When you hear the word “wealth”, what do you think of? Someone with a yacht, designer clothing and a beach house? To many people the world “wealth” means money and the good things that go along with it. But if we take a look into the real meaning of wealth, we will find there is so much more to it.
The definition of wealth is “an abundance of valuable possessions or money”, “the state of being rich; material prosperity”, “plentiful supplies of a particular resource”, “a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing” and “well-being; prosperity”. Some of the definitions obviously refer to money and income, but there are many desirable things that have nothing to do with money. And from some of the definitions of the word, it appears that if you have these desirable things, you have wealth.
If this is the case, what are some of the things a person can possess that are considered desirable and make him (or her) wealthy? That depends on the person. Since money is not the only wealth, we can consider things like health, experiences, relationships and memories as desirable things that create wealth in one’s life.
Wealth is also dependent upon a person’s idea of what is desirable, so what may not be considered desirable to one person may be what another individual considers his greatest source of wealth. If you want to be happy in life, you need to search out and decide what you consider to be wealth, and make that come to abundance in your life.
Wealth can be finding the love of your life, having a large family, going on special yearly vacations to the places you enjoy the most, or taking the time to have a bubble bath at the end of each work day. What is desirable to you? What brings you pleasure and happiness? Make a list of your “favorite things” and then place them in order according to the amount of joy each of them bring you.
Truly desirable things will nurture you, relax you and leave you with a lingering sense of well-being. Wealth is how rich your life feels to you in the presence of these beautiful things that you do for yourself.
Keep a Long-Term Perspective
Think about what is going to be on your mind when you are nearing the end of your life. Will you wish you had more stylish clothing or a fancier car? Or will you wish you had looked longer at your child, held hands with your partner more often, and taken more deep breaths of fresh air?
The things you will think about then are the things you should invest in now. Put down your smartphone and really take in the words that your loved ones are saying to you. These words will linger in your mind years down the road. Absorb the moments that you are on vacation and looking at the scenery around you. Bask in the beauty of the world and all that it contains. Stop using your energy to please your boss, or to work overtime in order to obtain a bigger house or fancier car.
Sure, some of these things will give you great moments and memories, but be sure that you are not desiring these things simply for the purpose of acquiring a status symbol. If it promotes your health, wellness and mental peace, then consider it beneficial. If it promotes unity between you and your loved ones, then that is what you will remember and value long term.
How to Pass This Perspective Along to the Next Generation
Whether you have children, or whether you hold another form of influence over individuals in the next generation, you can use this to impart values to those who come after you. There is always a need for strong role models who will show the way to young people and let them know how to begin to prioritize everything in their lives.
Wealth definitely entails much more than a full bank account. What are some ways that you can pass this along to others? Take the opportunity to voice your thoughts about why wealth is more than money, and what exactly wealth means to you. Talk about it openly.
You can also realize that your actions speak louder than your words. Put your time and effort into more than just lining your pockets. Volunteer when you have the opportunity. Spend time with your family… whether you are married, have children, or have siblings and parents around. Put your best efforts and energy into people rather than things.
Make time for extracurricular interests. Invite your children and their friends along. You can have a great impact on others simply by offering your time, conversation and thoughts. As you get involved in charity work and taking opportunities to volunteer, others will notice and be reminded that whether someone is financially successful or not, they always have something to give others.
You can also volunteer directly with young people. Choose 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.
Identifying Your Priorities and What Is Important
As you determine what you consider wealth in your life, you can begin by identifying your priorities and deciding what is important to you. To do this, sit down at a time when you have the opportunity to relax and concentrate on the subject at hand.
Begin by thinking, and then write down which things in your life you absolutely could not live without. Think about the things you have that you are thankful for. Think also about the things you do not yet possess that you truly wish to someday. Make a list of all the things that make you smile, and that light up your life.
The people and things that keep coming to your mind are those that will be on your list of what you consider to be wealth. There are no rules to the process of determining wealth, and your list may include a variety of experiences, individuals and feelings.
Once you know what is important to you, you can decide how you will make the most of this important information. Knowing what is valuable to you does nothing for you unless you act on it. Implement steps into your life to reach your goals, and take those steps.
Choose to cast aside procrastination. Although wealth is so much more than money, sometimes money helps us reach our true non-money goals. If you need money to reach your goals and afford the things that are a priority to you, then begin saving. Make a plan to put a certain amount aside, and reward yourself when you reach small goals. This will help you get to the place you wish to be.
