What is the True Meaning of Wealth?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Wealth” as an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources. Early in my career, this is how I too defined its meaning. At that time for me, success and wealth were inexorably linked. I believed that I wanted the big home, the nice car and the fancy vacation. In hindsight, that “want” was not real. Rather, I was simply grasping at a desired self-identity as a form of ego gratification.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “Wealth” as an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources.
Over the years, my definition has changed. Today, I view true wealth as a three legged stool. The first leg is financial security, the second is living with purpose and the third, is a healthy mind and spirit. The absence of any of the three renders the others incomplete. It takes them all to create real wealth.
I view financial security as fuel for the engine that provides life’s experiences. There is no doubt that having distance between your current and future financial demands and your financial wherewithal is important. However, once that distance is great enough, I question whether there is much value in continuing to have your primary focus placed on further accumulation. Not having to be constantly worried about money may provide some peace of mind, but alone it will not deliver real and sustainable happiness. Happiness emanates from the existence of the other two legs of the stool.
Living life with a purpose is key. Having a strong reason to get up each day and take action lends itself to fulfillment and exhilaration. Too many of us are aimless, or just haven’t done the internal work needed to understand what truly drives us, what makes our hearts race and adrenaline flow. Often, we feel it when we are young and let it go, explaining it away as merely idealism. I believe idealism metered by wisdom is the makings of purpose. Personally, my purpose is to make a meaningful impact in the lives of my family, my clients and my community. It may sound idealistic or far reaching, but I have the wisdom to understand that I will continue to encounter many obstacles and setbacks, but the clarity that comes from having a purpose helps to drive me forward. Take time to find your purpose, the reward of doing so is worth the effort.
True wealth needs a healthy mind and spirit to fully manifest. A mind that is fed and challenged is a mind well used. I love to learn. I make it a personal goal to learn something new each day, even if that nugget of knowledge in banal in nature. I spend a lot of time with my mind. I am a student of it. Slowing thinking down and watching your mind is a gift that I would encourage all to undertake.
Spirituality has different meanings for most everyone. To some, it is religion; to others it is being one with nature. Regardless of belief, having a sense of spirituality is key to realizing true wealth. Whether it is a house of worship, a meditation cushion or a long run, know where you can find peace and refuge.
True wealth is a wobbly three-legged stool in constant need of being balanced. I sense that balance will be my life’s work. Yet, once I redefined wealth, I found greater happiness. It is my hope that you too find happiness and I would truly like to hear about your definition of wealth. Maybe we can all learn from one another.
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Thanks for reading.