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The Rental Principle

Grandparents posing with grandchildren

by Chuck

I heard Roy Vaden recently talk about what he calls the Rental Principle.  It sounds pretty simple but I think you’ll agree that it has a lot to say about success in all parts of life:

“Success is not owned, it is rented – and rent is due every day.”

Whether we define success in terms of money, relationships, weight loss, learning, spiritual growth, or a dozen other things, they all have one thing in common: Success can and does go away.  There are pretty yellow flowers growing in my yard and one of our goals every year is to have a dandelion-free yard.  I’d love to be done with getting rid of these pesky flowers but I need to keep active or my lawn is covered with them.

A couple things stand out to me when I think about Roy’s Rental Principle:

  1. Success is a lifestyle, not an end result.
  2. I need to know when and how to pay “rent.”

First, I think I fall into the “if only” trap quite often.  Most of the time I’m blaming other people and circumstances with the expectation that if things changed, then I’d be great.  Yet the Rental Principle is founded on the truth that success is a never-ending pursuit.  Yes, celebrate success in the moment, but do the things to keep success around.

Kelly and I have great memories from our wedding ceremony but what makes us close today is dependent on how I interact with her.  My good marriage is not owned, it is rented – and rent is due every day.

My girls are growing up so fast and learning so many things.  I spent a lot of time with them a few weeks ago but I’ve been a bit absent and “barky” this week.  No matter what I paid last week, I need to keep paying this week.  Being a good dad is not owned, it is rented – and rent is due every day.

Second, knowing how and when to pay rent is just as important as knowing it is due.  There was a time that people would pay their doctor with produce and chickens but Kaiser doesn’t have that option anymore.

Success in sports depends on a lot of factors including good attitude and knowledge about the game, but unless you can score (baskets, goals, touchdowns, points) you are going to lose.  Knowing what sport you are playing also determines when and how you do things so you can be successful.

Become familiar with The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  Every person is created with different ways of showing love and being loved.  For example, I really enjoy Quality Time, and my wife thrives on Words of Affirmation.  One of my daughters’ primary love language is Receiving Gifts and she remembers who gave her even the smallest gifts.  My other daughter values Quality Time, too, and loves to do things with others.

The problem is that I like to give love in the way that I like it to come to me.  For me to give love to my family, I need to do it in the way that makes it easier for them to receive it.  So, I have to be purposeful.

I also need to pay rent every day.  Sure there are times when I’m not physically around or that I don’t have much to give, but even on those days, I need to realize rent is due and make some sort of arrangement.  For example, I travel some and there are times that I know my girls need to know that I’m thinking about them. I’ll may write a note for each of them and put it in a place that surprises them.  I call when I can.  I’ll take time to listen a bit more carefully.  I also let them know when I will pay what’s due in terms of time by talking about the upcoming weekend or some significant time we’ll have in the future.  I’m not talking about trying to overcompensate for guilt, I am encouraging all of us to be purposeful and realize that when rent is due and we can’t pay, we need a communicated plan.

I hope the Rental Principle is as helpful to you as it has been for me.

What are some ways that you’ve seen the Rental Principle in your life?  How have you been able to pay rent when you are short on resources?