The Importance of Appreciating What You Have
Wealth is all the things in life that you cannot live without. It is those things near and dear to your heart that give you motivation to live your life well.
Even when we are not focusing on material things, however, we can still get caught up in wanting to acquire more and more of something. Whether our priority is family time or making memories, resist the temptation to simply want to rack up your experiences. This defeats the purpose just as much as focusing on becoming financially well off.
The way to combat this tendency towards selfishness is by appreciating what you have. When you make a point of simply having a sense of gratitude for everything you have, you will find that everything you acquire from that point on tastes even sweeter.
One severely overlooked source of wealth is the wealth of meaningful relationships. Money cannot buy the type of good, solid relationships that add value in your life. Set your priorities on people and do what you can to foster these kinds of relationships.
Having good, solid friendships with others enriches your health, and can add years onto your life. Through the support of a solid group of people who are there for you through thick and thin, you will learn about all the hidden intricacies that life has to offer. This is the kind of enriching situation that we should view as true wealth.
Techniques for Appreciating What You Have
Keep a Gratitude Journal
There are many different ways someone can appreciate what they’ve got. Something that many therapists recommend is keeping a gratitude journal. Whenever you think about the good things in your life, write it in your journal.
Keep your journal and pen handy so that you can jot down thoughts as they come to your mind throughout the day. Keep a special section on your smartphone to write it down as it comes to you throughout the day, and then transfer it at the end of each day. The act of copying it in a handwritten journal is important because you will see your list grow in one place, and it is therapeutic to use a journal rather than simply keeping everything on your computer or smartphone.
Another great way to appreciate what you’ve got is by beginning and ending each and every day with thoughts of gratitude. Print out a few of your favorite quotes concerning gratitude and post them beside your bed as a reminder.
As you wake and begin each day, and before you fall asleep at night, use this time to meditate on all the wonderful blessings in your life. Think about the many things you have to be grateful for, and let yourself wake up and drift off to these thoughts. This is a great way to set your mind into the mode of gratefulness, and to focus your thoughts on the type of wealth that is truly important.
Write Thank You Notes
Another technique to help you appreciate what you have is to write notes of thankfulness, or thank you cards, often. Set a goal, such as one card per week, and hold yourself to it. Each one of us has so many people in our lives that deserve our thanks, and sending them a note is out of the ordinary and will brighten their day.
Some individuals are so encouraged by a handwritten note of thanks that they keep these notes long term and never let them go. Maybe your aunt invited you to a fun barbecue, or a friend was extremely generous towards you in a moment of great need. Perhaps you remember a school teacher from long ago who made a deep impact on your life. Whatever the reason, find a way to let these people know how much it meant to you.
To make your thank you note even more unforgettable, include a photo of you enjoying the fruits of this person’s sacrifice. It will be sure to put a smile on their face and will encourage them to be kind and generous towards others as well.
Give to Others
Another great way to learn to appreciate what you have is to give to others. When we live our lives taking and never giving, it is like a bowl that has water constantly running into it and never out. It will eventually have to overflow onto others. Let this overflow be your way of passing it along to the next individual, who will hopefully pass it along again and again.
Even if you are not materially wealthy and cannot give a large amount of money financially, give from what you have. Perhaps you can treat your sister to an ice cream cone when you are at the shopping mall, or maybe you can pass along your old guitar to a young, talented child who is learning to play it.
Giving with this kind of generous heart will always come back to you somehow, in a positive way. Let yourself live a life of abundance. Giving is one of the best ways to make this a reality.
Appreciate the Little Things in Life
Noticing the little things is a quick way to rack up your appreciation for the life you are living and the wealth within it. Don’t simply wait for the feelings of appreciation to come when you acquire that big object, relationship, or experience. Let the tiny things and moments you encounter each day provoke you to have feelings of happiness.
The feeling of your child’s soft hand holding yours as you walk down the street, the way fresh corn on the cob bursts in your mouth as your teeth sink into it, and the smell of your favorite cup of coffee each morning are all things that you can be thankful for. It doesn’t need to be something larger than life to appreciate it thoroughly.
Does Money Buy Happiness, and How Much Is Enough?
Does money buy happiness? Well, yes and no. If you are not happy, no amount of money is going to make you that way. However, money can solve certain problems that can cause stress and suck the joy out of your life.
In the pursuit of our dreams and our desire to live life to the fullest, we sometimes get caught up in the rat race of keeping up with everyone else financially. Just stop. Out-buying your friends is never going to bring you long-lasting joy or peace in any sense of the word. True feelings of joy and gratefulness are brought by knowing what we have and simply being thankful.
