How to be a one-percenter

No, this isn’t a post about how to become one of the nation’s highest income earners.  Not that kind of one-percenter.  I’m talking about those tenets in life that probably fewer than 1% of us actually follow.

I like lists.  I’m also a rule follower.  So during my slow, snowy commute home today, I jotted down some rules about how to live a more meaningful and deliberate life.  I’m not going to pretend I follow all of these to a ‘T’ but as I sit here and reflect, they certainly would lead to a “rich” life in the top 1% as I define it.  And none of them have anything to do with money.

I’m not sure why I’m feeling obligated to jot these down now but I suspect it has something to do with the latest holiday we just celebrated.  My feelings around Thanksgiving tend to be all over the spectrum.  I try to reconcile the goodness the holiday inspires as our family gets together with the worst of it – Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

What makes me most sad about our consumerist society is pretty well summed up in this GMC Black Friday TV commercial.

I don’t know what makes me more bonkers – the tired woman who would rather get up at 3am to go shopping than spend time with her family or the perky woman who “saved thousands” by financing a $51,000 monster truck.

Bucket Fillers and DippersAnyway, here’s my list.  I write these with my kids in mind.

  • DO go forward with a focus on helping others and you’ll ultimately be helping yourself.
  • DO value experiences over stuff.  There is no such thing as retail therapy.
  • DO NOT care what others think of you.
  • DO be thankful for what you have and not resentful of what you don’t.
  • DO NOT worry about things outside of your control.  Rather, focus on the influence you have within your immediate circle.
  • DO work with full effort and ‘good luck’ will certainly follow.
  • DO have self-confidence and trust yourself.  Take in and evaluate different perspectives but ultimately do what is right for you.
  • DO NOT feel like you ‘deserve’ anything.
  • DO know when you have enough.
  • DO make decisions with the future in mind.
  • DO have integrity – do what you say and say what you do.  You’d be amazed how far you can get by simply showing up when you say you will.
  • DO NOT fear failure.  Learning from mistakes is the best education.
  • DO be impressive, not impressed.
  • DO NOT procrastinate – persist.
  • DO treat each day like a gift, it will help filter out the noise.
  • DO live intentionally, not by chance or with regrets.
  • DO be a bucket-filler and not a bucket-dipper.  This terminology was taught to me by my kids when they were in kindergarten and helps separate friendly from unfriendly actions.  I’ve used it ever since.

I’m sure I’ll think of others as time passes and may update this as I go.

What would your list look like to living life in the top 1%?


15 thoughts on “How to be a one-percenter”

  1. Brilliant. Very hard to add anything to this list, but I came up with a couple:

    DO NOT ever stop being curious. The world is filled with beauty and wonder. Take it in every chance you get.

    DO have a positive mindset. Try to see the world in the best light possible.

    The positive mindset is something I struggle with. My dad was the same way, so I think I learned it from him. It is very hard to turn it around, but it’s well worth trying. I

    1. Great additions, yours. It’s hard not to speak in cliches with a listing like this, but the parent in me felt the urge to get something down. Thanks for stopping by and the comment, Mr. 1500.

  2. Wow, I can’t believe this post doesn’t have more comments. It’s a wonderful list! I’ll add a few ~

    DO more listening than talking…you’ll learn more and not jump to conclusions as quickly.
    DO ask questions…and then listen to the answers!
    DO bump your actions against your values…stop doing anything that runs counter to what you value.
    DO some reading…it will spark new ideas.
    DO NOT look outside yourself for validation…you’ll be disappointed if you do.


  3. DO make your own luck. Nothing bad can come of it.

    I like how you learn things from your kindergartners. I learn stuff from my kids all the time. It’s amazing how you can grow up, get educated, get some initials after your name, make decent money, and get wealthy and not learn common sense stuff that 5 year olds understand intuitively.

    My 1.5 year old will grab his shoes and yank on my hand to pull me toward the door to go outside to play. Why can’t I just remember to focus on having fun on my own without having to be reminded by a kid who has a vocabulary of 20 words, many of which sound roughly the same?

  4. Haha. I’m with you, Justin. If I take off my parent hat every once in a while and just try to enjoy the moment with my now 8 year old twins, I find that I have a blast with them. Yeah, their conversations are filled with crude 2nd grade humor and potty talk, but in the grand scheme of things, they are just enjoying who they are and who they are with. I also find it interesting to see how often kids laugh in a day compared to adults. It has got to be close to a 30-to-1 ratio.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

    1. You are right, Robert. I don’t watch TV either. I only happened upon that ad while watching football at my parents house over the holidays. I hope you have a good 2014 and appreciate you stopping by.

      1. Which brings us neatly onto:

        DO NOT bother watching TV – it’s a massive waste of time. (Or at least keep it to a bare minimum)

        I am certain that would easily put you in the 1 percenter category 🙂

        Great list. Thanks!

        1. Bingo! We’ve been TV free now for about a year and we’re richer for it in two ways – both in the pocketbook and time departments. I wrote a little bit about it here.

  5. Be honest – with yourself (so important) and also with others. It’s so tempting to bluff yourself with a false narrative, and so hard to stop seeing yourself in a certain way once you’ve created that story.

    1. Great addition. Reminds me of some politicians who slant things so drastically and repeat non-truths so much that they actually believe they are talking in cold, hard facts.

      I enjoyed visiting your blog. NZ remains one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited and I could easily see myself living there one day. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment, Ms (or I guess it is now Mrs) Muse.

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