What is a rich life?
For me, it’s doing the work I want to be doing. Spending time with the people I want to spend time with. And thinking the thoughts I want to think. It’s having the freedom and ability to do those things, and to do them on my terms.
Money plays a crucial role in this; but it’s not the way most people think.
There’s a great quote by Jim Carrey, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
Money doesn’t buy happiness and it’s not the root of all evil. It’s just money. It can help us get the rich life we desire, and it can also prevent us from getting it.
My goal is to help you figure out how to have your version of a rich life, and have a lot of money. I think it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too. I’ve been helping people figure out how to make this happen for over 20 years as a financial advisor. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What money can’t give you
- What money can give you
- Your rich life
Let’s get started.
What money can’t give you
Money won’t get you happiness, love, friendship, or community. It’s never delivered those things to anyone, even though most of us think it will. Do you think having more money would make you happier? Would it bring you more love? Get you more and better friends? Provide you with a more robust community?
Even if we intellectually understand what it won’t give us, many of us jokingly say, “I’ll find out for myself.” And I used to be one of those people. But here’s the thing; you can have it all. It’s possible to be really happy and have a lot of money. But when that happens, it won’t be because of money.
What money can give you
Money has no intrinsic value; it just is. What it can provide is of enormous value. It can provide more control and options. It can provide security and peace of mind.
And it can be destructive.
It can give you an awful and shallow life if it’s all you think about and work towards. It can destroy marriages, business partnerships, friendships, families, countries, and societies. Money can be a weapon of mass destruction.
All things being equal, I’d rather have it than not. But to get good at money, you need to understand what money is, what it can do, and how to interact with it. Let’s talk about how to live your rich life.
Your rich life
What does living a rich life mean to you? As I mentioned in the beginning, I believe it’s doing the work I want to be doing, spending time with the people I want to spend time with, and thinking the thoughts I want to think. It’s having the freedom and ability to do those things, and to do them on my terms.
In order for you to live yours, you need clarity on what it means to you. How do you do it?
Start with where you are right now. The life you have results from your thinking and actions. If your life is exceptional, carry on. If not, a shift is required.
We spend way too much time thinking about what we don’t want. We have very little control over what happens to us. On the other hand, we have 100% control over how we respond and how we feel about our circumstances. This is a human superpower. We need to put this superpower to work.
We do it by stopping thinking about what we don’t want, and thinking about what we want. So, what is it you want? This is a simple and extremely profound question. What if you started focusing only on that?
How many of your waking hours are you spending thinking about things you don’t want versus things you want? Make an estimate. Now, imagine how your life would be life if you spent all 16 hours focused on the positive instead of the negative; how would your life be different?
You’re familiar with the phrase, “You are what you eat?” It’s also true that, “You are what you think.”
Mark Twain famously said, “Life consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that is forever flowing through one’s head.” And Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
And there’s a lot of science behind this as well.
When we focus our attention on what we want, our subconscious mind listens and works to help us get it. Dr. Bruce Lipton explains: “Neuroscientists have shown that most of our decisions, actions, emotions and behavior depend on the 95% of brain activity that is beyond our conscious awareness, which means that 95% of our life comes from the programming in our subconscious mind.”
When we focus our conscious mind on what we want, we program our subconscious mind. When we focus on things we don’t want, we’re programming our brains for what we don’t want.
To get started, pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. When you put garbage into your brain, you’re going to turn your brain into garbage. Every minute you spend on things you don’t want is time that’s wasted. When you spend time on social media, you’re taking time away from some other beneficial activity. Unplug. Get outside. Be fully engaged in whatever you’re doing and remove as many distractions as you can.
Be aware of your thinking and feeling. When a negative thought or feeling comes up (as they do), recognize it and replace it with a positive one. Stop thinking about things you don’t want and start thinking about things you want.
I hope this makes sense to you, and I know it sounds easy, but does hard. Start thinking about what you want. Make doing that a habit, and I’m confident it will help you live the rich life you desire.
Once you figure out how you want your life to be, and you set about making it happen, you’ve positioned yourself for success. When you’re on that path, money can improve your life. It can be additive and accentuate the good things.
But money alone will not do it. It’s not the answer.
Constantly ask yourself, “What do I want?” And start going after it.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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