Wanting What You’ve Got

March 13, 2011

You know you’re getting older when you start listening to radio stations featuring music from 15 years ago.  Last weekend, I really enjoyed an internet radio station that played only songs from the years I was in high school, brought back memories but also made me feel old.

After that ended the station started playing songs from early 2000 and one came on that I hadn’t heard for a while.  The songs were mostly backround music but this one song, this one lyric caught my ear.  When I heard it, I realized how true it was and how much of a difference it could make in someone’s life.

The song was “Soak Up the Sun” by Sheryl Crow and the lyric says:

“It’s not having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got”

Having What You Want

The pursuit of having what you want is one that can lead to eternal disappointment.  For whatever reason, us humans seem to be wired to always want more than we have.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, this drive to achieve is what helps many of us excel in life.  This internal force is the momentum behind countless acheivements where people accomplished things they were told couldn’t be done. 

Pioneers in all areas of our society have had big dreams, have had enormous “wants” and pursued those relentlessly.  Innovation and growth have helped to propel the “American Dream” for hundreds of years.  That dream has changed from generation to generation but a common theme has been to make a better life for ourselves, our families, and our community.

There’s no doubt that the struggle to have what you want for you and your family can be exhausting. I think one of the reasons for this is that we keep resetting the standard that we strive to meet.  We achieve our goals, then look ahead to the next milestone of our American dream.

One of the things that happened along the way is that people discovered they could get what they wanted sooner by borrowing money to pay for it.  It became possible to spend money we don’t have and after a while we found ourselves working to pay the interest on the American dream that we had paid for pre-maturely – before we could actually afford it.

Wanting What You’ve Got

So back to the lyrics, “it’s not having what you want – It’s wanting what you’ve got”.  There’s nothing wrong with ambition and the desire to grow and excel but if we can’t take time to appreciate where we’ve come from and what we’ve acheived – then we spend our whole life trying to get what we want. 

This can be tough to do, I struggle with this myself.  I have big dreams and big plans so sometimes I have to stop and remind myself of the blessings I have in life.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to squash the voice in my head that drives me to improve and create but I have to make sure that I take time to “want what I’ve got”.   What do you think?  Is it easier said than done, or are you pretty content with your spot in life?

Anyhow, not that I’m finished with my financial reflections, here are some articles from the week you might enjoy:

Personal Finance


Also, thanks to Own the Dollar for recently including Money Smart Life in the carnival of Credit Score and Debt and to Kid Money for our inclusion in the Family Finances carnival.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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