What it means to be wealthy, valuing time over stuff & getting rich.
After recording every regret I heard a dying person confess, there was no wishing they had larger homes or more things. Yet, among the top of their regrets were ‘I wish I hadn’t of worked so much’ and ‘I wish I kept in touch with my friends. - Bronnie Ware, a nurse to the elderly. (paraphrased)
I’m a sucker for some good, hearty new year’s resolutions. However, as my wife & I have evaluated our 2013 (details here), our resolutions have become entirely about cultivating a new kind of American dream.
The American Dream.
There’s an American dream in all of us. It began as a beautiful sentiment heralded throughout the 19th & 20th century claiming that anyone, regardless of their beginnings, could prosper.
Overtime, however, by way of things like competitive markets, a great depression, and the rise of consumerism, this collective dream has become dependent on only ONE kind of capital, that being financial.
Sadly, this modern brand of our American Dream tends to define wealth one-dimensionally and can often make us believe that the quality, enjoyment & value of our life is determined by how much money is in our bank account or the amount of stuff we can acquire before we die.
This isn’t true.
And, from the sounds of too many first-hand accounts about excessive finances and having more things rarely equating to genuine fulfillment, it’s obviously an incomplete and antiquated dream.
Real wealth is more than money.
A good life is about more than quantity of gross product. It’s about real net wealth. And real wealth, in turn, consists of much more than mere money. When a person is wealthy relationally in social capital, personally in human capital, emotionally in emotional capital, and intellectually in intellectual capital, he or she might be said to be authentically, broadly, and deeply rich.
Inspired by Omair and others, my wife and I are beginning to dream a different dream for our family in 2014. It’s not a new dream to many, but certainly a new experiment for us.
It’s a dream that redefines what it means to be wealthy.
It’s more about the freedom of time than a nicer car.
It’s a lifestyle that prioritizes relationships rather than a forced addiction to career.
It’s a mentality that favors long-term investment over having more stuff.
(If interested, you can read our 2014 resolutions, which accumulated to a few simple perspective shifts that change the way we’re going to allocate our time and money. IE: time over things, relationships over excessive work, long-term investment over short term)
The truth is that the quality of our lives is not contingent on the number of zero’s in our bank account or our ability to acquire more things. Quality of life is far more holistic than that and demands a more balanced investment into the various layers of our lives.
Join us in getting “rich” in 2014.
Let’s channel some of the energy we often give to acquiring financial capital into cultivating more relational, more spiritual, more intellectual, more physical and more emotional capital.
Let’s not simply make a list of new year’s resolutions this year. Let’s redefine what it means to be wealthy and design our lives accordingly.