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Everybody wants to be “rich,” but few stop to consider what it really means to be “rich” or why they even want to be “rich.”

Think about it: when you hear the word rich, what image comes to mind? A big house with a McLaren parked in front? Fancy clothes? Exotic vacations? The ability to buy whatever you want whenever you want it? Those things may sound nice (and granted, they are), but simply amassing a pile of stuff isn’t the point.

Trust me on this: if you’re driven by a need for more and more stuff, you have a hole inside you will never fill. No amount of stuff will make you feel successful. No one purchase will be the thing that brings contentment to your life. If all you want when you’re broke is money, all you’ll want when you’re rich is more money. There will never be enough for you. Money, while solving some problems, often brings with it new problems previously not imagined. It’s been said that money is a great tool but a poor master. The more money I’ve made, the truer that statement has become.

I grew up with parents who loved each other and loved me and my big brother. They both worked and we had nice things, but we weren’t especially wealthy. We were middle class, and my parents experienced financial ups and downs. The ups were great. During the downs, we didn’t have a home of our own and had to stay with family members. I slept on a relative’s family room sofa for months. It seemed like fun at the time though. I didn’t realize we were experiencing an unemployment issue until twenty years later. After that, my parents turned things around financially. But were we rich? I think we were, in a sense. It was safe and stable. I lived in a loving home. Even though I had to sleep on the sofa for a while, we never had to stress about where our next meal would come from. My parents taught me to look for and chase after opportunities to improve myself. They taught me how to work. All those things made me the man I am today. 

My family background, especially contrasted with my financial success in my adult life, has taught me that “rich” isn’t a dollar amount: It’s a perception of relative comfort and security. It is state of mind that allows you to be content in any situation. It is an abundance of healthy relationships in your life. It is finding peace in your heart regardless of external circumstances.

To learn more, read my book: Who” Eating Your Pie?

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Erik Weir