Real Success in Life and Things Money can’t Buy

PROBLEM #28: Will My Pursuit of Money Lead Me Down the Path of Success?

In a dimly lit hospital room, an older man – the only person in the room – lay on the stiff, almost uncomfortable bed. The light came from various monitoring equipment scattered around and behind the bed. The only sounds were the incessant beeps from the same equipment, and the labored breathing of the nameless, faceless man.

You see, it could be anyone . . . it could be you some day.

The man laying here once had it all – or so it seemed from the outside. He had driven what passes for success – he owned a few nice, fast cars. He traveled and lived lavishly. The money he had made as a young man had been earning him more money for years. A few years ago, anybody who saw him would have thought that he had ‘made it’.

And yet, today, with his health failing and body no longer responding, he might as well have had nothing. He had shunned family life in favor of money-making schemes and side jobs. While he never married, the only friends he had were his broker and banker, and of course – his money. He cared not for faith in God – that was for small-minded people with no ambition.

hospital room

The stark reality is that this man will die with nothing – no one to call a friend. No one to even care. It’s a sad reality facing many lonely people. Especially people with money – and perhaps even those without. Would you call this man a success? What defines success? Do you want to be the man who had everything money can buy, but spend your last days and eternity alone?

More Things that Money can’t Buy.

  • Life / Health

Sure, you can buy the best food, or the best exercise equipment. But when it comes down to it, your body will eventually fail – like the man in our story.

  • Happiness

I written about this before – check out this post. Happiness is one of those intangible things that many people are searching for. But money can’t buy genuine happiness. They “try” many things – including money – to fill the void in their life. Think about the satisfaction you get when you complete a difficult project. You might be able to pay someone else to do the same job, but you won’t get the same satisfaction. Certainly money can enable an easier life, but in the end it won’t amount to true satisfaction, contentment, or happiness. Only God can give that.

  • True Friendsfriends

The kind of friends that money buys will not stick with you if the money runs out. If you find yourself like the man in our story – coming to the end of your life – your true friends will be there with you. True friends stick around because they enjoy spending time with you – whether you have money or not. You can’t gain true friends with money, and you certainly don’t keep them because of your money.

  • True Love

Like true friends, love is something that can only be obtained when you give of yourself – not your money. It has nothing to do with money. If you devote all your time to loving money and gaining money, true love will pass you by. Think of this famous quote by John Greenleaf Whittier:

For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'. Click To Tweet

Real Success

In another hospital room, just as poorly lit, another elderly man lay sick and dying. He had the same cold, unfeeling equipment scattered around the room, but there was something different. Despite the situation, there was a warmth and encouraging atmosphere. There were people – loved ones, friends, family. They were there to visit and perhaps say goodbye for the last time. No one knew what would happen – how much longer he would be around. They wanted to let him know that they loved and cared for him. Just being there showed the man their support.success in the sand

This man also had money – enough to live comfortably. But it wasn’t the primary ambition of his long life. He was invested in the lives of others – family, friends, neighbors – in things that money can’t buy. Everyone that knew him always said what a kind compassionate person he was. Perhaps it was his genuine faith in God that had inspired those around him to reach out. You see – he lived his beliefs. It wasn’t all about money and what he could get. He gave of himself. This is what I would define as success and a life well lived.


I think people can tell when someone’s motives are not true. It’s like another sense. Don’t be fake. Fake people, or those only interested in what they can get, will ultimately come to their end alone – much like the man in the first story.

Don’t spend all the time you have (budget your time wisely) chasing money. The important things in life are the ones that money can’t buy. Take some time to build lasting friendships with family and others.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot Click To Tweet

I would much rather choose the path of the second man. What about you?

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Posted in Inspiring Successful Financial Attitudes and tagged , , , .


    • Thanks Mike. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the chase of financial independence (nothing wrong with that), but it was a good reminder to me too – as I was writing it. Thanks for commenting.

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