Growing or Showing
We in the United States measure success in financial terms. I should know, I’m an accountant. It isn’t good enough to report what happened during the year in order to calculate your taxes or track your standings. At the end of the day, we American’s have the belief that if you’re not growing then you’re dying.
The problem is that we Americans only be able to focus on fiscal or physical growth. I suppose it makes sense because it is something that is measurable. A business can measure its income and expenses to determine if money was made during the year. A business can observe a bank account to see if there is more cash in the bank today than yesterday. What is more difficult is seeing the growth of the quality of the product or service that business is providing. If you stay in one line of business too long you forget why you are really there in the first place.
I’d ask that you give this article a read then come back to discuss. Go ahead, click on the link. It won’t bite and it will open in another window so you won’t lose your place.
For starters, I know you are shocked that I’m asking you to read an article about craft beer. You never would have thought that was the case. However, I do believe that this article and the latest boom in craft brewers “selling out” to macro breweries is indicative of the American mindset that if you aren’t growing then you're dying.
Lagunitas was a craft brewer founded in 1993 in California. The beer was extremely popular and the growth was so fast that they brewer soon moved out of the initial location. Before you know it, Lagunitas was brewing in Chicago and soon the brewery will have three brewing locations. As noted in the article, in 2015 Lagunitas sold 50% ownership to Heineken International and overnight Lagunitas was no longer a craft brewery. In my opinion, growth had killed one of craft brewing’s most well known brands. Was it all necessary?
Our goal in life should be to find happiness and contentment; not profit. Sure, in today’s economic world we all need money to survive. How does the saying go: money can’t buy happiness? That may be true but money can buy food and shelter which is what we all need. What we don’t necessarily need is more money buy that super-expensive car or that ridiculously overpriced pair of jeans.
Growth is good but it doesn’t apply to your bank account. Growth is good when it improves your product or service (in the case of a business) or it improves your life (in the case of your soul). There are examples of people who make millions of dollars are year but are miserable because they sacrificed their happiness in order to make more money. There are just as many, if not more, stories of people who left high-paying jobs and guaranteed wealth because they were miserable and wanted to get more out of life than sitting in an office.
I would rather be one of the latter people. I don’t need a ton of money as long as I can live comfortably, enjoy the short time I have on this planet with my friends and family, and hopefully make it a better place. Growing my pocket book isn’t as important as growing my mind. Showing off my Tesla isn’t as important as showing my daughter how to make pancakes. If spending more time in the world doing what I enjoy doing means earning less money and living a more frugal life then it is totally worth it.
P.S. This is one of my shorter blogs and probably one of my more discombobulated posts. I had a really hard time putting together the thoughts into something cohesive. I read the article about growth of Lagunitas and I was instantly struck by the idea of business and people trying to grow for the sake of growth. It seems to be an instinct that is bred into every American that if you aren’t growing you’re dying. The concept is reasonable but in our very American way we have decided that it means if you aren’t growing your wallet then you might as well be dead. This has lead to a populace that is overworked and under-educated. There are other, more important things to grow like your spirit. I know that working is important to purchase things that you need but I think it is more important to find and do something you love to live a reasonable life and give back to the world in some small way rather than just taking whatever you can from it in order to make your checking account balance a little higher. Maybe it's just me.