The goal of making money should not be simply to gain more of it, but rather to be able to create a cushion around us that allows us not to worry about day-to-day issues. When we find ourselves with an abundance of financial wealth, it is also our responsibility to spread it around. Donate to your friends in need, or a charitable organization of your choice… it makes no difference who you give to. The point is simply to give, and this alone brings us a sense of great joy.
You know that you have reached the limit of money you should acquire when that money begins to cause you more trouble than the joy it brings you. If you have issues with your investments, or you begin to have friends using you for your wealth, then you may have reached that tipping point already. The beauty of financial wealth is that if you feel that you have too much, or even just enough, there are plenty of worthy causes to donate to.
As you work and earn money, do so with the goal of holding a job you love and providing for yourself and your family, and having experiences that will draw you closer to each other. Draw the line when you feel overworked and no longer able to enjoy what you have. Say no to additional income when it is going to interfere with your family life or much needed personal time.
Addressing Problems within Your Control, and Letting Go of What Isn’t
Part of maintaining balance in life has to do with addressing the problems we can deal with, and choosing not to let anything else steal our joy. If the main problems in your life are caused by something you can change, by all means change it.
For example, if you have put on weight and can no longer enjoy your favorite sport because of it, then make changes that will help you to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. Begin a program of exercise that is enjoyable to you, and make small changes in the food you eat. This type of problem is well within your range of control, and you should certainly do what you can to bring more joy into your life.
If you have had an injury that causes you pain and has meant that you are unable to participate in the sport you love, then do what you can to heal the injury, but realize that the outcome may be somewhat behind your control. Allow yourself to grieve the losses you face because of these changes, and don’t blame yourself.
Part of the healing process begins with acknowledging grief, and then finding ways to move on even with something missing. This may involve reconnecting with your faith, or opening yourself up to supportive friends who can help you to keep moving forward. Don’t allow yourself to fall so deeply into missing what you once had that you forget about the things that you have now. Choose habits that will contribute to your mental well-being, such as daily meditation and regular time for relaxation.
If you feel that there may be things you need to change in your life, then make a list of possible changes that you can make. There is no need to overwhelm yourself, simply use your list as a guide whereby you can implement one change per week or in whatever time frame suits you best.
For example, if you are living a busy life and feeling stressed out more than not, think of the changes you could bring into your life that would make a positive impact on your health and well-being. Some of the things you might consider are having a regular bedtime along with a relaxing routine, cutting back your time spent on social media, building your body and mind by engaging in a calming exercise such as yoga, and making time for friends at least once per week.
Wealth Means Giving to Others in Your Abundance
When you have been blessed with an abundance in any area, find a way to give back to others and to pay things forward. “Paying it forward” is the act of giving to someone from what you have been given. You can do this through random acts of kindness, which is basically doing something nice for a stranger and not expecting anything in return. Whether you have a surplus of money, time, or resources, make it a habit to lift others up who are lacking in some way.
If you have been blessed with health, use it to help those who are sick. If you have money, donate to those who are in need. If you have extra time, offer to help a friend who has too much to do and not enough time to get it done. Giving can be financial, but it can also be spending time volunteering, making things for others with your special talent, or baking a meal for a new mom or a household where someone is ill.
Wealth is sought after by many, but too often we seek the wrong things. In an attempt to become wealthy, many individuals look for the financial gain that will make them feel accomplished in life, when they should be looking inward instead. In a world where so many are lacking in what counts, make it your goal to accumulate the type of wealth that will actually enrich your life, and the life of those around you.
Pursue Your Passions First
Money should never be your first priority. Having some financial wealth to fall back on can make life easier at times, to be sure. But putting it as your first focus is sure to disappoint. When you forget about money and decide to pursue your passions first, that is when true wealth will come to you.
Think first about the man (or woman) who chooses a career based on the salary it will offer him. He gets his education, finds a job and begins to work. He doesn’t love what he does but it brings in the money so he keeps at it. He spends his entire week looking forward to the weekend as the life is slowly sucked out of his soul.
He can’t wait for the end of the day and for the weekend, and he dreams non-stop of retirement. His health declines from the stress of working full-time at a job he despises. Even if he makes enough money to live very comfortably, the money will not bring him wealth or true happiness.
