When we speak of being rich, we usually mean financial wealth: having lots of money – i.e., all the money you want and/or need.
But there are other ways of being rich – three of which can improve your life immensely:
- You can be rich in relationships: with friends, family and the community at large.
- You can be rich in health: having a robust immune system, strong muscles, flexible joints and abundant energy.
- You can be rich mentally: knowledgeable and skillful but also curious, excited and always eager to learn more.
When I first decided to become rich, I made that my one and only goal. Having a single goal helped me focus. Making business decisions was easier. I merely had to ask, “What course of action will provide me with the greatest long-term payout?”
It was also much easier to make nonfinancial decisions. When a conflict arose between something I could do to make more money and something I could do to achieve any other of my desires (such as learning another language), it was easier to choose money.
This monomaniacal focus helped me become a millionaire in something like 12 or 18 months and a decamillionaire in less than seven years.
But it also hindered and even damaged other important parts of my life, such as my health, my social life, and my love of writing and teaching and learning.
So I began to set and pursue goals other than money, which made my life crazy for many years.
Finally, in my 50th year, I began to write about what I had learned and failed to learn in life. And that helped me develop a personal productivity system that allowed me to eat my cake and have it too.
What I did was break down my goals into four general categories that corresponded to the four ways to be rich I wrote above.
Becoming rich in my social and personal relationships I categorized as a social goal.
Achieving optimal health and fitness became my health goal.
Under personal goals, I listed such things as writing fiction, learning foreign languages, mastering a martial art, etc.
If you find yourself torn between your desire to make and save more money and your other dreams and objectives, my simple four-category system might be helpful.
But first, take an inventory of how rich you feel in these four categories right now. On a scale of 1 to 10, rate yourself:
- How rich are your social relationships?
- How rich is your health?
- How rich is your mental life?
- How rich are you in net financial wealth?
If you’ve been honest in rating yourself, this little exercise will highlight areas of your life that might be in need of enrichment.
You should also have a quick but reasonably reliable sense of how and where your life and your goals are unbalanced.
The good news is that you can begin to fix all that immediately. Start by making a list of how you’d like to be richer in each of these four categories.
Under your social goals, you might include not going on your phone when you’re around friends. Or you might include things like hosting dinners, volunteering at a shelter, or taking your spouse or children to the park more often. Things like that.
Under your health goals, you might include losing weight, hitting the gym, getting more and better sleep, cutting down on drinking, and so on.
Under your personal goals category, for example, you might include something about reading good books. Or it might be writing in a journal. You might put down listening to good music. Your goal might be to watch good movies, go to museums, learn a language, practice meditation…
And under your wealth goals, you might include spending less and saving more money every month, paying off your debts a little faster, starting a second income stream, building an antique coin collection… The list goes on.
If this is at all motivating, I’ve got plenty of books and programs I can recommend, including several I’ve authored. But for the moment, take a few minutes to think about the following:
- Of the four categories in which you can be rich, only your health is not entirely under your control. Whereas becoming rich in the other three is completely up to you.
- Getting richer in any area requires purposeful action. Desire is not enough.
- Any bit of enrichment in any individual area makes you feel better across the board.
- Nobody else cares whether you have become richer in any of these areas. They will notice if you have, but only you should care. And only you can do something about it.