“Nothing gold can stay.” Robert Frost
I have a client, Jack, who is a multimillionaire. You certainly can’t tell by how he dresses. He comes in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. But his face is different. Jack has an energy and a certainty that sticks out like a single car in a vast empty parking lot. And he is so present and appreciative. Sitting talking with him you can tell he has a clear sense of his “potential” or maybe it is his “creative genius”…whatever it is Jack has it in spades.
Jack is not one of those .com millionaires. He got his wealth the old fashioned way working for years building a business. Since I have aspirations of being wealthy myself some day, I asked him about his thoughts on money and wealth. I started with the question I think many of us are curious about regarding wealthy people.
I said, “Jack, how do you view money in your own life?”
He responds very quickly, “Money is just a tool of exchange for some goods or a service…a sumptuous dinner or car repairs.”
Then he adds, “But its also a tool which allows anyone to transform their dreams into a concrete form.”
“So are you happier than others because you’re closer to your dreams?” I ask.
“Life is wonderful. It’s a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn’t really anything else.” Michael Crichton
“Would you run that by me again?” I ask.
“Sure, let me give you an example…I love books, so I collect a few. I needed a new bookcase for my office; figured I could spend $500; so I priced them on line and in local furniture stores. I realized if I buy it on line, I deal with a mechanized system and the bookcase is delivered probably unassembled right from the warehouse. If I go to a local store, I probably get a salesperson who is trying to make a living selling me the latest models, is not very inspired about their products but doing the best they can.
“So, where is this going?” I ask getting confused.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
“I decide to go to an antique furniture store. I met a sales person who thinks they are selling me a product, a bookcase, with lasting quality and value. So, this person loves their products and puts that energy, commitment and appreciation into the conversation about the bookcase. It was a different experience! I felt inspired by our conversation!”
Jack added, beaming now from ear to ear, “I bought a hundred year old, handmade, mahogany, stain-glass fronted, seven shelf book case for $600. It is a work of art in itself. It enhances my books and their value to me. I felt inspired by my purchase!”
“Are you saying inspired people inspire others and that’s why you would go to an antique store instead of Sears?” I ask him.
“It drives me to ask myself where do I want to spend my time? Do I want to be with people who are not inspired or be around people who are – where do you want to play in your game of life?”
Then he says, “I would rather surround my life with inspiration and the finest things life has to offer. I believe there is enough abundance for all of us to do it in some way. Wealth can give you more of those opportunities!”
“Are you saying Jack anyone can lead an inspiring life?”
“For sure! The only difference between people I have found is what they find inspiring! The guy who repairs my car for over 35 years is an inspired man. He loves his work. I am told he reads auto repair manuals for fun. He runs a thriving business because he is an inspired person. His enthusiasm and dedication attracts his customers. He is inspired! It is the only place I take my car for that very reason.”
“You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.” Kate Morton
“So, you’re saying inspired people are happier people, more successful people, richer people…right?”
Jack looked surprised, “No, not at all! Inspired people aren’t happier or more successful. What they are is more appreciative of their own life journey! Inspired people still get challenged about half the time…just like everyone else. The difference that makes them different is inspired people expect to be challenged! They welcome the challenge because they know it is equally an opportunity for them to grow in some important way, to learn something useful for their future.”
“That’s what I have found. I have relatives and friends both rich and poor. I notice everyone has good and bad times regardless of their income, job, car or house. But inspired people with an appreciative approach to life have an inside track which gives them an edge.”
“What is that edge?” I ask.
Jack pauses again then comes out with, “I think the edge is unique to each person but I notice inspired people appreciate every day regardless of the weather, their wealth, their poverty or anything else. They seem to know each day, each challenge is a gift and so they just appreciate it, meet it head on and get on with their life.”
“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Albert Einstein
I thought, “Interesting. So money doesn’t give you a life, money is a tool you can use to grow an inspired life.”
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER are:
- Money is a tool to transform dreams into reality.
- Life is always and equally half pleasure and half pain.
- Wealth does not remove the pain from your life, it just changes its form.
- Poverty does not remove the pleasure from your life, it just changes its form.
- Inspired people expect and value the balanced duality of pleasure and pain.
- Inspired people are all around us.
- Inspired people view the two sides of life as part of the gift of life.
- Inspired people appreciate the gift of life regardless of their circumstances.
- Inspired people inspire others to appreciate their life just by their presence.
- Anyone can lead an inspired life.