Introduction to wealth, knowledge and meaning
Let’s start at the beginning and an initial interpretation of wealth. There are many ways to define wealth such as material, health and relationships. Firstly, money is a form of wealth but wealth is not necessarily money. Wealth can be defined as the abundance of valuable resources or material possessions or just being rich and having prosperity. There are many things that can bring wealth into our lives including good health.
Research suggests two of the main things people wish for are material wealth and good relationships. Similarly, I began my journey with the wish to be wealthy and have more money. This came from a perception that I had little material wealth in my life and no income. When you are in this state it is easy to keep spiraling down and a lack of money leads to anxiety and further ‘lack of’ things can create greater and greater problems. Some people call this the ‘poverty mindset’ and it is hard to imagine anything else when this is what life presents. But fortunately there are ways to change this even if they seem hard and impossible at the moment and knowledge is a key factor on the pursuit of wealth.
An awareness of wealth and health
The saying goes, ‘good health is wealth’ as without good health we are limited to what we can do and achieve. However, if you have all the material things in the world you can enjoy them so much more if you are in good physical or mental health. Consequently, when we are healthy we are wealthy and can imagine the notion of wealth as many things. For instance, wealth isn’t about achievements as so many things bring wealth into our lives that are simple and run-of-the-mill. In particular, to gain wealth through knowledge results in a better life.
Wealth knowledge meaning – what does it mean to have wealth
For many people knowledge is wealth and it is a great place to start as reading and learning are the first steps to gaining an interesting wealthy life. This can include health, quality of life, relationships, as well as material wealth. If we set our minds to something we can achieve it is and often the journey to get there is the fun part. Having intentions or goals can really add zest to life and brings people together. You do not necessarily need goals to obtain quantities of money, many super wealthy people ended up with so much money by accident, as they simply kept working on an idea or invention they believed in and the money just followed.
Most of us just want enough to enjoy a comfortable life and have financial freedom. Interestingly, the consumer society we live in today began in the 18th century with the spirit of capitalism. This was driven by the Presbyterians in particular the writer Richard Baxter who specialised in puritan ethics. At that time, the church dictated people lead a hardworking life with no distractions and to follow ethical morals such as hard work, save your money and spend frugally. Consequently, the result was a society that accrued large amounts of savings and eventually wanted to reap the rewards and spend their hard-earned money. Thus, the spirit of capitalism was born (Weber ).
Wealth and inspiration
The knowledge I have obtained is often through inspirational speakers who sometimes begin with nothing except hard work, persistence and self-education. Many of the speakers I have come across are relentless and never give up even if they are plagued by failure. They have an idea of something they want to achieve, perhaps to make the world a better place, then it is almost accidentally they end up with large amounts of money as an additional bonus. For example, Warren Buffett from Berkshire Hathaway suggests you “look for the job you would take if you didn’t need a job” and he loves what he does so much he is one of the wealthiest men alive. His interpretation of wealth is to be doing something he loves. Even Bill Gates takes advice from him “Like my friend Warren Buffet, I feel particularly lucky to do something every day that I love to do. He calls it tap-dancing to work” (Bill Gates).
They both were driven by doing something they love and the rewards will follow so the whole journey of creating wealth can be exciting and fun. Personally, I am not interested in vast amounts of money just a life of financial freedom and enough material wealth to live comfortably and maybe travel and enjoy everyday moments by living in the present.
Many of us strive for something we want and we give up when it gets difficult but I was reminded from a quote in my inbox today “many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up” (Thomas A Edison). I have heard this before and it is heartening to think it is such an easy thing to do but, at the same time a reminder to keep going through thick and thin.
If you follow your curiosity and study inspiring people it can be a fun and enriching journey. For instance, I have been reading and learning for the last 25 years and to me it is not just an exploration of wealth creating but an exciting adventure to analyse oneself and life. For example, author Napoleon Hill of ‘Think and grow rich’ states “while the casual observer would believe that this book is only about making money, those of us who have studied it for years know otherwise. It’s about a better way to live a rich life.” (Hill 1937). In other words, a wealthy life is a rich life.
Another example is Dr Joe Vitale who states “always remember that money flows to the wealthy because they do not chase it just for the sake of having more. They desire freedom. They don’t desire money. This is an important distinction”. Often I realise when my life isn’t full of wealth and knowledge this means I am guilty of chasing money for the sake of it. This makes me feel empty and I find the rewards shallow. Whereas when I am doing something I love I feel full of energy and excited and could do it for hours regardless of the outcome.
Wealth not generated
Moreover, when you are not taking action on things you have learned and you complain “I do not have enough” or “I can’t afford that” it can be referred as the poverty mindset. The notion of action corresponds to the investigations of Adam Smith in 1776 when he wrote ‘The wealth of nations’. Significantly, Smith was interested in investigating the concept of wealth, firstly from the perspective of poverty which he described as “what happens when nothing happens” (Freeman and Reed 2016 p42). This was at the beginning of the Industrial revolution in the 18th century where material wealth was measured by mass production. But life is fast changing and different today and wealth can be accrued in an alternative fashion and to take action is equally important.
Also, if we learn to act on the knowledge we have acquired we can enjoy a comfortable life, free of worry and stress. Part of this is being grateful for what we have that in turn leads to more things to be grateful for.
What does being wealthy will look like
Sometimes it is helpful to imagine what you would have if you were truly wealthy, a Lear jet, travel to the most exotic places, a mansion with a swimming pool, good relationships, a fast car? Each individual has different wishes and there is plenty to go around. We all have the ability to create a picture of our own wealth and this is something to aspire too as you need to dream and create what you want. The possibilities are endless and each individual person will have their own set of desires. Our mind is our greatest asset when we want to imagine wealth. Whether it is money or a meaningful relationship a wealthy spirit is joyful and people enjoy your company. Sometimes we do not think it is a good thing to wish for money but a dream is the first step and is importantly followed by action.
The notion of action corresponds to the investigations of Adam Smith in 1776 when he wrote ‘The wealth of nations’. Significantly, Smith was interested in investigating the concept of wealth, firstly from the perspective of poverty which he described as “what happens when nothing happens” (Freeman and Reed 2016 p42). This was at the time of the beginning of the Industrial revolution where material wealth was measured by mass production but life is different today and wealth can be accrued in other ways. Similarly, to take action is equally important.
If we learn and act on the knowledge we have acquired we can enjoy a comfortable life, free of worry and stress. Part of this is being grateful for what we have that in turn leads to more things to be grateful for.
In addition, wealth, knowledge and meaning
Therefore, to be wealthy means many things to different people. We all would like our creature comforts to a certain degree and being wealthy means such things as enriching relationships, good health in body, mind and spirit and having financial freedom that are all attainable. Especially if we enjoy the journey of attaining knowledge that leads to a life of wealth, knowledge and meaning.
Enjoy the journey,
I am very interested in your experience of knowledge and wealth and please leave any comments below and I will get back to you, thank you.
Freeman W and Reed L (2016) ‘Adam Smith and the wealth of everyone’ Irvington-on-Hudson Vol 66 (2) pp 41-44
Hill N (1937) ‘Think and grow rich’ forwarded by Zadell S.
Thornton W (1934) ‘The economic definition of wealth’ Fortnightly Review Vol 17 (100) pp566-574