Wealth: perhaps the most disruptive word in our current (American/Western) culture. Like the ever-dangling carrot just out of our reach, the evasive definition of this word has redirected our steps, our lives, towards a phantom destination and a menial existence. But there’s hope.
Unfortunately, many people will never wake up from the expired American Dream and start actually living.
Consider this fairly well-known story:
“There was once a businessman on a much-needed vacation reclining by the beach in a small, exotic Brazilian village – enjoying the warm rays of sunshine lathering his skin and the refreshment of a cool frozen drink.
As he sat and began to feel the tension melt away from his stress-induced body, he noticed a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore – having caught quite a few large fish.
The businessman, impressed by the catch, shouted out to the fisherman, “Sir, how long did it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman casually replied, “Oh, just a short while, sir.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?”, the businessman astonished.
“Well sir, this here is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then return home and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and when the evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar by the fire, sing and dance throughout the night.”
Seeing the opportunity for this fisherman, the businessman quickly replied:
“Coincidentally enough, I have a PhD in Business Management; I could help you become wildly successful. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and catch as many fish as possible. After doing this for a while, when you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon after, you will be able to afford to buy multiple boats, then set up your own company, and eventually open your own production plant for canned food and distribution network.
By then, you will be able to move out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughed heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and, when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, move to a house in an exotic fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife; and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play guitar by the fire, sing and dance throughout the night!”
While this analogy has some shortcomings, the resounding response we hear as we read is
What am I ultimately working towards?
What is really important to me?
These are the questions everybody needs to ask, but nobody seems to answer. And without answering these questions to orient ourselves in the landscape of life, we are just drifting.
And when we are just drifting, we are downgrading the potential of our lives – settling for less, not knowing that we were made for more.
The beauty of these questions is how they quickly surface the simple truth that
Wealth has nothing to do with money.
Do we believe this?
Taken from Jim Carrey:
As if this idea weren’t dizzying enough, we then can’t help but ask ourselves, “Well if getting rich is not the answer, then what is?”
Are you wealthy?