Wealth doesn’t just happen. We need to cultivate the kind of mindset, imagination and habits that will make it possible for us to generate and keep it.
Wealth is not just stacks of paper piled high in a vault somewhere; wealth is first and foremost the result of a creative process. When we start a business, bring extra value to our jobs or develop innovations, we essentially create something out of nothing.
We create new ideas or new applications for existing ideas. We create new products or services. And we do this in a way that can be brought to market (either through our own business or through our work within an existing organization).
It’s often taken for granted that tapping into this creative process is something we all innately know how to do…
But for many of us, that’s not the case.
“Just create a new idea!”
“Just start a business!”
Did you learn how to accomplish either of these things in school? I sure didn’t. We learned algebra, history, biology and English, to name a few. We spent thousands of hours in a classroom. But did we learn how to make money?
I can’t fill that financial literacy gap in a single column… nor am I an expert on how to make a fortune. But I can share with you some of the principles that can make a big difference in how you approach your own journey of wealth creation.
Follow the Wealth Creation Road
The first is to understand that generating wealth is a creative process. If you’ve ever written a story, composed a song, painted a picture, planted a garden, figured out how to repair an appliance, planned an event or decorated a home, then you have a sense of what a creative process is like.
Search your memory for anything along these lines – it will give you a place to begin.
Then allow yourself the time and relatively stress-free space to both daydream and focus on what you might create that could generate some wealth.
This is where the worry, fear and desperation that stem from money problems can plague us, thwarting our ability to bring our creativity to bear.
One day, years ago, when I was going through my own financial turmoil, I realized that almost all of my creative energy was being drawn toward very concrete and rigid problem-solving: How will I make enough this month to pay the bills?
The idea of dedicating time to daydreaming or brainstorming more creative ideas seemed frivolous, considering I had urgent problems to solve!
But it dawned on me in that moment that I was missing the most important issue: I was putting out fires rather than addressing the source of those fires.
That led me to set aside time for creativity, for exploring how I could help more people in a way that was valuable to them.
I can’t tell you what that will look like for you because what you create will be unique and personal to you. I can only tell you that it’s worth prioritizing some of your time to find it out for yourself.
Earlier, I talked about our journey of wealth creation – and that word “journey” is important. Even if you come up with a brilliant idea that could solve a unique set of problems for millions of people, it still will take time and perseverance to bring it to fruition.
Make the time to learn about your ideas, the market for those ideas, your potential customers and their changing needs and priorities, manufacturing, delivery, protection, relationships, dynamics… and so on. There will be a lot to learn between coming up with an idea and attaining the wealth that it can create.
And that’s true whether you’re starting your own business or working for an organization. Generating wealth is a process that will take time. It won’t solve your financial stress today or this month.
And know that habits, too, are a key part of this wealth creation journey. More to come on that in my next column…
[Editor’s Note: Go here to get access to Joel’s weekly blog.]