[I wrote this article well in advance of the start of the current global crisis with Covid-19, I hope you're all well and coping in these unprecedented socially-controlled days. I hope that you find this article of use; I'm minded that many people are being affected financially because of the lockdown. Whilst the stress of suddenly losing income can be debilitating, there is much one can do with one's mindset to help yourself keep calm and cope with your fears.]
Much is spoken and written about wealth. Many of us dream about having a life style supported by unlimited funds, indeed this is the basis for lotteries run world wide.
There is a paradox too in the research which has been done looking at the levels of happiness and satisfaction of those who have earned or won large sums of money. Money it seems, fails to buy a sense of fulfilment and contentment for a high proportion of those who attain their dream of being rich.
Is it the dream of having money which is flawed or our definition of wealth?
How do you define wealth? What needs to be in place for you to feel truly wealthy? Is it a question of bank balance or is it something more?
One of my clients described their life: “I feel like a hamster trapped in a wheel, going round and round in an endless cycle of trying to hit deadlines, please other people and as soon as I complete something it is replaced by half a dozen others.” How many of you feel the same?
Many of my clients are trapped in an ongoing cycle of working very long hours. As a result they create financial wealth that they have neither the time, nor energy to enjoy. When they do manage to snatch a break from the daily grind they often become ill as soon as they stop, recovering just in time to return to work. They choose exotic holiday destinations as a reward for working so hard but are so exhausted they spend their fortnight sleeping or in a frantic attempt to fit enough ‘living’ into a fortnight to keep them going until the next holiday.
You may relate to their situation and feel as they did – that there is little alternative. The actual sense of feeling trapped often adds the sense of being overwhelmed and that things are out of their control. So long as you believe there is no alternative that will indeed be the case.
Each of us will have a different definition. How you define wealth will impact on the range of choices you allow yourself.
For some wealth is having a surplus of money, enough to buy what I want, to wear designer clothes, have a big house full of antique furniture and a top of the range car.
For others it is about so much more: the quality of life, of rich and loving relationships with people who appreciate us for who we are, the ability to enjoy the autumn colours and the sounds of crunching leaves as you walk through a woodland floor in Autumn, time to stop and take in the beauty of the world, time to notice another person’s need and do something about it.
The first step to creating a different perspective and identifying different choices is by thinking about your personal definition of what wealth is for you. What is it that is really important to you? There is a need to be financially secure to be able to provide food, a home and the necessities of life but beyond that what is it which gives you the sense of being truly wealthy? Here's a well-known parable that illustrates the point perfectly:
A fisherman lived on a tropical island. He fished for his family and had plenty of time to play with his children, to enjoy the beauty around him and to be a good neighbour.
A yacht arrived carrying a wealthy entrepreneur. The fisherman took him out for a days fishing. As the day went on the entrepreneur looked at the beautiful island with its silver sand fringed with palm trees, the azure blue sea filled with a rainbow of darting fish and saw the opportunity for development and making lots of money. He was a generous man so thought he’d help the fisherman by offering him the idea.
“Why don’t you build a hotel and encourage tourists to come to the island. If fact build a holiday village with a sports complex so people can come and relax. It could be so successful that you could build an air strip so you can offer the whole package to the tourists so you can cut out the middle man and make even greater profits.”
“Why would I want to do that?” asked the fisherman.
“You would make lots of money and be rich of course!” replied the entrepreneur.
“How long would it take?” said the fisherman?
“Oh I would think it would take ten years to be really successful” answered the entrepreneur.
“What would I do with all that money?” enquired the fisherman.
“You could go on exotic holidays to a beautiful island where you could fish, play with your children and take the time to enjoy the beauty all around you” replied the entrepreneur.
Are you wishing for something else and missing the wealth you already have around you?
If you are feeling stressed and anxious about the wealth, or your perceived lack of it, in your life then please do get in touch with me via the website.