Do you desire to be rich in life experiences or monetary items?
I have been asking people when they felt richest. Their responses are quite intriguing:
- When my children were born (Far and away the most frequent answer)
- When my husband and I were on vacation eating bread and cheese in the Alps
- When my sons were old enough to be my friends
- When I had a burst of creative insight
No one yet has mentioned a bonus, equity stake, sale of their company orpromotion. It is amazing to me that all of the things we associate with being rich; salary, new house, expensive car, nice clothes all failed to come to mind.
I believe that every one of us wants two things: to be happy and to have peace.
We believe that money is the means to greater happiness and peace. Hence, we spend most of our waking hours doing all we can do leverage our gifts and abilities into opportunities for material things. Almost all of my clients have been quite successful playing this game. They have much more money and success than most other people. But, are they happier? Do they have more peace? Are they truly richer?
Let’s go back to the list of things people identified as experiences of being rich. What do they have in common? Those who found great riches in the birth of their children found that experience to be magical beyond words. The birth experience was far bigger than simple biology. It was experienced as a miracle.
When my first child, Rachel, was born I was making $8,000 a year. I recall coming home from work, putting my feet up and holding Rachel against my chest. I could feel her breathing. She smelled of baby powder. This little thing was sound asleep, completely dependent on me and fully trusting me to be there for her. I didn’t think life could get better than this moment. I was the richest man on earth!
The woman who felt richest eating cheese with her husband was marveling at being on an adventure with a companion; someone who loved her and whom she loved.
The man who was enriched by his son’s friendship was deeply touched that these boys wanted to be his friends and that they valued his friendship.
Each of the things that created a sense of riches share several commonalities:
- They can’t be bought or sold. You can’t buy creativity, love, miracles or friendship.
- None of these is material. They can exist in great measure in poverty as well as in prosperity
- The opportunity to access these riches is abundant. The things that create riches are things like beauty, love, compassion, friendship and caring. The only thing that limits our access to such things is that we are too busy to notice.
One way people are dense is in looking for riches where they are not found and in ignoring those places where riches naturally occur. We make ourselves too busy to take time to notice the beauty, love and care that is occurring around us frequently.
But, if we pause, even for a short time, and open ourselves to notice, we can experience true riches. The result is to feel great happiness and profound peace that is unattached to circumstances. Give it a try:
- Turn off the t.v. and have a real conversation with your spouse
- Take a walk during lunch. Smell the air and notice the beauty of nature
- Close your eyes and pay attention to the miracle of your breathe and the beating of your heart.
Often, all it takes is a reflection on how you want to be on a personal and business level. Are you working on yourself as an individual with executive leadership development or simply allowing yourself to experience the riches of life? If you try any of these things and notice a shift in the quality of your life, you are on to something. You have discovered the path of true riches.
Now you are free to continue your journey to thrive.