“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.”– Seneca
For the curious reader who wants the answer immediately, I urge you to bear with me and read through the post. But alas, time is short so I will tell you now that the secret to how I became part of the wealthiest 1% can be found in the last paragraph. Now for the patient reader, let us start by not taking anything for granted by asking two key questions in the following paragraphs.
What is wealth? It depends on whom you ask. Ask an economist and they’ll tell you it is your net assets. But if asked Socrates, Gandhi or Lao Zi, they might have said that wealth is the aggregation of the quality of your relationship, how content with yourself you are, how many times you smile every day, and how meaningful the work you do feels. I think the latter type of wealth is ultimately what matters in life. At the end life, I doubt that anyone ever regretted prioritising the latter type of wealth above the first.
At what point do we become wealthy? When our net-assets equal $10,000, $100,000 or $1 million? It depends on the context and the norms attached to which. In a rural Kenyan village, one can be seen as wealthy with $1000 while this is hardly the case for a person living in Palo Alto. It is similarly not easy to determine how good the quality, how many smiles or how meaningful a job we have to have in order to be wealthy in the second sense. There are no universal answers because “wealthy” is ultimately a matter of mindset, which is in turn determined by our culture and context.
Imagine if you were in control of your wealth. Imagine if there was a lever which you could pull to adjust your net-assets. Wouldn’t that be great?
Well, there is such a lever. Not for financial wealth of course (not selling a pyramid scheme here…) and it is not as simple as pulling a lever. Some people call it “changing your mindset” but I think that phrasing gives the wrong impression. Most of us cannot simply “change a mindset” by focusing on doing so.
Your “mindset” is just another word for the values, attitudes and priorities you hold. These things result from external influences. No one was ever born a nazi, nor were they born to believe that having a stable 9-5 job is the most important thing in life. These values were results of environments and so to change them, looking at the value system that surrounds you should be the first step.
And so, to change your mindset, you do not only need to have the desire to do so but you must also change your environment – the value matrix in which you operate. This value matrix is what produces the hierarchy values which guide your decisions and to what extent you see yourself as wealthy. Imagine that you are playing the video game “League of Legends”. Within that community, being of the “challenger” tier grants you a lot of respect. And as long as you keep playing the game, live and embrace that hierarchy of value and respect, you will strive to become “challenger” and you will pay respects to those who have achieved such a feat. Only when you actively choose to step outside that “matrix” of norms will you have a chance at adopting new priorities.
So how did I become part of the 1% wealthiest on the planet at age 21? By redefining what it means to be wealthy. By choosing to begin a journey away from a value matrix which has served its purpose and is time to leave behind. I do not know if I have truly left it, or if it even is the right decision, but I am certain that I have found a path that has been trodden by many before me. I created “Mini Challenge 2021” for those who want to join me, and you can read more about it by following this link.