Wealth is Not Measured in Millions

by Silke Rehman 

Isn’t it ? What is it measured in then ? My banking friends would strongly insist that it is money, of course, you measure wealth in. Wealthy individuals are high net worth individuals, who simply have lots of money…millions.

Could there be another way of measuring wealth ? If you have seen the movie “The Secret” or read the book, you might have heard one more definition of wealth: “it is not wealth to have lots of money when being unhappy and it is not wealth either to be ‘spiritual’ and broke all the time – life is meant to be abundant in all areas”. Sounds nice, doesn’t it ? I definitely want to believe it. And funny enough, the law of attraction, which “The Secret” movie is based on, proclaims exactly that: you get what you think about and believe in with all your heart.

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So is wealth measured in money or abundance in all areas of life ? The advertising of a financial service organization a friend showed me recently, really spoke to me when it said: “Wealth is not measured in millions, it is measured in a feeling called freedom.” What I like about this definition is that it puts money in its place as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. So is it the feeling of freedom, that defines our wealth ? I think there is some truth in this.

When you have enough money to cover your basic necessities (what that is exactly is entirely different topic), you are free ! You are free to choose how you want to live, which experiences you want to have in your life, whether you want to follow what your environment expects of you (e.g. making more money and upgrading your house, your car, your branded clothes and your private banker) or whether you want to follow your heart (and maybe have money come in as a side product). Of course, every choice you make automatically means a choice against something else, so it requires courage to stand up for one’s choice. But choice you have. Choice is freedom.

You may have sensed it by now, there is something intensely subjective here about the feeling of freedom. Some people have much much more money than covering “basic necessities” and still don’t feel free. They feel slaves to their possessions and commitments. Others have very little and feel free. Who is wealthier ?

If some people manage to (and hence it is possible to !) really feel free with just covering the basic necessities and if feeling free means wealth, shouldn’t we all work on reducing what we define are our “basic necessities” in order to get to wealth faster ? Studies show that the opposite is happening. When a television set or a car was not defined as being “basic necessity” decades ago, several TV’s and cars are now seen as basic necessity my many. Yet, studies also show that despite increased numbers of luxuries available to households in the developed world, happiness has not increased. So is it time for a paradigm shift ?  Wealthy with less rather than more …?

I would like to offer another different view on wealth and this is my absolute favourite. The wealth of a person is the sum of that person’s experiences. I love this definition because in difference to money, experience is the only thing nobody can ever take away from you. The more of them you have and the more diverse they are, the more you learn, develop and grow as a person and that truly must mean being wealthy. People worry a lot about money, the money they don’t have but also the money they have: they worry about losing it, protecting it, insuring it, investing it safely. People worry about money being taken away from them again. Money (beyond basics necessities) does not make you free, it builds you a golden cage of responsibilities and brings with it fears of losing it again. Experience can’t be taken away. Once you’ve got it, you have it FOREVER ! It is forever yours. And the more you have, the richer you become. Accumulating experiences (rather than money) makes you free: free of worry (there is nothing to lose) and makes you rich as an individual.  The saying “a wealth of experience” hasn’t been invented for nothing.

Silke Rehman is a co-active life coach specializing in helping powerful women, who dream of making a real difference in this world. She coaches because she loves seeing her clients grow and achieve things they did not think were possible. Silke shares her thoughts and expertise with the world at [http://www.developandgrow.com ]www.developandgrow.com

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