Beyond the Bank: Embracing Diverse Forms of Wealth for a Life Rich in Health, Knowledge, and Happiness

When someone says the word wealth, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Is it simply the dollars in your bank account and the possessions you own, or something else? 

What if I told you financial wealth is just scratching the surface? As humans we also depend on health, social, time, intellectual, and existential wealth for our well-being.

Do you sacrifice health, autonomy and purpose in exchange for a pay check or are you harboring insidious habits that have long-term cost?

Often in society, we emphasize financial wealth over these other forms of wealth that are more important. I see financial wealth as the least important type of wealth that exists. There are countless examples of miserable people throughout history who had more money than they could ever spend. This is because happiness is not a product of consumption...

The ultimate goal in life is simply to be happy. So, I prioritize these often forgotten forms of wealth before financial wealth. 

We frequently trade financial wealth for incremental improvements with our health or for freedom with time. For the most part, though, these other forms of wealth need to be earned and can't be purchased.

You want to be balanced with your sources of wealth coming from all forms. It's all interconnected, so if you're poor in one area, it will impact the others. There's really no way to live fully without having some foundation in each form of wealth.

Other forms of Wealth

  • Health Wealth: This includes physical, mental, and emotional health. Being in good health means fewer medical expenses, more energy to pursue interests, and a longer, more active life.

  • Social Wealth: The value of personal and professional relationships, networks, and connections. Social wealth is about having supportive friends, family, and colleagues. Your social network should contribute to your happiness and success.

  • Intellectual Wealth: Knowledge, skills, and educational achievements. Continuous learning can lead to better opportunities and a deeper understanding of the world.

  • Existential Wealth: A sense of purpose, alignment with personal values. A connection to something greater than oneself. This can include religious faith or meditation practices. It could also simply be a personal philosophy that guides life choices.

  • Time Wealth: Having control over one's time and the freedom to use it according to one's priorities and desires. Time wealth allows for leisure, hobbies, family time, and personal growth.

How I achieve a balanced wealth in all areas:

  • Health: I put health first because without health nothing can come next... I exercise daily, eat healthy, prioritize sleep, limit my time on social media, meditate, and more.

  • Social: I prioritize effective communication with friends, family, and work acquaintances. Approach conversations by being interested in others. Practice saying no to avoid overextending myself and avoid people that drain my energy.

  • Intellectual: In our society, education is emphasized while we're in school, though there is very little emphasis on the importance of self-directed learning, so unfortunately, many see learning as a chore. Once you discover your inner curiosity, learning becomes a joy though. I'm always learning and try my best to forget what a comfort zone is. I read a bit every day and I'm currently learning Spanish. I'm also constantly learning in my job as an entrepreneur. For this I'm often thrown into new experiences and have to problem-solve solutions on the fly.
  • Existential: One of the most important things in life is to have a WHY that is bigger than you. Without purpose, humans default to instant gratification. The stronger your core purpose is, the less tempting instant gratification becomes. I've adopted a strong purpose that is my compass for every decision in life. My core purpose is to be the best version of me. This drives me to always be learning, optimize my health, live sustainably for the generations that come after me, and be kind. It also pushes me to make the best of the worst, spend time with those I love, and not to waste a moment.
  • Time: Don't be a slave to your own habits. Your habits are how you spend your time, so to build time wealth, you should choose healthy habits. I avoid behaviors that have a high opportunity cost and provide no value. This ensures that my time is spent on activities that add to my life rather than take away. As a solopreneur who builds bootstrapped (self-funded) businesses, I live life on my own terms. My typical workday is not 9-5. I've designed my day to mesh with my self-care needs. I often work on the weekends, while those with regular jobs are off, and instead spend my free time during the week. I seize opportunities more freely living this way. You don't need to be an entrepreneur to build time wealth, though. You can simply select a profession that offers autonomy and flexibility.
It's important to weigh each form of wealth when making decisions, to maintain a balanced life. If you optimize too far in any direction, you will feel the pain in the neglected areas of your life that are now underdeveloped. This balancing act isn't always easy, though nothing in life worthwhile is. Cheers to a balanced, well-lived life!

Author:  Nolan Makatche 

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