Reflections: What Makes You Feel Rich?
“Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own.” Mother Teresa
What makes you feel rich? The holiday season is in full swing now, and it’s an important time to remember what makes us feel rich. By rich, I mean what do you cherish most and why does this matter? Would you trade your health, life, family, friends, health and happiness for wealth? Yesterday was the first day of Hanukkah, next week will be Christmas, and Kwanzaa will start the day after. As we get into the spirit of all these celebrations, please take a moment to remember what truly matters and what makes all these special celebrations invaluable. Lately, as I read blogs and news reports, I read and hear about a lot of pain, loss and dejection. My heart breaks for each story, and for all the families who won’t have a place to celebrate, a tree, a bag full of gifts or a fancy meal. Please, please remember to take this season to rekindle your love and gratitude for your loved ones. Tell them honestly what you can and what you can’t afford, and let them know that LOVE – Ahava (in Hebrew) is the glue that holds you together. Gratitude for what we do have will help us find some joy in the season.
This morning, I was reading a blog post from one of my favorite bloggers and the topic gave me food for thought. I’m sharing parts of what came to me both as a comment and afterwards. I’m a big believer in maintaining a positive attitude and making choices that help us grow. I love reading blog posts, and one on being rich and/or poor got me thinking about a topic that bothers a lot of people; especially during the holiday season.
“There are people who have money and people who are rich.” Coco Chanel
Why does it matter that we think about the question? We often read articles about the rich and poor and what creates both conditions. While some might say that poverty is a state of mind, there are real events that can devastate a family and push them into poverty; health, job loss, financial mishaps, disasters, poor choices, luck/timing, and other life experiences that let bad things happen to good, hardworking people. At a real estate conference I attended some years ago, Donald Trump was the keynote speaker, and he said something that has stayed with me. He told us that when people get very wealthy, many of them act like they worked harder than everyone else and made fabulous, smart choices. He shared that most people don’t like to admit to the luck factor (I call it grace) because it takes the power and all the decision out of their hands. As people whispered, “what about your wealth, your wealth, Mr. Trump?”, he informed us all that he amassed his wealth through a combination of factors: an inheritance, great personal effort, business acumen and lucky breaks. Luck is a factor in being rich or poor, and making people feel guilty for not being financially wealthy is wrong. Yep, Donald said that and I’ve never stopped admiring him for speaking so honestly.
While there are some basic rules that help people win or fail, the outcomes are not so simple; there is timing, location and circumstance. In the final analysis, I will also say that being rich is a state of mind. There are wealthy people who live like paupers and have a poverty mentality, and there are people who are money conscious and still have none. It’s not so simple to ascribe wealth to hard work and poverty to laziness. If we look around us and think about it honestly, we know that hard work or even laziness won’t necessarily produce the expected outcome. If you are content with having less, have loving friends and family, have health, and love living with the simple things of life, you are richer than the next billionaire out there. The real question is: What makes you feel rich?
“Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.” Benjamin Franklin
Do you remember the lesson of the Midas Touch? If you remember the famous story of King Midas and his bargain with a genie, you will remember that the lesson of that profound childhood story is to cherish people; especially our loved ones, over things. Sadly, as we get older, many of us buy into the hype and forget the facts. King Midas died miserable and alone. His beloved daughter and everything he touched turned to gold. We can’t eat or drink gold, and sure can’t take it with us. Please don’t get me wrong. I believe we can do great things to ease the pain and suffering of others when we have great wealth; especially if we don’t use it as an ego or power trip. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet come to mind as examples of billionaires using their massive wealth to help others. There are as many miserable rich people as there are poor ones. The point I’d like to make is that even if you are unable to have an extravagant holiday, make the best of what you have and share your love liberally with your loved ones and others…
Today, around the world, there are so many families struggling to make the holidays a cheerful time, under great financial constraints. If we can stop to remember that we are a blessing to our loved ones because we care about their well-being, and they about ours, that should bring some comfort. The love we share with our family, friends, and others in need is greater than any gift, any amount of money, and any glitzy thing out there. The memories I cherish are of family times together, not gifts received. If there is one thing kids remember first when they grow up, it is the love they received. Our friends and family matter more than any fancy gift or party. Have a Happy Holiday Season sprinkled with love, joy, laughter and gratitude!
Positive Motivation Tip: Life’s challenges teach us to ask questions and learn to appreciate what matters most in our lives. Use the joy and energy of this season to share your gratitude and love, while keeping hopes and dreams alive…