sent Joe to the wrong computer language school.”
Life’s that way. Surprisingly unsurprising surprises happen to all of us throughout our lives. They keep us from completing our work on time, being prepared for our kids’ educations and our own retirement.
It’s important to recognize that plans — financial and otherwise — are snapshots of what’s on the horizon. The way to wealth leads you to the next plateau and the next plateau reveals a new horizon. The new horizon changes the path and usually increases the time it takes to reach your chosen destination.
The corollary is that the destination you chose from afar ends up being less than you anticipated and morphs into the starting point of your next journey on your way to wealth.
How’s your journey progressing?