What an interesting idea – to be rich – but what does that mean?
How do you define rich? What do you do to get riches? What is the result of being rich?
These are questions we should all ask if we are to set out on the entrepreneurial path (if you ask me).
The funny thing about the answer to these questions for me is it is very different depending who you ask.
If you ask my rich friends (those that have material wealth) many will say that they strived for riches to get freedom. However the more money they get the less free they feel…an interesting paradox.
If you ask the many wannabe’s or those trying to get rich they say it’s all about the money!
Those with money often cite health and youth as "riches" while the young covet the money their older and wealthier idols have sitting in their bank accounts.
Who is right and what are "riches"?
To me material wealth is simply a trade off. As you get wealthier to usually note that the cost of this financial gain is a huge loss of time, energy and health.
When you are in your teens (when I started) and 20’s and maybe even early 30’s you see a very long road ahead and your body seems to have an unlimited shelf life – even when you abuse it regularly – but as you toil away towards your material goals you start to wake up to the costs.
Very few in this world can have lots of free time, incredible health and a stress free existence and lots of money. Money usually extracts it’s toll on these things and yet many of us want the former and think the latter will deliver them!
We think being rich will means lots of time and no stress but the driving force within us, the killer instinct, that has made us all the money is our final downfall. In order to get rich most of us have to live and think a certain way – and years spent being like this turns us into the opposite of the animal we sometimes mistake for our real ambition.
So we get rich but we can’t give up can we?!
Also, the challenge is gone – you have risked life and limb to get rich – and then you give it all up and sit on the beach…come on!
So, those that start out should think about these two extremes – perhaps they should not venture down this path for it may lead to a life they could find another way. They can get "rich" by simply living a balanced and healthy long life with contribution and community at the heart rather than money.
The one guarantee in life is that money will never make you happy, simply make life more comfortable. Money brings with it many negatives that can counter balance the benefits. Are you really ready to sacrifice so much for a number in a bank account?
So what are riches? – well for me they are doing what you love and getting paid for it – in other words many of my friends are very wealthy indeed but some have very little.
I always find those with the least financial wealth seem happiest and often have a really ‘rich’ life – full of joy, happiness and love. The same is not true for many of the wealthy friends!
So maybe the question should be – what kind of riches do you want?!
In my life I often find myself answering the question, when you retire and get really rich what will you do? My answer is very funny if you think about it, I say, "I will sit on my boat in my shorts and fish". What’s funny is that when I travel around the world I see the poorest people I come across all doing this…! So I am chasing around, working all the hours, sacrificing so many things to get the same thing that some of the poorest people I have ever met have (they are the richest in so many ways even if they don’t know it)…
I often reflect on this fact and it certainly makes me think. I am like an addict, that’s my real problem, but I am not in it for the money…
If you are wise you will follow your passion and not the money – this will deliver all the "riches" you will ever need.