Time and time again, I rediscover what it means to be wealthy.
Like most, my first thoughts were based on the central notion of financial wealth. Everything was about working harder in order to earn more and maybe even ‘retire’ early, but that belief didn’t last long.
My definition of wealth changed when I saw people who were earning a good salary but living a life I couldn’t see myself living. For example: sitting in an office all day, working far away from friends and family and routinely working unsociable hours. In such cases, the money didn’t seem worth the trade-off; that’s when I knew I had to redefine what wealth meant to me.
I began to ask myself the question: what do I really want from life?
I wrote it all down. Experiences. Relationships. Intellectual curiosity. It was an exercise in understanding myself and what I really wanted (I made a video about this here.)
But I forgot one thing, something I’ve only just come to realise that matters.
Flexibility — a more realistic step before ‘freedom’.
Everyone has commitments. But how flexible can you be in your life without disrupting its stability?
Are you able to make time for your friends? Your family?
Are you able to take a week off work and still live comfortably?
Some people run entire businesses and have numerous people working for them, but if they take a few days off then everything crumbles or drops significantly in efficiency.
Is being handcuffed to a profit-making machine truly an attribute of wealth, if we can’t find the will to escape it, even for a day?
I can think of no greater signal of wealth than the ability to adapt in the face of uncertainty, to continue moving forward when everyone is pushed back and, without flinching, place ‘business’ on hold to spend time with loved ones.
It’s made me reevaluate my definition all over again, because if earning a better salary puts me on a hamster wheel that makes me miss out on life’s most precious moments, perhaps money truly does have a lesser role to play in ‘wealth’ than I once thought.