Wouldn’t it be great if you could win the lottery, or if that rich uncle in Nigeria you keep getting emails about, really was true and not just a scam, but you were really about to become fantastically rich? Having a great deal of money would certainly make life easier, but does it lead to happiness?
To most people health and wealth are two completely different concepts, but to anyone who is truly interested in having a wealthy life they are synonymous. What would all of the riches in the world mean, if you were not also healthy enough to enjoy them, and have important people in your life to enjoy them with?
The reality is in life there are many things that cannot be bought. No matter how wealthy you are, you cannot buy back your health, or buy back one second of time after it has passed. When you look at it like this, the truth is obvious; time is the absolute measure of how rich a person is. To be able to fully appreciate each and every moment before it is gone.
The world would be a much better place if more people would stop and truly think about the many blessings they have had in their own lives: parents, spouses, siblings, children, friends. The relationships one cultivates with friends and family are priceless, they cannot be bought, nor can they survive without diligent, caring attention. The measure of a person’s success is only in the minds of others. Riches will indeed equal success in the minds of most, but only if that person is also well thought of, otherwise it just becomes a footnote to resentment. We have all heard of what many think of rich people, like: ‘they are all crooks’ or ‘corrupt’ or dishonest’.
Health is another on the long list of overlooked fortunes. What use is a king’s ransom, if your health is failing? Yes, money will buy doctors and medical treatment, and depending on the nature of one’s afflictions, it may even buy back health. However, if you are at the end of your days, and it is only a matter of time before you depart this world, will money bring you solace? Will it grant you one ounce of comfort, or do anything to remember you, when you are gone? Your family and friends will, they will be the ones there to remind you of the difference you made in this world. They will be the ones to tell others about you even long afterword. You will live on in their hearts and minds.
There has been any number of success stories throughout history, people known for their fame and outrageous fortunes. Were they truly happy, though? Some were, but these were mostly people who would have happy if they had been poor instead.
The late Steve Jobs comes to mind. Here was a man who measured his success by innovation. His dreams were never of becoming rich, he achieved that many times over, yet he kept going. His dreams were of making life better for the whole of the human race by disseminating information and devising new ways of doing so. In truth, if he had been a financial disaster, he’d have still been happy if he had enough money to continue his work. That was all he wanted.
Princess Diana; the woman who became royalty, but still rubbed elbows with the poorest of the poor. Few people have as much claim to the title of humanitarian as princess Diana. She could have lived every moment in lavish comfort and decadence, but instead she chose to go out and get her hands dirty by trying to make life better for those who were much less fortunate. At her death, the whole world mourned her passing.
Then there are those who, despite becoming fantastically rich, are never the less fantastically unhappy. The stories you read about in magazines, hear about on the news, the ones who say ‘ money ruined their lives’. I find this very hard to believe. I’m more inclined to think that a series of unwise decisions are what ‘ruined their lives’. They stopped cultivating the precious relationships they had, and couldn’t understand that money won’t buy everything, especially happiness. Some of these even used their wealth to actively destroy their health through drugs. These were people who had yet to learn the basics of happiness.
Money can be a wonderful thing, but without one’s: health, family, friends, appreciation, and respect, it is completely worthless.
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