Original Photo by: WholeFoods
Webster’s dictionary defines rich as: “adjective, having abundant possessions and especially material wealth.”
Basically, having a crap load of money and possessions means you’re rich. I absolutely believed that up until 2013, when I sailed to the Eastern Caribbean’s on the Celebrity Reflection. I knew that cruise line had a much older demographic, and I ended up being one of the youngest travelers on the trip. On one of the sea days, I started talking with a stranger, and we just got along and enjoyed each other’s company. For the sake of keeping him anonymous, let’s call him, John, that’s a common enough name. I estimated John to be around his 50’s, he carried himself with a lot of confidence and had a great sense of humor and warmth, I later found out he was the CEO of a real estate company. I was a bit taken back when he never mentioned any of his own accomplishments, but his wife would randomly insert statements about how great of a role model he is to his team. John only spoke of the accomplishments of his team and how proud he was of them, but nothing about himself. That to me was respectable and it showed what a great leader he was.
We ended up having dinner together and John asked me what it meant to be rich. Just like Webster’s dictionary, rich was defined to me as having a lot of wealth, so I could buy anything my heart desired. When I asked the question in return, John mentioned, “As long as I don’t have to stress about having money to fix my car from an unexpected breakdown, not worry about having food on my table, have clothes to wear on my back, a wonderful healthy family, then I’m rich.” He went on to explain that being rich is within anyone’s grasp and sometimes that means making $40,000, $80,000 or $100,000+ a year. He challenged me to find that number for myself and believed that’s all I needed to feel rich. John was right.
Life is really about perspective and not by simple definitions. I’m not Fortune 500 executive rich, but I’m rich in many other ways that John has taught me. I’m sure it’ll be nice to own a Ferrari someday, but if that day never comes, I think I’ll be happy regardless.