How to Make Your Fortune: Become Your Own Hero
I don't mean "make a fortune." I mean, "make YOUR fortune," like a character in an adventure story.
The point is not to get rich. The point is to take charge of your life; to be responsible for your own future. It is no coincidence that predicting your future is called "fortune telling." (See also: Balance Living in the Now With Planning for the Future)
Viewed from this perspective, your life is like an adventure story.
You wouldn't want your life to be too much like an adventure story, because that would suck. Adventure stories are often action stories, and people in action stories are usually in danger. They often have an adversary who is clever and highly skilled. They have to take terrible risks for high stakes — often their lives.
But there are other kinds of adventure story, besides action stories.
Be an Adventure Hero, Not an Action Hero
You don't want to live like an action hero — always getting shot at and blown up. You want to approach life like an adventure hero.
An adventure hero is ready to take risks and make bold moves. An adventure hero knows he or she might make mistakes, but knows that most mistakes can be recovered from. An adventure hero knows that failure is always possible, but that most failures can be survived — and that a hero who survives a failure can move on as a wiser hero. (See also: How to Embrace Failure and Win)
Shape Your Own Story
There's an arc to the structure of a story. It can be described many different ways, but certain pieces show up over and over again: traveling down the road of trials, gathering powers and allies, confronting evil, being defeated, and only achieving victory at the very end.
For the same reason these structures resonate in stories, they also resonate in real life. Let's look at a couple of them.
Understand Your Motivation
Any story is driven by the motivation of the hero. Sometimes the motivation is something big: slay the dragon to save the village, thwart the terrorists to save the country, stop the mad scientist to save the world. Other times the motivation is smaller: find Mr. Right, reconnect with an old friend, rescue a puppy. (See also: 25 Ways to Get Motivated)
In this, stories are just like real life: a character's motivation might be anything. All that matters is that it be something the character cares about (and that, in the story, the writer shows the depth of feeling by the character's actions).
Your own motivations grow out of your own values. A hero's actions seem true when the reader can see how they grow out of the hero's motivations. That's how things are in the best stories. A confusing mis-match between actions and values is the mark of a mediocre story.
So, what motivates you? What are your goals and dreams? Once you understand those, you'll have no choice but to begin the adventure, just like an adventure hero.
Gather Your Powers and Allies
Your greatest powers in this adventure are the knowledge and wisdom that come with experience. The knowledge of what's a good deal and what's a bad one is hard to learn except through experience. Harder yet, but even more important, is the knowledge of what's a need and what's a want. (See also: You Think You Need This, But You Really Don't)
Most important of all, in the adventure of making your fortune, is the wisdom to understand that satisfying just a few wants — if they're the right wants — is the difference between a life of drudgery and a life of joy. It's the difference between confronting evil and being defeated, and confronting evil and being victorious.
Never forget that there are a lot of allies out there: your family, your friends, your colleagues, and many others whose own travel down the road of trials runs for a time along with yours. They all can help, even your adversaries — for what is an adventure story without adversaries?
We here at Wise Bread hope you'll count us among your allies. Our pages here are filled to the brim with knowledge (and maybe even a little wisdom), and we hope that learning things here will be less of a trial than learning them through your own hard experience.
Travel Down the Road of Trials — With Enthusiasm
Most lives are filled with trials, big and small, so we might as well include them in the stories we tell ourselves.
If you want to live large on a small budget, you have some particular trials to face. First, you have to earn enough money to cover that small budget (and a bit more, so you can save). Then you have to figure out the spending patterns that let you live well on that budget. (See also: Find Your Hidden Spending Habits)
It's going to be an adventure however you do it — so you might as well do it adventurously.
Adventure is uncomfortable — and can be dangerous. And yet, it has an eternal appeal.
The appeal is that the hero of an adventure story is making his own fortune. Bad things will surely happen, and powerful forces will stand in opposition, but a hero on an adventure is in charge of his own future. His motivations come from his own values, and his actions are true to them. He is making his fortune.
Seize that appeal, and put it to the service of your own life. Set out on your own adventure.
Set out to make your fortune.
Do you see yourself as the hero of your own story? Are you living with intent and direction? Tell us in comments!