Think next about the man who chooses to pursue training and employment in a career that appeals to his soul. This man will enjoy his education as he is learning about what he feels passionate about. He will then find a job in the field where he can spend time doing what he feels compelled to do. Though the job may have its challenges and downsides, he will be able to keep at it because it is what he loves.
This man will have a greater tendency to physical and mental health, and he will always have a motivation to stay strong when he is feeling weak. Pursuing your passions is always the right choice, even when you are not sure how to make it work in regards to finances.
Things That Kill Our Appreciation for Non-Material Wealth
There are some toxic thoughts and activities that will make it impossible to achieve non-material wealth, or at least will make it a challenge. Avoid these at all cost, as they are the things that will pull away from what makes us truly happy in the end.
Although most of these plague many of us at one time or another, the trick is to pull away and consciously refuse to entertain them when they come around. You alone can refuse to spend an extra moment on any of these.
One of the greatest offenders in this category is materialism, because it has a way of constantly pulling you back to what is bringing you financial gain but slowly chipping away at your happiness. It is the voice within you that tells you that you need to stay at work late even when you are not being fairly compensated, and the voice that suggests that you need to take on an unnecessary second job.
There is always a balance of course, and this is sometimes what makes it the most difficult. Because you do need to work hard and do your best, it can be difficult to justify taking things easier. But getting off-balance and working too heavily is just as detrimental as not working at all. Work hard, then put just as much of yourself into your time resting.
Bitterness is another appreciation killer. If you are not grateful for the money, people and experiences you have, it will lead to envy of what others around you seem to be able to gain so easily. Jealousy will then blind you to the blessings that you do have.
The way to overcome this is to make a conscious effort to be grateful and thankful for what you have. Find difference ways to incorporate gratefulness into your life. You may wish to try a gratefulness journal, spend daily time reflecting on the events that unfolded to keep you safe and happy, or have someone else make a list of all the qualities they love about you. The more you feel thankful, the more it will seem that positive situations are drawn to you, in turn giving you even more to feel thankful for. It is a win-win situation.
Yet another attitude that is quite capable at squashing the chance at true wealth is apathy. This is the silent killer. Apathy will make you unable to care enough to grow. It will cause you to feel like you cannot make a difference anyhow, so why even try? It will pick away at you until you feel completely useless and not willing to move even a step forward. Be sure to weed this out before it takes away your dreams and infringes on your future.
The Path to Pursuing Inner Peace
Inner peace is essential in order to find your own version of wealth. It is in itself a type of wealth. When you have peace, you will be able to navigate life’s toughest circumstances without feeling out of control. Even when times are tough, you will feel as though you are able to make it through.
To find this kind of peace, look to your faith and your relationships. Faith is important as it will assist you when even your family and friends have failed you, which can easily happen. Seek out the deeper meaning of life.
Look into who you truly are on the inside and learn your greatest qualities. These qualities hold the key to your life calling. When you have found the purpose that you exist for, it will be easier to remember your grounding when you feel like you have lost your way. Inner peace is truly one of life’s greatest sources of pure wealth. When you have found it, take hold of it and never let go.
Finding True Wealth
When you have started on your path to finding true wealth, there will be changes that have to be made. Don’t rush them, because these necessary changes will work their own way into your existence.
It seems like life is insistent on giving us ample opportunity to grow and change. If you refuse to learn your lesson at the first stop, you can be sure that you will receive the same lesson again and again until you have agreed to look into yourself and make the changes that you must.
Know that this same phenomenon is happening to everyone else as well. Don’t delay, even if you are afraid of change. If you do not wish to go through the same type of trial over and over again, choose to learn and grow. Otherwise, you risk becoming trapped in the same circle that never seems to end.
Wealth is one of the most highly misunderstood words throughout time. It has often been used to symbolize status, glory and popularity. True wealth, however, is not measured by the size of your wallet or the brand of car you drive. It cannot be given and it cannot be taken away. It can only be learned, grasped and grown into.
True wealth is your family, your moments with loved ones, and the breaths you breathe as you walk through the sand on the beach. It is the memories of your childhood, and of your child’s childhood. It is bear hugs, kisses, and the phrase “I love you.” It is hours in the kitchen baking together, accidental spills, and working together to clean up. It is the first time you open your eyes on vacation and remember that you are not at home. It is a phone call to a loved one who lives far away. It is so many things, and there are so many things it is not.
Remember the value of your moments and of the moments of your loved ones. You will treasure these things as long as you live. This is true wealth.
2 thoughts on “Wealth Means More Than Just Money”
Amazing post and loved all of your points!
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