Twelve or thirteen years ago, I traveled to a seminar in Houston. The keynote speaker talked about how people say they want a big house, but they don’t realize that the people in the big house have a bad marriage, or they hate their job, or their kids don’t like them.
He said that you might have a little house, but you have a loving marriage that is truly a partnership, you have a great job with a boss and colleagues who respect you, and you have a great relationship with your kids. Instead of wishing for what we don’t have, we should value what we do have.
This experience reminded me of this quote by an unknown author:
You may think you’re rich if you have expensive meals, a big house, and fancy jewelry, but real wealth is having love, friendship, and true peace of mind.
What is Wealth?
What both the keynote speaker and our unknown author are suggesting is that real wealth is not measured by how much money you have. Instead it is the other components of our lives — love, friendship, and peace of mind.
I have said before that “Health is the greatest wealth next to relationships.” I’m like our unknown author in that I put relationships first as a contributor to wealth, but the second greatest contributor to our wealth is health. The people I know who have the greatest wealth have many loving relationships in their lives and they invest time in nurturing and building their health. Even if something unexpected happens that impacts their health, like my bicycle accident did for me almost 3 years ago, they are able to recover because of the time they have spent building a foundation of good health.
You might find yourself feeling judged at times by a society that measures wealth by the size of your bank account or house, by the make, model, and year of your car, or by the label on the clothes you wear. You may also feel envious at times of those who have more of these measures of wealth than you do.
In those moments, take time to really notice and add up all the other measures of wealth that you have. How many loving relationships do you have in your life? How is your health? And the health of those you love? How is your peace of mind?
How do you measure wealth? Let me know in the comments!