When you hear that someone is "wealthy," what do you usually think of? Do you think that they must have a lot of money? Do you think of someone with a big yacht or who has a closet full of expensive designer clothing? Perhaps you think of someone who owns a couple of houses scattered around the world. Generally, I think that is what comes to mind for me. I think of people like Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill and Melinda Gates, for example. And they are just a few of the really "wealthy" people I know about who have earned vast fortunes in their lines of work.
To many, the word, “wealth," means money and the many good things that go along with it.
But if you take a good hard look into the real meaning of wealth, you will see that there is so much more to it.
Real "wealth" is about much more than just money.
The dictionary definition of wealth is “an abundance of valuable possessions or money.” “The state of being rich." "Material prosperity,” and “plentiful supplies of a particular resource.” “A plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing.”
Some of the definitions refer to money and income. But many other desirable things in the world have nothing to do with money. And from some of the meanings of the word, it appears that if you have these things, you have wealth of your own.
So what are some of the things a person can own that are considered desirable and make him (or her) wealthy? Well, of course, that depends on the person. Since money is not the only kind of wealth there is, we can consider several things. Think of things like health and happy experiences.
What about healthy relationships? Or healing after a long illness?
Wealth is dependent upon a person’s idea of what is desirable.
It's all subjective. If you want to be happy in life, you need to decide what you consider to be "wealth." And then work to make those things come into your life with abundance.
Wealth might be finding the love of your life. It could be having a large family. Maybe wealth for you is being able to go on yearly vacations to special places you enjoy. Or perhaps it is as simple as taking the time to have a bubble bath at the end of each workday.
Consider what is your idea of wealth?
What brings you pleasure and happiness? Make a list of your “favorite things.” Place them in order. Rank them by the amount of joy each of them brings you.
Truly desirable things will nurture you and make you feel expansive. They will relax you and leave you with a sense of well-being. Wealth is not about how much money you have.
Wealth is about how rich your life feels to you.
Think about what you will be thinking about as you near the end of your life. Will you wish you had had more clothes or a bigger car? Or will you wish you had spent more time with your children? Will you regret the time you lost in work at the expense of your loved ones?
Consider that the things you will think about then are the things you should start investing in now.
Put down your phone and listen to what your children are saying to you. They will last longer in your mind in the future.
Bask in the moments while you enjoy your vacation with your family and friends. Take in everything around you. Absorb the beauty in the world.
Of course, some of these things will give you great moments and fond memories. But be sure that you do not desire these things merely to get another status symbol. If it promotes your health, wellness, and mental peace, then consider it beneficial. If it fosters unity between you and your loved ones, then that is what you will remember and value long term.
Pass this perspective along to the next generation.
I read somewhere that Warren Buffet, one of the richest men in the world, isn't planning on leaving his children all of his vast fortune. He intends to leave them "enough" (somewhere in the $2 billion range). But he has billions more that he plans to leave to charity and philanthropic endeavors. Other billionaires are doing the same. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill and Melinda Gates are leaving billions to charities and foundations to carry on good work instead of leaving their entire fortunes to their children.
Children learn about money from their parents since they are their first role models. Consider the messages--both the conscious and subconscious ones--you learned from your parents just by listening in on their "discussions" (i. e., arguments) about how to spend their money.
If you are generous with your money and give to charity and good causes, your children will likely follow your example.
And you don't have to have children of your own to leave an influence on young people. We always need strong role models. And we need people who will show the way to young people. Show them how to begin to put everything in their lives in order by showing them your example.
Remember that wealth is more than money in a bank account.
Money is important, of course, but it can't buy you happiness, or love, or good health. It can't buy peace of mind or a sense of being your own person.
What are some ways that you can pass this idea along to others? Take the opportunity to voice your thoughts about why wealth is more than just money. Share what wealth means to you with others. Talk about it with those who are interested in hearing your views.
Recognize that your actions speak louder than your words.
Put your time and effort into more than just lining your pockets with more money. Volunteer to good causes when you have the opportunity. Spend more time with your family. Put your best efforts and energy into helping people rather than accumulating more things.
Make time for extracurricular interests, too. Invite your children and their friends along. You can have a significant impact on others just by offering your time, conversation, and thoughts.
You can also volunteer to work directly with young people. Select a program where you can mentor young people and will have the chance to be involved with them one-on-one. They will notice what you do without you having to say anything about what you value.
And remember that you can build a sense of wealth in your life for being grateful for all that you do have instead of focusing on all that you don't have. Feeling abundant is the start of being abundant.
This article is Part 1 of a three-part series. Stay tuned next week for Part 2.
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