Not he who has little, but he who wishes more, is poor. Marcus Annaeus Seneca
For want of a better yardstick, the amount of monetary and material wealth are commonly used to judge how rich a poor a person is compared to another. One major reason for this yardstick is the fact that this measure is more tangible and lends itself to comparisons. Ironically, it this quality of the monetary and material wealth yardstick that is also its greatest weakness, in as much as it excludes so many other parameters which cannot be measured precisely but which have a larger bearing on a person’s relative worth particularly to himself/ herself.
It would be interesting to observer people around and try to establish their happiness quotient. While material wealth has a large bearing on happiness it is the more intangible wealth like harmonious family life, being passionate about the current profession, having a quality life style, having enough time to pursue one’s passion etc. that has a larger bearing on the happiness quotient. The big difference between material wealth and the other sources of happiness lies in the fact that monetary and material wealth possess us but a truly happy person posses all other types of wealth in abundance. True riches are possessed only by those who are happy and that is why the happiness quotient becomes more meaningful when identifying the rich and the poor.
Since happiness is a function of both a measureable value (tangible wealth) and an immeasurable yardstick (thoughts and feelings) the common denominator of yearning/ longing/ wanting of either a measurable value or an immeasurable yardstick has emerged as the consensus measure. The calculation is simple; if someone wants he/ she is poor otherwise she/ he is rich. So a filthy rich industrialist living in a mansion all alone and forlorn is terribly poor as compared to his employee, perhaps a butler, who lives in peace and happiness with his family and friends. The former perhaps yearns of companionship, maybe seeks recognition and appreciation, whereas the latter lives in bliss, happy with his job, content with the income and perks of his job and above all having a restful sleep.
No sooner a person is satisfied, he / she has become rich and if the person experiences bliss in life he/ she is rich beyond compare. Conversely as long there is a desire for something, a craving for what we do not possess the person has become poor. The more the longing for anything, the greater the poverty of that person. While it is good to yearn for it reflects a perceived need, chasing it, attempting to use force to acquire it or manipulating in order to posses simply throws light on the wretched state of mind of that person. See a miser hoard his wealth and crave for still more, a sports star / film star remarrying a couple of times or notice the unethical business practices that abound in the corporate world and you will see the rich face of the poor individuals who are actually begging for a slice of the pie they have set their eyes on.
Remember: By desiring little, a poor man makes himself rich. Democritus
- Make a list of all that you are truly blessed with. Eg. Talents/ money/ good education etc. Now make a list of things you crave for eg. Bigger house/ latest mobile phone/ a swanky car etc. Become more specific about your blessings and your cravings eg. Ability to write/ a post graduate degree or 4 bedroom house/ a BMW _ series car etc. Ask yourself now if you are rich or poor.
- Out of your list of blessings, if god asked you to give up 3 blessings which 3 would you happily give off and which 3 blessings would you be most reluctant to give up? Also if god gave you 3 wishes what would you ask for?
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