I want to start this article with a question for you:
What does being wealthy mean to you?
Earning six figures, possessing multiple properties, having power, having prestige, having someone else’s approval, the list could go on forever.
The average person defines wealth by means of the above examples, as a matter of fact, human beings have never been so obsessed with possessions before.
We live in a world where most people are never satisfied with what they have, they continuously need something new.
We look for something that can give us instant gratification, but this lasts just for a short period of time, and then the vicious circle starts again, as we long for further immediate pleasure.
Materialistic objects might give us the illusory impression of happiness in the short term, but in the long run, they represent our condemnation.
We become addicted to unbridled consumerism.
The idea of happiness based on having possessions is exceedingly widespread.
Society makes us think that in order to be happy and fulfilled we always need something more since what we already have is not enough.
The average person associates happiness and wealth with having money. They need it to keep up with the Joneses.
They are concerned about what other people may think of them.
It’s a never-ending race to possess more than everybody else.
Taking part in this foolish competition takes its toll!
Many people get stuck on the hamster wheel, chasing an illusory idea of happiness, without knowing exactly what they want out of their life.
They end up working extra hours, in order to afford to spend and have more, making their career the main center of their attention.
In doing so they miss out on what is really important in life; i.e. time to do what they like doing, time to nurture the relationship with their loved ones, time for their personal development, time to take care of their health, etc.
I really believe that true wealth is much more than having a large amount of money and material possessions at your disposal.
Most people are blinded by the misbelief - MORE is MORE - and therefore fail to appreciate what in my opinion is true WEALTH in life, i.e. FREEDOM, MEMORIES, HEALTH, LOVE, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP.
Let me try to stress what stated above by means of the following story.
THE FATHER AND HIS SON
A rich father who had accumulated a fortune over many years of hard work decided to take his young son on a trip to a nearby village to make his son realize how poor people lived.
They spent some days with the inhabitants of that little community.
Once they got back to their home, the father asked his boy: “Dear son, have you seen what being poor means?''
"Yes, father; I understood what being poor really means; we buy the most expensive, refined food while they grow it naturally.
We have the ultimate alarm system while their neighbors protect them.
We have a swimming pool in the garden, while they have the sea.
We watch our new brand televisions while they spend time together, chatting, dancing, and having fun.
We have the most expensive lamps that light up our home while they have the stars.
We own different lands, while they have endless fields.
We have a terrace, while they have the whole horizon.
We need to play video games to have fun, while a ball is all they need.
We have memory sticks with digital pictures while they have unforgettable memories.
We have state of the art drugs at our disposal, while they don’t need them”.
The father was left speechless.
Then the boy added: “Thank you father for showing me how poor we are.”
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
True wealth can mean different things for different people, as the story above shows.
We all value different things in life and so we cannot give an absolute answer to what true wealth really means.
Having said that, I am pretty sure that the majority of people nowadays long for MORE, MORE MONEY and MORE POSSESSIONS.
I can see everyday people that work their ass off just to pay off debts they have accumulated over time to buy useless objects.
I have chosen to adopt a minimalistic approach, where LESS is MORE.
I decided to appreciate what is already part of my life and to be grateful for it.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that aiming to have more money is wrong.
What I am questioning is if it is worth working really hard in order to be able to buy objects that blur our minds, preventing us from enjoying what we already have.
I think that looking at things in the same way as the boy in the story results in happiness.
You can be the richest person in the world moneywise, but if you are in poor health, emotionally poor, or without satisfactory relationships, I doubt you can be truly happy.
So many famous rich people have committed suicide despite having what most people long for.
On the other hand, it is pretty common to see less wealthy people enjoying a life devoid of worries.
A life based on LESS is MORE, where they appreciate all those little things in life that in the Western world we too often take for granted.
I believe that if we cannot find HAPPINESS in having time to spend with the people we love, in having time to devote to our personal development and to do what can make us feel fulfilled there’s no way money can buy it.
“If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself”. - Lao Tzu