Personal Finance Challenge #35: Focus on Sustainability, Not Growth

Do you remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? Basically the hare overestimates his ability for speed and the tortoise wins the race by simply keeping a steady yet slow pace.

Its seems in our effort to ALWAYS have growth in our economies, we have reached a point where we need to take a nap for awhile, just like the hare did. And now we will probably lose the race we wanted to win.

Let’s not argue about why we are running a race at all, but lets focus simply on what growth and sustainability mean for our lives.

Growth means I have the continued capacity to do and achieve more…

I can have a bigger house. A more expensive car. I can pay people to do all the things I want done. I can provide for many people. I can live off my largesse the rest of my life.

Yet let’s think about this logically for a second. Even people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet will run out of money eventually. All their billions of dollars will be used up and it will be gone, unless…

The benefactors of that money learn how to sustain it.

“Feed a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

You see the problem isn’t simply to grow larger then you are now. This means is isn’t necessarily about making more money or anything of that nature.

It means you need to learn how to sustain what you already have.

For instance, if you lost your job right now, could you sustain what you have?

For the majority of people in developed nations I would say the answer would probably be a resounding no.

Now if you had a nice fat retirement account, some side business, a trust fund, a paid off farm, etc then you could probably sustain yourself and still grow from there.

You need assets that pay you. Things that help you not only to survive, but to flourish. Things that don’t necessarily help you grow, but they do sustain you quite well.

Things that immediately pop to my mind include, but certainly aren’t limited too…

Family that support you…

Friends that help you…

A spouse that cares and wants the best for you…

Business partners that believe in win-win scenarios…

Customers that think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread…

Money in the bank…

A paid off house and home…

Some land that you can grow food on…

Access to fresh water…

Freedom to do as you please, not harming anyone in the process…

And there are many, many more that I am sure you can think of.

The key here is sustainability, NOT growth, and I wish our world leaders would recognize this. I wish they would stop focusing on their failed economies, stop focusing on growth, and start thinking about how we can really sustain over 7 billion people on a planet with limited resources.

The time for financial growth is over. It is no longer about how much money you have, but how well you can sustain yourself and your family in the years to come.

I hope you will ponder this idea further…

This is our 35th challenge in The Personal Finance Challenge Series…

Originally posted 2011-11-05 01:51:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


  1. Dear author, I don’t quite agree with you here. It still takes me more than 24 hours to fly around the world. I would like that to be faster. I can only drive at 75MPH in this country (legally) and about 100 MPH in others. I would like that to be much faster. technology has come a long way this century but I do not think we should be content with what we have. Remember, we have not been able to explore much beyond the earth thanks to our narrow-mindedness when it comes to energy. We still are burning fuel formed after years of sedimentation at a much faster pace than it was formed. Evolution, if you believe in it, will show that if a species does not continue to improve it perishes. We should stop enjoying our so-called luxuries. We should remind ourselves that the luxuries of the eighteenth century are perhaps beaten even by the present day campsites.

    • Hi Vince,

      It seems that humans will never be satisfied until they can teleport themselves everywhere….

      I would also argue that moving our bodies around faster with technology is not an improvement to the species. An improvement to the mind and/or body would be an improvement to the species. Moving faster in a vehicle is not an improvement to the mind or body.

      While you may do as you will, I would suggest not putting so much faith in our current day technology. Rome’s Aqueducts, Egypt’s Pyramids, and China’s Great Wall were all built without modern day technology. Take away our technology and I doubt modern day humans would be able to pull off such feats because we are using our technology as a crutch.

      Perhaps we can at least agree that the “so-called luxuries” you speak of are the same as the “technology as a crutch” that I speak of?


  2. This article is a wonderful reminder not only for business people but for young kids as well. We should not only dream of getting rich quickly but we should also know and learn how to sustain it so as to have a more fruitful future.
    Thanks for sharing this very insightful and very helpful post.
    This will definitely be saved on my bookmark.

    • Hi Louie,

      Thanks for the comment! As you know there are too many stories of treasures gained and then lost. If we focus on sustainability perhaps we can begin to spend more time on the more important things in life.



  1. […] Kill Procrastination 32. Negotiation Makes It Happen 33. Get Money In The Bank 34. Gain Assets 35. Focus On Sustainability, Not Growth 36. Current Position Vs. Where You Want To Be 37. Smiling Pays Dividends 38. Learn To Give & […]