Better Angels: Do You Have A Net

Our net worth is ultimately defined not by dollars but by how well we serve others – Paul Allen. 

Making an Impact Through Nets

Two-time NBA MVP and current scoring champion Stephen Curry is known for his scoring prowess, especially behind the 3-point line. It seems like every time he shoots from anywhere on the court you get the feeling that it is going to go in. But there is a greater cause behind those points that come from beyond the arc; mosquito nets. When Curry found out the high death rate (one child dies every two minutes) caused by malaria and that mosquito nets treated with insecticides were necessary to curb this deadly but preventable devastation on life, he teamed up with a United Nations campaign called  ‘Nothing But Nets’. Curry applied his scoring abilities to bring awareness to this campaign. Aside from his own personal contribution, for every 3-pointer made, Curry donates three mosquito nets to the foundation. Curry is making a significant impact off the court because he is playing with a greater cause. He has found his net and is literally saving lives. 

Build Your Net

Having a net means living a life that extends and reaches beyond ourselves. It’s having a cause that creates significance and makes an impact on other people’s lives. How is this expressed in our lives?  

Have an End Game

Every idea, vision, or mission must carry with it an end game, which is always bigger than itself. When Phil Knight started Nike, his goal was not to be a big name brand or make millions, but as a former track athlete, he wanted to improve the runner’s shoes. This was the cause that created the net.

What or who does your ultimate goal serve? Is it plugged into something greater than yourself? When you find a way to attach what you do to a cause bigger than you, then love, perseverance, confidence, contentment, and relationships will be attracted to your life as well. 

Play the Long Game

In his book, No Excuses, New York Times bestselling author Brian Tracy references a term called “long time perspective” derived from sociologist Dr. Edward Banfield’s research on successful people. According to Brian, successful people look ahead as far as they can into the future as they consider their decisions and actions in the present. In short, they look before they leap. 

Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, once rehashed how he started the online behemoth. He left a good-paying job and applied an interesting metric by which he measured the importance of taking the leap; regret. He looked ahead to his 80-year-old self and wondered if not starting what is now one of the world’s most successful organizations would be his greatest regret. To him, it was better to try and fail than to live with the regret of “what if.” 

Playing the long game at what matters, no matter how long it takes, is one of the best decisions you could ever make in your life. Is it better to try and fail at what matters than to succeed at what doesn’t?

Master the Short Game

This may sound contradictory to the last one but stick with me for a moment. In golf, everyone wants to hit the hole in one from a distance. But if you talk with the pros, they will tell you that the game is really won at the short game (50 yards or less). This is where the pros spend their time practicing. The short game in golf requires creativity, imagination, innovation, intention, precision, and discipline. Traits that come from a commitment to the process. 

These same traits are key to winning in everyday life as you play the long game. Mastering the short game is about your daily practices. It is who you are becoming on the inside, to have a net on the outside. These practices begin much like concrete, which, when poured, is shifty, fragile, and soft. But as it remains in place and cures, it becomes strong and serves as the foundation for a house for a long time to come. If you engage in developing yourself daily, you will discover a level of fitness that will sustain you in the long game and subsequently extend your reach and impact. 

Final Thought: A greater cause is always close by if you are aware and willing to reach for it. By having an endgame, playing the long game, and mastering the short game, you will create a net worth that will serve others.  

Keep on Keeping on!


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