Everyone wants to be rich. It isn’t the thought of having all that money, as much as what that money represents in your life: freedom, security, flexibility, the ability to be your own boss.
Fortunately, if you were not born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, you can still make some life changes that will lead to living like you are rich.
1. What You Do Is Not Who You Are
We Americans tend to ask two questions when we meet someone: “What is your name” and “What do you do?” Based upon these answers, we make assumptions about who and what that person is. In my life, I have been a dishwasher, a babysitter, a retail sales person, a sandwich maker, a receptionist, a stay-at-home mom, a student, an executive assistant, an advertising sales executive, a massage therapist, a hypnotist, a Tarot card reader, a Reiki Master, a mother, a lover, a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a mistress, a business owner, a blogger and a best friend. Many of those titles brought me income, and for a time, they shaped my life. None of those titles, individually, tell the story of who I am, though. Whatever your current position in life, do not accept the trap of thinking that is all that you are.
2. The People in Your Life Are Co-Creators
Your friends and romantic partners are co-creators in your life, so you must choose wisely. Your friends are your support system, and their vision for life will influence and shape your life. Make sure that it is a vision that you want for yourself. You will find that people will enter, exit, and possibly re-enter your life as the years go by. Cherish and appreciate the experiences and lessons they bring to enrich your life, and be willing to let them go with love and respect, when their paths diverge from your life path.
3. You Have the Power
You have the absolute power to change your circumstances at any point. Don’t believe me? Think about what you do every single day of your life, then think about what would happen if you didn’t do it. For instance, what would happen if tomorrow you didn’t go to work. You may or may not lose your job. You may or may not be able to pay some bills. You would probably feel anxious, a little panicky, a little excited, and a bit naughty. Then, when you realize that no one is going to show up at your door to make you go in, you begin thinking about all of the possibilities you have before you. Maybe you sleep all day? Perhaps you go see a movie you have wanted to see. Maybe you take your kids on a field trip. Or maybe, you begin thinking bigger…I should start that book I’ve always wanted to write. I really do need to go back to school. I hate this town, maybe I should move. I am not advocating walking away from your commitments, rather stepping back (rhetorically speaking) in order to evaluate whether you are on the path that will bring you what you desire. You can do anything you want in this life, if you are willing to pay the price.
4. Define What is Important to You
When you begin thinking about your life, what matters to you? What brings you absolute peace of mind? Is it your house, or does your house represent security or status? Is it your car, or does that represent freedom? Is it your neighborhood, or does that represent social standing? When you begin to separate “things” from what they represent, you begin to realize what is truly important to you. Things can be lost, broken, destroyed, and stolen. You may begin to find that, when you remove the “things” you carry, you feel lighter. A house can represent security, but it can be a giant burden if you have to work excessively to pay for it, or if you cannot keep up the repairs. Clinging to “things” can make you sacrifice your freedom, family, and even principles, just to hold on. Before you fight desperately, think about whether the fight is worth it.
5. Experiences, Not Things, Bring Fulfillment
This concept goes together with #4. Things can be lost, but experiences are treasures that you will always have. Think of your dream vacation. Perhaps it is at a tropical resort somewhere. What would you be doing? Do you really care that the sheets are a high thread count, or is it the way you feel when you hold your partner’s hand as you walk on the beach? Is it truly the fine wine at dinner, or is it the way your partner is laughing with you? Does it matter if you fly first class, if flying coach will get you to the same destination? Many things can be enjoyed for minimal money. You may live near a park, lake or beach. National and State Parks can be enjoyed for a couple of dollars. Take a road trip to a nearby town, and play tourist. Shake up your routine. Personally, I would rather spent $100 on a night on the town with good friends, then a designer wallet or new dress.
6. Build Your Life Around Your Talents
Everyone has a natural talent. Some are born to be performers, writers, salespeople, doctors, attorneys, CEOs, and CPAs. You know what your innate talents are, so find a trade that encourages and complements it. You may think that you can make a lot of money becoming a financial adviser, but if you hate sales, and can’t deal with the public, you will never succeed. Embrace your God-given talents, and figure out what careers will showcase those talents.
7. There is No Safe Job
If there is any lesson in this life, it is that there is no safe job. Things change, government policies change, companies change, people change. There are no cushy jobs with fat pensions anymore. As a society, we have decided that we have no obligation to our workers. While this is a sad choice we have made, there is some liberation in it. When corporations break faith with us, we are free to make decisions for ourselves. There is no such thing as a “company man” anymore, and that is ok. We are now free to move around as we chose, and with the advent of IRAs, the 401k and Affordable Care Act, we don’t even have to stay at a job for “benefits” anymore. You can define how you want to work now. For instance, my partner and I live in our RV. He works at a place where we can park our RV and live rent-free. I work at a nearby resort as an on-call massage therapist that gives me time to devote to my writing. This arrangement allows us a nice standard of living, a financial boost, since we have limited living expenses, flexible schedules, and to live in the Florida Keys. While I recognize that this arrangement would not work for everyone, it is an example of how we have carved our niche in life.
8. If it Feels Scary, You Know You’re on the Right Path
You can be safe, or you can find fulfillment. There is a reason that America has the 1st Amendment. Ideas have power. Ideas can shape and change everything. When you come to realize that there is a whole world out there, with different views and different values, you begin to grasp how tiny your worldview may be. Challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone (read The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost). From Odysseus, to Alexander the Great, to Queen Elizabeth to Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, legends are created by those who challenged the status quo.
There is no one way for everyone to become millionaires. We are not all meant to be. Money is a tool that we use to gain what we want in this life. The most important concept to grasp is that freedom, security, and happiness are experiences we can embrace and enjoy right now.