Like so many folks of my vintage, on the day I reached my sixtieth birthday, I began an involuntary self-assessment and reappraisal of my life. This was not a dramatic or religious rebirth; it was not a form of salvation or psychological liberation, and I did not “find myself” or “recreate myself”. Instead, this was a gentle wonderment about what I had done to get this far and what value I might have brought to the world.
WEALTH AND HAPPINESS
As I pondered my life and my place in the world, I came to the conclusion that although I had been reasonably successful in a business sense, I had never been fabulously wealthy or incredibly famous...and I think I am fine with that because I am not sure how well I would have handled those things... At this point I will probably never find out. My mind then wandered to some of the people I met along the way. For the most part, those who achieved fabulous wealth and fame missed the mark in one very important area...they often lacked a genuine spirit of fun or a feeling of joy for just the simple pleasure of being alive.
Rich folks who are “self-made” or who move from poor to rich through hard work, intelligence and personal effort seem to give up so much of their souls that they seldom sit back and spend time enjoying the fruits of their labours. Despite the fact that they exceed the norms in terms of effort and accomplishment, they often miss out on the very things they work so hard to achieve. They start out wanting more money so they can have security; a grand lifestyle and possessions galore but once they get those things they feel no joy from them. Instead of taking time out to smell the roses and float in a sea of secure tranquility, they work even harder in order to grow their portfolio of possessions. Even when they are happy, it is seldom because of their wealth or the things they have acquired...and yet they continue to acquire “stuff”.
LACK OF WEALTH CAN BRING HAPPINESS
Unlike the rich folks I know, the poor, struggling or mediocre folks I have met generally seem to display a greater sense of good humour or pure joy on a much more regular basis. They appreciate small wins and simple acts of kindness. Any new experiences are wonderful and fun for them because they cannot afford to do whatever they want, whenever they want like their wealthy counterparts. They find humour in their own struggles and they laugh when they inadvertently engineer small failures in their lives. They don’t take themselves too seriously and they admire people who are simply kind or nice. They often joke about their own lack of money and how they have trouble making ends meet. They are often selfless and think nothing of putting themselves out to help another person. In short, non-wealthy people find happiness in the simplest of things. They enjoy life and they appreciate every good thing that comes their way.
THE BAR IS SET VERY HIGH
My evaluation of this phenomenon is that rich people set the bar so high for themselves that it is impossible to reach for even the most aggressive of them. When they reach one goal, they set another, higher one. When they seem to have reached their maximum potential, they don’t go home and enjoy their lives, they seek more and greater opportunities to create wealth. No matter how much material success they attain, they know that someone somewhere has something they do not have and that creates a need in them to work harder to show the world that no one can best them. Competitive to a fault, they are driven by their own minds to continuously improve their positions in life.
WE NEED A BALANCE OF WEALTH
Unlike the very rich, non-wealthy, not-famous people realize that despite any potential they might have, they will probably never reach the heights that the rich and famous wallow in. They accept that they have self-limiting characteristics that hold them back. They understand that despite all of the books, blogs, coaches and consultants that bombard us with well-intended, success-creating-propaganda on a daily basis, there is only room at the top for a select few. Most people do not practice, the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” nor have they read that very popular book by Steven Covey. Most think that Tony Robbins is a great orator and brilliant thinker, but they really do not want to expend the effort or change their lives to the extent that he suggests in “Awaken the Giant Within”. For them, those concepts are for the not-so-regular people who float and fly about, making business deals and signing contracts on yachts or private jets. Those things are for “them”; “the others”; the “chosen few”. After all, if everyone on earth were rich, where would all of the money come from to overflow their bank accounts? Clearly we need a balance of rich, poor and middle-class to make our economy function for everyone.
WE CAN ALL BE SUCCESSFUL IN OUR OWN WAY
Now that I am older and have very few years left to work, I understand that we all cannot be rich, but we all CAN be successful.
To those rich folks who are compelled by their minds to work tirelessly to create wealth, I say, “Good on you!” You make a difference!
To all of the non-wealthy people I say, “Great job!” You bring normalcy to the world and make all of us feel good about ourselves. You matter!
PLEASE REMEMBER THIS:
“Relative success is not about money or status. It is the measure of how others feel about you and how you feel about yourself.”
All the Best!