Where Do You Want Your Family to Be?

Patterning Our Lives

I was once on a European tour with a doctor who had succeeded not only in his practice but also in financial planning. He was wealthy and lived a lavish lifestyle. He owned three airplanes, several exotic cars, and properties in fabulous places. In fact, he told the story of having recently purchasing a Ferrari—something he’d always wanted to add to his collection—only to realize he didn’t really care to have the showpiece. He sold it within the first month. Clearly he was discovering that “things” don’t necessarily bring the satisfaction the world tells us they should.

Entitlement Abolition

He provided well for his children, paying for everything throughout their lives, and allowing them full access to the planes, cars, and wealth. But he was mystified why they lacked a sense of responsibility and work ethic in their own lives. He had wanted to be a good parent, and thought by providing for them, they would be able to take his abundance, capitalize on it, and catapult the next generation into even more abundance.

He was just coming to experience that sharing the abundance with his children (dumping the fish), without requiring them to put some skin in the game (learning how to fish), was only discouraging growth and encouraging unnecessary consumption.

As we talked, he wanted to know more about the Abundance by Choice event we present throughout the year. As we discussed the values, principles, and strategies shared at the retreat, especially our focus on how families should accumulate KASH (an acronym I use for Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, Habits).

This doctor thought the ABC event would be helpful for his son, in particular, to attend. But not surprisingly, his son declined the offer. Why would he want to go and listen to some guy talk to him about the principles of abundant living?

The doctor was dismayed at his son’s ambivalence. But then … I worried for the future of his own abundance when, toward the end of the trip, he was talking about buying yet another Ferrari. Often, having more than enough can be too much for people. Many families are similar, at risk of forgetting what got them there, which is when they put themselves in jeopardy of losing it all.


If we look at the rise and fall of major civilizations, like the Roman Empire, we can see a pattern that often happens in families today. It begins with a period of significant growth, an era filled with expansion in several areas: skills, wisdom, knowledge, affluence, and ways of living.

This leads to continued increase, with knowledge, influence and power spurring the development of even more knowledge, influence, and power. Wealth and abundance abound … until entitlement creeps in.

Political leaders, privileged segments of society (and even the poor who become accustomed to receiving handouts) lose that humble dedication to growth, learning, and cooperation that brought about the abundance. It’s replaced by a selfish assumption that all the wealth is a given, that it should continue in perpetuity without hard work and planning.

In time, the abundance and resources of the society dwindle, dissipating until the people fight over the last bits of sustenance. The society is left to start from scratch, and often, it never rises to the same level of prominence again.


When it comes to your own micro-civilization, your family, it’s important to look at your patterns to determine whether you’re on the path to abundance or scarcity, whether you’re becoming Thrivers or stalling out as Strivers, whether you’re cultivating empowerment or entitlement.

If you’re like most families, you’re probably living with a blend of all these patterns. And that’s okay; it’s an authentic place to start. But to really get where you want to go—an abundant living family who knows how to create Authentic Wealth and perpetuate it for generations to come—takes proactivity. It doesn’t happen by chance.

It requires identifying your strengths and challenges, setting goals, learning practical strategies that will help you improve, and having the discipline to follow through, despite the inevitable setbacks. In my latest book, Entitlement Abolition, I walk families through each of these steps, giving them the road map to abundance and the prescription for abolishing entitlement.

Although it may not be easy (the best things in life rarely are), it will be well worth it to do everything you can to avoid ending up like the world’s stagnant civilizations and lead your family toward a brighter future.

To learn how you can teach your children and grandchildren “how to fish” and get access to the introduction of our book Entitlement Abolition click here.