Are Entrepreneurs or Employees Driven by Money?

I find it funny when people say that the wealthy are just driven by money. I’ve learned that those who are driven by money are the ones who chase the safe job with benefits and a steady salary.  Think about it: if the wealthy were just after money, why would they choose to be an entrepreneur? Becoming an entrepreneur may lead to financial gains down the road, but it also means risking your money and financial security for a shot at something greater.

Entrepreneurs often work twice as hard for half the money. Entrepreneurs may sometimes miss the family gatherings and events that those with a “safe job” and regular schedule enjoy, but they sacrifice for the greater good of their family. There are nights where they don’t have a chance to say goodnight to their kids. Doesn’t sound very inspiring, does it?  But those same entrepreneurs go to sleep thinking about the day their kids walk on stage graduating from USC, or NYU because they could afford to provide that education. They envision their children and their grandkids visiting them every summer at the lake house for a family gathering. These experiences are what drive them to work those long days and nights. I. Use to be one that was driven by a safe salary and job until I realized that only as an entrepreneur do you see a side of you that you never knew was there; you uncover talents you had never seen before.

How do you measure the fullness of your life when it is over? Will it be the list of your accomplishments? The amount of money you earned? I believe that in the end, the value of life comes from great experiences.

My parents sacrificed a lot to bring us to America. Growing up, we were never wealthy. I remember at six years old asking my dad what heaven looked like. He told me about an Island next to California called Hawaii that’s the closest thing to Heaven here on Earth. My dad promised that one day he’d take me there. Unfortunately, due to his health (13 heart attacks, 6 angiograms, 6 angioplasties, and 3 stents in his heart), he wasn’t ever able to take us to Hawaii. As an adult, I became driven by a burning desire to take my dad to Hawaii and experience “heaven” with him. We have now been 7 times.

I remember the first time I took my dad to a Laker game. We picked him up in a limo and gave him and a few other friends the VIP treatment.  When we got to the Staples Center, we were escorted to our seats. My dad had no idea he was going to sitting right by Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson. I thought it might cause his 14th heart attack when he realized where our seats were. (You learn to kid about his heart attacks after you experience as many as we have.)  Now it’s been a tradition for years where every Christmas my wife and my dad and I all go to a Laker game together.

Many of these kinds of experiences cost money, but youcan’t put a price tag on them, because money has nothing to do with the value of experiences.  As we lay on our death beds, I highly doubt we’ll be thinking about the nice cars, nice homes, or jewelry, but I’m certain we’ll be thinking about the moments and experiences that gave our lives meaning.

I used to look at people who would tell me about all the places they had traveled and things they had done as braggarts, but now I see that all they were doing was inspiring me to do the same. There are a lot of beautiful places in the world to experience.  The point is that our life is really a highlight reel of all our most moving experiences. That is what we will remember at the end.

These are the moments that make us who we are.  So why not have as many of those kinds of experiences as possible?  Why not explore the world? Why not experience what it feels like to do the impossible?

Leave me a comment and let me know what experiences you will remember forever; either those you have had, or those you plan to create.

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