We all work because we need money. Money will give you all sorts of things. It will buy us a big house, cars, holidays, every gadget imaginable to mankind and every shoe, handbag and clothing our wardrobe can contain. Have you ever just sat down and thought about what money can’t buy? There are 3 essentials that money can’t buy:
- Time: Money can’t buy more time. You cannot buy more than 24 hours a day. Each of us whether rich or poor will have 24 hours a day. No more, no less. Time is therefore the most valuable commodity we each have. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Wasting time is probably our biggest enemy.
- Fulfillment: Money can to a certain extend buy love, happiness, friends but it can’t buy true and long-lasting love, happiness and relationships. Fulfillment comes from meaningful relationships and living out our purpose that brings about significance in lives of those around you. It is about living out an authentic life shared with others.
- Life: The most valuable and no amount of money can buy. Yes, sadly but true. You can’t buy life. You might be able to extend it but you can’t buy life. Each of us have this one life. Whatever the lifespan, we need to make the most of it. To learn to appreciate and live out a life that is true to each of our calling. Life is precious. Don’t spend your life pursuing money but pursue a life of significance with money that you have.
Hence the question, what drives each of us to want more money? I dare say that it is the illusion of what money can buy. Money is perceived to be able to buy happiness, gives you power, security and comforts of life. Yes in many ways it does. It can buy you happiness, temporary in most situations but never buys you true joy. It can buy you security but not peace. It can afford to you the comforts of life but not a joyful life.
What is then the best approach towards money? I believe that the examples of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and their philanthropic efforts is what we can learn from. It is about how best we can use the resources that we are given to give back. No matter the amount of money we have, every little cent that we invest wisely into lives will be significant in its impact over time.
What should you invest with money?
- Time: Strange considering that I had mentioned that we can’t buy time. What we can buy is a more productive use of our time. We can buy “time” by saving time. For example, you can buy 1 hour of cleaning services for $50, and in turn you will have 1 hour to spend with your family at the beach. Think about in what area of your life you could “buy time”.
- Experiences: Pay for learnings and growth. Each of us can only gain experiences when we live it out. Invest in learning opportunities. Invest in travel. Invest in enriching the lives of you and your family by spending time together. It is experiences of relationships, serving one another, doing life together that makes one’s life fulfilled.
- Giving back of your life: It is always better to give than to receive. And yet, you can’t really give until you have received. Anthony Robbins has shared about his life as a young child when he experienced the impact of someone giving to his family and in turn, now he gives back to countless more families. The comforts and blessings of the life that you have is meant to be shared with others. We are not meant to be hoarders but to be givers. It does not require all your money, it does require your time, your willingness to go out of your way and a heart to want to give.
What is your principle when it comes to money? How tightly are you holding on to your money? What can you use money to invest in? What is your long-term investment plan? Are you investing in life or money?
One of the many attributes that will help you live a happy life is the art of being grateful. Grateful is about being thankful and appreciative of someone or something. To be grateful requires a mindful conscious act for most of us. It is being tuned in to people and circumstances that you can be thankful for. Most people don’t even think twice about an act of kindness that was shown or an assistance that was rendered. Most people certainly won’t remember what kind deed was done not because they are ungrateful but because we don’t stop and reflect.
5 Ways to start your journey to being a grateful person:
- Start with writing it down: The process of writing it down requires you to take time to reflect and focus on areas to be grateful for. Write it down, every thing, no matter small or simple. For example, good health, able to walk and run, able to have a job that you enjoy, able to help someone etc. Don’t overlook the trivial matters. Good health is something to be grateful for. If you don’t have good health, quality of life generally suffers. So start with what you have taken for granted. The goal is that over time and with practice, the process will become just another natural extension of your character.
- Take time to show your appreciation: When someone helps you out in some area, take the time to show your appreciation. Show that you are grateful for an act of service or kindness. I am sure that the person will appreciate it. A simple thank you will suffice and ensure that you look at the person while saying it vs. distractingly saying it. Mean it.
- How can you pay forward?: Being a grateful person isn’t just about feeling grateful for all the good things that you have received, but it is truly about, how can you share that with others? Who can you pay forward to? Random act of kindness. We receive blessings so that we can share that blessings with others. Blessings are not meant to be kept, stored and tucked away.
- Don’t take anyone or anything for granted: It is so easy to take those closest to us for granted. We just don’t “see” them anyone or even consider their situation. To be grateful, requires that we don’t take our eyes off the people we love just because we are now seeing everyone around us. Treasure those closest first and the rest will fall into place.
- Release comparison: One of the negative effects of comparing with others, is the birth of envy and death to gratefulness. The Jones’s effect leads to discontent, jealousy, slander and never ending obsession for more. The key to releasing comparison is to be comfortable and contented with who you are, what you have and not have. To do that, you need to be grateful. I have come to learn to that having enough is the best balance. For example, you can only wear one watch at a time, drive one car at a time, eat only as much as what your stomach can take in, drink just enough wine before it does damage etc. To try and have more does not add to your level of peace or contentment. In fact in today stressful world, to have the right balance of stress is important. Enough stress to drive you to perform better but not too much that will give you hypertension.
Being grateful is a conscious thought process until it becomes your character. As it is a conscious thought process, every one is able to start learning and eventually become a grateful person.
- Would you describe yourself as a grateful person?
- What are you grateful for?
- How have I shared my life with others?
- If your family or friends were to describe you, what would they say?
There is a certain level of peace and contentment when we meet a person who demonstrates gratefulness. Who doesn’t want to live a happy life filled with peace and contentment? What is stopping you today?