I recently read The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel. Thanks Hetal for the great suggestion. It has many great insights on personal finance. I would like to especially mention two of them which sunk inside me. The first one is, to quote from the book,

“Controlling your time is the highest dividend money pays”.

It is not the luxury that money gets you but the freedom to choose whatever you want to. And this is the reason we should strive to become wealthy. Not for happiness, because happiness is a state of mind (for that you need Black Lotus :P). Become wealthy to be free.

It is the second insight which is the topic for this post. To again quote from the book,

“$81.5 billion of Warren Buffett’s $84.5 billion net worth came after his 65th birthday. Our minds are not built to handle such absurdities.

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Effectively all of Warren Buffett’s financial success can be tied to the financial base he built in his pubescent years and the longevity he maintained in his geriatric years. His skill is investing, but his secret is time. That’s how compounding works.

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Compounding only works if you can give an asset years and years to grow. It’s like planting oak trees: A year of growth will never show much progress, 10 years can make a meaningful difference, and 50 years can create something absolutely extraordinary. But getting and keeping that extraordinary growth requires surviving all the unpredictable ups and downs that everyone inevitably experiences over time.”

Seeing the data of Warren Buffett’s wealth, this sounds as a compelling financial argument. But I felt this makes sense for our life goals also. For example, I have recently started (again) spending around 25 minutes daily for running and exercise. I have been following a strict spiritual morning and evening routine for years. I have a full-time 9 to 5 job, in which every month there are out of project initiatives my manager wants me to be part of. Along with that I have to commute and cook. And then spend time to gain more knowledge of the field I am in. Sometimes when I am so tired at the end of the day after such a busy & long day, I question if it is really worth it. That, along with my work, I try to gain new knowledge, read books, exercise, meditate, and chant. After doing all of these, am I any better than most of my peers who don’t do even one of this extra activity. And the answer would be if not today, maybe in 3 years, but surely in 10 years. And this is the thing. That we have to give anything uninterrupted time to show the results. So even with all the changes that would be coming there in our lives we need to keep continuing the daily practice. There would always be an important assignment at the office or a social occasion in the family. But the practice must not stop.

Always remember the secret is time.  Be it mantra chanting, meditation, or any other skill you want to master. I can say now, after putting dedicated efforts for three and a half years with Sadhana and chanting I am starting to get some hang over it. Though I could be even wrong about that belief. In the initial few years there is no visible progress after the immediate starting days. And in that phase when the initial euphoria has died, can you continue with your efforts is the challenge. One thing that helps is if you really love whatever you are doing. In that case, it doesn’t feel like a daily drag. For example, having a deep devotion makes doing Sadhanas easier. So much so, that I would recommend to not start any chanting before having the devotion for the deity of the mantra. Still that doesn’t prevent from some days on which your resolve and determination is tested. But the good part is, the results are absolutely worth the toil. Hopefully, in the next five years my oak tree would grow even more bigger and amazing.

So my friend what is that thing you are willing to put in your daily efforts for years? What is your the magnificent oak tree?