Living a meaningful Life, and not a huge bank balance, makes you happy!
Two days ago Vaani was moderating a panel conversation on three interesting books that provoked management thought. She chose to talk about what she had learnt from management guru Jim Collins’ Good to Great. The other two panelists shared their perspectives from The 20 Minute MBA by Chip Walker and The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D Wattles.
The gentleman who spoke from his reading of The Science of Getting Rich, in my personal opinion, completely missed the core of this seminal work. Over a 100 years old (it was first published in 1910), The Science of Getting Rich preceded other books in the same genre like Charles F Haanel’s The Master Key System (1912), Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (1937) and Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (2007). This gentleman tried to exhort the audience to believe that a ‘Massive Bank Account’ (his expansion for the ubiquitous MBA) was the key to Life. And clearly that’s not what Wattles talked about in The Science of Getting Rich. The book says that getting rich is important but emphasizes that financial success comes only when you live a full Life, driven and guided by a set of spiritual values which include gratitude, value creation, co-creation (vs competition), recognizing the futility of negative thinking, trusting the process of Life, being patient, playing to your fullest potential and letting go of worry. In trying to exaggerate his personal ‘Massive Bank Account’ theory, the reviewer, was, unwittingly perhaps, getting an impressionable young audience (most of them college students) to imagine that making money precluded everything else in Life. Whereas, the very book he was referring to defines the science of getting rich as the practice of simple spiritual laws that lead to, among other things, financial success too.
I believe much of our society today, like the gentleman in question, misses the big picture. Everyone wants quick success – name, fame, money and things. So people are always looking for short-cuts to get to the top. The truth about Life is that there is only one way and it is the way of inner peace and happiness. You are happy only when you do what you love doing, it is only when you repeatedly do what you love doing that you learn to be world-class at it and it is only when you are world-class at some thing that you become insanely financially successful. If you chase a ‘Massive Bank Account’ (bank balance, that is, as the gentleman propositioned the other day) instead, you may well get it, but you may not necessarily be happy. Life is a limited period offer and, sooner than later, everyone realizes and wakes up to the reality that happiness and inner peace are what matter the most. So, why not employ the science of getting rich properly by following certain undisputable, unputdownable, non-negotiable spiritual laws of Life?
I have nothing against people wanting, or making, money. But making money is not what Life’s Purpose is all about. Money is just a resource. Having more of it surely makes Life comfortable but not necessarily happier. If you can learn to be happy instead of only wanting to be wealthy, if you can serve before saying you deserve, then, you are living a purposeful Life! I look at it this way, inspired by the Prayer of St.Francis (the 13th Century Saint from Assisi); I feel each of us must urge Life every single day thus:
Make me useful in each moment,
Make me create value each day,
Keep me grounded, humble
And soaked in gratitude – for all that I have,
Make me always aware that true success
Comes only from my willingness to serve before I say I deserve
If this can be our daily prayer to Life, then we will surely be living intelligently and happily, instead of slaving away mindlessly.
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The rich act poor to become richer. The poor act rich to become poorer.- Told to me by a Formula One Official, a friend.
A newly made rich man is more conspicuous than a policeman in mufti. – R.K. Narayan in “Writer’s Nightmare”.
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