I remember as a child teaching my younger brother the fundamentals of how money works, its value and why we need to work hard in order to get as much of it as possible in order to live fulfilling and prosperous lives. It was put simply: If you work hard, you’ll be equality compensated with money which can then be exchanged for goods and services. Once you had a lot of money you could now look forward to a breezy life with peace of mind knowing that problems are a thing of the past now that you’re ‘rich‘.
But what does rich really mean?
From the day we are born we are taught that the conventional definition of being rich is simply that you have a lot of money and that success is to be measured by nothing more than the material things we own and the money in our bank accounts. Limiting beliefs are placed in our minds by those who are too afraid to break the mold and try something new. We are constantly pushed towards jobs that aren’t necessarily something that we enjoy, not something we leap out of bed for in the morning or look forward to on a daily basis. We are then told to be unconditionally thankful for having the opportunity to work 40 hours a week for the sole purpose of making someone else exorbitant amounts of money. A lot of us become prisoners within our own work place, begrudgingly dragging our tired bodies into work because we feel as though we have no other choice.
“That’s life. Just shut up, put your head down and get on with it.”
It was this kind of attitude that had me asking the question: How can a man-made thing like ‘money‘ be the most important thing in a human’s life?
“To be rich is to be successful. Even if it takes treating people like shit, even if the world around you is being destroyed as long as you have a lot of money everything else will be fine.”
Whether it be consciously or unconsciously, unfortunately this is how we are taught to think. Money is thought to be answer to everything, which, in turn, leaves the dream of being ‘rich‘ as everyone’s primary objective. I for one cannot sit here and tell you that money won’t open doors and that short term happiness can’t be bought with money. It most certainly can, but what can bring long term happiness? What can bring a real kind of ‘rich‘? A rich that doesn’t have people saying things like:
“I think everybody should get rich and famous … so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
– Jim Carrey
The answer is time. Time is one of the few things that cannot be bought with money. It cannot be stopped, changed or manipulated by even the most powerful people on the planet. It is my belief that the true definition of rich is having as much time as you want to do things that make you happy. Having money and very little time will inevitably lead you to a life full of material things you feel and think you need in order to be happy. For most people it really is a case of having things versus doing things.
Society convincingly leads us to believe that financial happiness is true happiness, with having too much money seemingly everybody’s long term goal, however personally I only see it as a short term solution. Once your’re ‘rich’ in the conventional sense of the word, it will only be a matter of time before you realise that having enough time to do the things you love should forever be your ultimate goal.
Add your own definition of ‘rich’ in the comments section below.