Do you want to be rich?

It’s a straightforward question that usually evokes an immediate, reflexive, and emphatic YES! And when pressed to define what rich means, we likely respond in monetary terms. After all, money is how we describe and measure many of the things we value in our daily lives. But, unless we are careful, the logical progression is to be driven to become richer, or borrow, in order to buy more of the things we value and enjoy.

This view leads to a problem almost as old as mankind. It’s not that riches are bad, but rather the love of riches – the singular focus on becoming rich. We all know the proverb that riches do not buy happiness or fulfillment. It is continually painfully illustrated by television, movies, and literature. As wealth grows it develops a kind of gravitational pull on our attention and behavior.

So, if we want to do more of the things we enjoy in life, where is our focus better placed? A good start is to delve a little deeper into the definitions of the word rich. In order, the Encarta Online Dictionary defines rich as:

  1. wealthy
  2. worth much
  3. costly and fine
  4. with good supply of something
  5. plentiful
  6. productive
  7. fertile

By changing the focus from money to ourselves, we can get a whole new perspective: Rich becomes our costly and fine value, our good and plentiful supply of talents, our productivity, and the fertility of our creativity.

When we view our riches in terms of health, friends, talent, time, passion, and creativity, we open ourselves up to incredible potential for ourselves and our broader family and community. Money becomes the byproduct of what we produce and the vehicle to purchase what we value.

When we align our riches of time, talent, and treasure with our well-considered purposes, amazing things happen. Perhaps the better question is, How will you use your riches?