Two Out of Three by Jim Stovall

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One of the most questionable advertising, marketing, or promotional phrases is, “You can have it all.” You can have all of some things and more of other things, but you can’t have all of everything. 

Time, energy, and money are all finite resources. Wealth brings you choices, but the ability to choose “all of the above” doesn’t exist. I believe if you’re producing any product or service, your results can be fast, good, or cheap. You can pick two out of three, but you can’t have them all. If you want something fast and good, it will be expensive. If you want something fast and cheap, it will not be good.  

When you’re investing your money, you can invest for safety, liquidity, or return. There’s no right answer, and any of these goals will be appropriate for certain investors at various times of their lives; however, once again, you can’t have it all. If you want total safety, you will have to give up some liquidity and some return. If, on the other hand, you want the highest possible return, you will forego liquidity and safety; important decisions in your personal life, therefore, are not yes or no. They are top five or top ten type of decisions.  

We often overlook issues of health, family, spirituality, and well-being when we establish our priorities. All things being equal, more money is better than less money, but if you’re sacrificing your health or quality time with your loved ones for money, it is likely a poor bargain; we must, therefore, budget the things that are finite such as our time and money while prioritizing the elements of life that are infinite such as spirituality, well-being, and significance.  

A veteran airline pilot once told me that on a four-hour, coast-to-coast flight, we would be off-course at least three-and-one-half hours of the entire trip. Our lives are much the same way in that success involves a constant adjustment and precise management of all elements. We live in a high-definition movie environment, not a single-frame snapshot photo. The right priorities and percentages for me would likely be improper for you, and even if you have perfect balance today, it probably won’t fit for you next week, next month, or next year.  

Wisdom comes not only from making good decisions but in deciding how to decide. 

As you go through your day today, realize you can’t have it all, so get what matters most to you. 

Today’s the day! 

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This and other motivational pieces by bestselling author Jim Stovall can be found in Wisdom for Winners Volume Three, an official publication of the Napoleon Hill Foundation