“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
― Henry David Thoreau
The First Indication of Wealth
When I began working at my first engineering job after graduation, I dedicated my whole life to it. To make a positive first impression, I went to work at 8 a.m. and didn’t leave until well after 6 p.m. Many days, I would skip lunch just to complete a project’s deadline. In addition, I was always the first to volunteer for late-night and weekend shifts.
I did everything I possibly could to gain the trust of my fellow colleagues and senior management staff.
But after a year of living an unbalanced life, I was a mess. Although I had proved to be a strong contributor at work, other aspects of my life slowly deteriorated. My relationships crumbled, my personal growth stagnated, and my health declined.
In fact, after a year and a half of living this unhealthy lifestyle, I gained twenty pounds of fat and often felt lethargic. In addition, I was often mentally and physically drained after work. As a result, my free time was mostly spent trying to recharge my internal battery.
This was no way to live!
Feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired, I was ready to make a lasting lifestyle change. I realized there’s no amount of money in the world that can replace my health.
To me, my body was priceless.
I wouldn’t trade any part of it away for cash. To me, I’m already worth more than all the money in the world combined!
I decided to never again compromise my well-being for the sake of more money or to impress other people. After all, without my health, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the money I’d earned or to be fully present with the people I cared about.
My first step to a healthier life was telling my manager I would come into work at 9 a.m. and leave no later than 6 p.m. After becoming accustomed to the extra work I’d been putting in, my boss wasn’t overly thrilled with my decision. But he respected it and agreed to my new schedule.
In an effort to become healthier, I started following a fitness program my colleague had suggested. Taking my health seriously, I followed that regimen religiously.
I did the workouts every single day, either early in the morning or first thing after I came home from work. In addition, I changed my diet by reducing my intake of processed food and started eating real foods like vegetables.
Slowly but surely, my weight started to decline and I was back to my original weight.
With a better balance between work and personal life, my health improved. I felt happier and less stressed. I also discovered my self-respect by taking a stand for my needs and learning to set boundaries. As a result, I was able to thrive at my job and take care of my health at the same time.
That’s why health will always be my first indication of wealth.
Your Unique Definition Of Wealth
“Wealth” can mean different things, depending on the person.
Does it involve having a big bank account or a healthy stock portfolio?
Is it collecting toys like cars and boats or traveling to exotic destinations?
Or perhaps living debt-free?
To me, wealth is not about money.
Rather, it’s defined by my amount of free time, the experiences I have, and my contribution to society. I constantly ask myself:
“Do I have time to do the things I love?”
“Am I creating unforgettable memories and fun experiences?”
“Is my contribution to the world positive and impactful?”
If I answer “no” on any given day to one or more of these questions, then I know I’ve fallen out of alignment with my values. To counter that, I regularly remind myself money is only a source of energy that fuels my lifestyle. Using it as support, I can travel to new places and create exciting experiences.
You are a unique person with your own dreams and goals.
Whether you want to spend more time with your loved ones, develop skills that allow you to advance your career, or have the freedom to choose which activities to pursue each day, the responsibility is yours and yours alone.
No one can define it for you.
However you define wealth, start living it today. Begin with where you are and envision where you want to go.
Then create an action plan of smaller steps and goals to make your dream a reality. That’s because you hold the master key to your wealth.
Become the protagonist in your story and create your definition of a wealthy lifestyle.
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