- To be considered in the top half of the wealthy in our world, you would need to have $2,200 (US) in assets – yep, that’s about a laptop, IPhone, TV, and the spare change jug in the corner of your bedroom. (Source: World Institute for Development Economic Research)
- The poorest 5% of Americans are wealthier than approximately 68% of the rest of the world- Great post here summarizing a section from the book “The Haves and Have Nots” by Branko Milanovic
- The average square footage of a US home has increased from 1974 (1695 square feet) to 2380 square feet today. Even with the potential size of home dropping down a tad to 2150 square feet (National Association of Home Builder’s)- this represents a 26.8% increase in the size of the home while the number of people in the home has decreased from 3.1 people to 2.6.
Go ahead, say it. I am rich. When over 2/3 of the world would trade spots with your in a heartbeat, we need to keep it real…. So what’s our problem?
While I love several aspects of our free capitalistic society (hard work, ingenuity, pursuing a dream, and literally thousands of opportunities to explore), we’re also in a kayak of a strong rushing river being bombarded by 2000-5000 advertising messages a day hammering us with discontent. The truth is, we’ve taken the bait whether we like to admit it or not. The average US household wastes $8,000 a year.
We have a choice, we can keep running the rat race where we live with the tension of “if I just made a little bit more…” Studies have shown that most Americans say they would be happy if they made 10% more than what they currently make. The problem is, this continues no matter what your income…
What are the potential consequences of a life of discontentment and drive to simply make more? Increased stress, health issues, time away from kids, depression, cynicism, greed, diminished character choices, and simply missing life as it happens before our eyes.
How do we dump this ridiculous cycle?
- Shift your focus. Turn your eyes from those who have more than you to those who are much less fortunate. Meditate on what you DO have, your health, the food you have, the access to health care, clean water, and most importantly, the people in your life.
- Shift your thinking. What we think affects the way we feel, what we feel affects the way we act. Stop thinking that you “don’t have” or that “you’re not rich”- Think, “I’m blessed, I’m wealthier than over 70% of the world, I don’t need more…”
- Tune out the bombardment and pressure of keeping up, the ads you see, the people that pull you into “stuff” thinking. Quit being a sucker to the messages you hear on a daily basis. They are lies.
- Give and serve to those in need in an sector you are passionate about. You may only have $16 left at the end of a month, but invest in something you really care about. (Helping young kids learning how to read, homeless, food pantries, high school kids, your local church). But more than simply writing a check, dive in- be all in to something to make another life better and to help someone else feel loved. Giving and serving breaks the spell of “more”, the lies of “discontent”, and our whining.
Is money evil? No. Is hard work and wanting to build a great business bad? Of course not. The question to ask is Why? Why are you doing it?
A dollar applied to yourself is only a dollar. A dollar applied to others can have returns of twenty, fifty, and a hundred fold in your life. Which will you choose?
New International Version (NIV)
12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.