I have two images of wealth in my mind.
One looks like what most people envision. A lavish lifestyle, a big plastic mansion, a luxury yacht, 8 sports cars… You get it.
Then there is this second image.
In this picture, there is a place called home. It’s quaint, rustic. Filled with messy, silly, somewhat annoying children. There are a lot of friends and family nearby. A wonderful community. Maybe some dogs. Actually, there are definitely some dogs.
Dogs are the best.
But it isn’t without money. That image still appreciates its importance. The need to provide. To first survive before we thrive. But it also understands what enough is. It understands true contentment. It’s not clinging to anything. Or feeling like it has to have more. It’s ok with less, provided it feels fulfilled in the other areas.
The areas that really matter.
Of course, we aren’t human doers at the end of the day. We are human beings. But to be, we must first do. This is the paradox. We must first put food on the table before we can relax and savour and enjoy.
However, provided you do enough – and you know what enough is – after you’re done doing, and you know how to let go, I believe you’ll see that being is the true embodiment of wealth.
And I think we really need to ask ourselves what we are making money for. If you’re not content with your lot now, what makes you believe a bigger house or fancier car will solve that? If you’re incapable of being still and appreciating what is, what makes you think more money will allow that to happen?
This is why I believe we need to ask ourselves what enough actually is.
And I mean strip it right back. What is just enough to be comfortable, for having a roof over your head and putting food on the table? Really, what is enough? How do you get it? And I’m just talking about having enough for your retirement or 10 years from now, but today.
Do you not have enough in this moment?
Chasing monetary gain is one way to think about wealth. But another way is to think about it is in terms of time. Freedom from having to do so much all the time. Is anyone else tired of trying to be a goddamn hero 24/7?
If you’ve defined enough in a modest way, if you reframe your perspective, you might find you’re already sitting on a mountain of gold. Although it is hard to change our conditioning, I believe this is the quickest and easiest path to wealth.
And these are the two paths: You can keep earning money to buy more things – you can keep chasing the big orange carrot that’s always just out of reach – or you can teach yourself what enough is and then give yourself more time to be with those you love and to do the things you genuinely love.
And who are those people? What are those things? Can you do them today? Can you see them now? Do you not already have it made?
If you ask me, freedom is the real measure of wealth in this world. That’s freedom from feeling like you are racing against the clock. When we keep chasing and striving, the real problem isn’t our inability to see that we already have enough, but our inability to switch off.
Someone incapable of being, who has spent so much time doing that they can’t switch off, even if they’re already sitting a mountain of gold, might just be the poorest of us all.
You can find AP2’s personal blog here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com
You can also find him on Medium at: https://anxiouspilot2.medium.com
Or on Twitter at: @AnxiousPilot
10 thoughts on “The Two Paths to Wealth”
I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, and in the latter more than the former I’ve learned . . . Enough is Plenty.
That’s good to hear. Defining what enough is stops us from always chasing that orange carrot and helps to cultivate gratitude instead. Thanks Fred D. Wishing you well 🙏
I’ve been up and down as well. Money is a tool, not a goal. Collecting anything to excess doesn’t bring happiness. It can bring paranoia, as one struggles to keep the collection together. In truth, I never wanted a million dollars any more than I wanted a million seashells. Being comfortable, not having to worry, able to enjoy simple pleasures — that’s all I’ve ever wanted. Of course, Comrade Putin seems intent on making as many people worry as possible.
Ay – events in Ukraine are deeply disturbing. Putin is a prime example of someone who will never be satisfied with what he has. The human ego is insatiable. I like your thoughts about money being a tool and not a goal. Thanks for sharing Vic. Wishing you well 🙏
That is a tricky question to answer, AP, but the guidance in this post should be helpful. Most of all, it reminds us to be mindful and not allow ourselves to lose the truly important things in life. <3
Thanks Cheryl – at least by having a good idea of what enough looks like, it might just help to cultivate a little more gratitude in ones life. Wishing you well Cheryl 🙏
There a study that has been circulating the internet lately that seems to indicate that happiness peaks at about $75K for an average person. It doesn’t drop off if you get more money but more doesn’t help a lot.
I suppose if you adjust for standard of living that works out to about $200K in California.
That should be *cost of living*.
“I suppose if you adjust for standard of living that works out to about $200K in California.” 😂
I’ve heard of this study. Happiness does increase with money but only up to a point. I guess that point is 75k. Something to keep in mind. Thanks Fred 🙏