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The Secret Key to Happiness

Category : Personal Development, Personal Finance, Retirement

Wealth is nothing more or less than a tool to do things with. It is like the fuel that runs the furnace or the belt that runs the wheel — only a means to an end.  – Henry Ford

All human beings are living for only one selfish purpose — eternal happiness! Think about it. If you are financially conscious, your tangible goal is to build wealth, but your intangible goal is to seek eternal happiness. If you are minimalist, your tangible goal is to live with less stuff, but your intangible goal is still to seek eternal happiness.

If everything we do is to have more inner happiness, why some of us pursue wealth at the cost of their happiness? I wondered about conscious wealth after a dinner with a friend last night.

A friend of mine invited me to attend dinner with him to help him consider a business opportunity. My experience left me think deeply about the meaning of wealth and its impact on our happiness.

The gentleman gave us illustrative and vivid journey of his progress by taking every opportunity to show off his wealth.

Him:  I’ve worked for a fortune company. I was making six figure income, but I was not happy. I saw this eCommerce business opportunity. It doesn’t cost much. I have lived my dream life for the last 10 years.

Me: Can you explain how the business works?

Him:  The great thing about this business is that you don’t need to know anything. All you have to do is to pay a small fee to join and our entire network of people will help you grow your business.

Me:  Interesting. Are you passionate about your business?

Him: Of course, I am. I am a millionaire. I retired at age 34 when most people don’t even own a home. I am making more money while I sleep than most people who work hard doing their day gig.

At that juncture, he played a you tube video on his iPad to show his million dollar home. The video was a virtual tour of his home. It was made to capitalize on the basic human instinct to live happy life. He was playing golf with friends and family members. He was relaxing with his wife. You get the picture.

Me:  I just looked at your brochure; and it states that most independent business owners make on average $118 per month. That won’t buy even a round of golf at a country club where you live.

Him:  That depends on how ambitious you are. You can live wealthy life if you create a network like mine. I am a double diamond.  The biggest myth is to live way below our means. Instead, I believe in increasing my income to live affluent life. My father was frugal with his money. Yet he never became millionaire by saving money. You can’t build wealth by saving. You have to earn more to become wealthy.

Me:  And you certainly are a living proof of a wealthy lifestyle. I am here with my dear friend to give my advice. I believe in conscious wealth. If I am selling a plan to someone who doesn’t know how it works or how much it costs, I am making money by sacrificing my inner happiness. I don’t know about you, but I value my happiness more than my wealth.

Needless to say that my friend was impressed with this presentation. He was visualizing a picture perfect lifestyle to retire and be on the golf course without worrying about making money.

Conscious wealth 

Money is essential to fulfill some of our goals — to retire; or to enjoy our hobbies. But anything we do in our lives is germane to our lasting happiness. You can only achieve lasting happiness by seeking conscious wealth.

Beware of the wealth trap

I’ve learned a great deal after this experience. I’ve learned that most of us lose money and our happiness by pursuing fake opportunities that are not aligned with our utmost goal to seek eternal happiness.  We tend to ignore our common-sense to become wealthy by falling into the trap of unconscious wealth.

Trap 1:  They display their wealth 

Wealthy don’t display their wealth. Only celebrities display their wealth because of their desire to seek glory and fame. Warren Buffett has never made a youtube video of his home to proclaim his wealth. If anyone lures you into a path of richness by displaying wealth, you are more likely to lose your wallet and peace of mind than to gain wealth.

Trap 2:  They brag about their income

I always look at anyone with a grain of salt if he or she shows audacity to brag about being in the top 1% and living lavish lifestyle without work. There are those who have achieved financial freedom at an early age due to success with their business ventures, but very few can achieve lasting financial freedom by living large without working.

Trap 3:  They claim no financial risk

It’s true that most multi level marketing programs need a small fee to join the network. Nonetheless, you have to invest your time and money over the time to buy their expensive products to have an iota of chance to make money. You also have to sell these high-priced items to those in your network who have no means to buy these expensive items.

80/20 Rule:

I realized that this gentleman displayed his wealth while ignoring to show the fact stated in the small letters at the bottom of the brochure: “Average monthly income of an independent business owner is $118.

Pareto principle states that while 80% people will invest their time and money to become wealthy, only 20% or less can build income stream to own a million dollar home and free time to play golf around the year.

You can become wealthy by following timeless principles of working hard, saving and living way below your means. Or you can fall into a mirage of wealth by abandoning those timeless principles only to find that true wealth is conscious wealth. Afterall, wealth is simply a journey to the peak of lasting happiness.

Readers:  Are you building conscious wealth for the lasting happiness? Have you been offered business opportunities like the one my friend was offered? Do you believe that wealth building requires more income to promote lavish lifestyle? Or you believe that wealth building requires timeless principle of living simply and pursuing your dream to the road of lasting happiness?

He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.  – Henry Beecher

(Photo courtesy: Donegal Cottage Holidays)

 

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Comments (16)

Many years ago a friend called me. He was very excited about an investment opportunity and he wanted my opinion.

we met over coffee and he proceeded to describe a chain letter. He was positively beaming when he finished.

“Well,” he said, “what do you think.”

“First,” I said, “what you described is not an investment, it is a scam.” And then I went on to explain what these things are and why they are, ahem, illegal.

He was furious. Not at them. At me. “You just don’t want to see me make money!”

I was stunned. “Not at all,” I said. “I’d be thrilled to see you make bushels and the next time we meet you can rub my nose in it.”

We never spoke of it again.

You, indeed, are a great friend. I hope that he realized that it was mistake to point finger at his friend for giving him a dose of reality.

you are kind to say so, but the truth is my approach was too harsh and didn’t help.

we never spoke of it again.

Shilpan,

Once again, a nice post for my Saturday morning read. I actually know people who have made (and still do) huge residual incomes from network marketing. They worked very hard to get to the point where they no longer had to.

The point is that, short of finding oil in your back yard, it always takes hard work at some point. You may not have to sustain the effort, but no matter the vehicle, wealth rarely comes on it’s own.

Many people could achieve success in suhc businesses, but the fact is that most people will not do what it really takes to get there, and it is not easy at first. Many people will neveer venture far enough outside their comfort zone.

For example, I am in the proces of changing mny business focus from mostly online affiliate marketing and selling products to consulting small business owners, and providing them marketing services such as web site design, SMS marketing services, content marketing, and SEO/local search optimization.

Success in such a business takes 30 – 60 cold calls each and every day. Call results must be tracked, and follow up calls made. The percentage of people willing to actually do all of that is very small. The fact is, people hate to make cold calls, and it takes practice for most people to achieve proficiency at them.

I have recently received calls from insurance companies, wanting me to be an independent insurance agent. Yes, there is the realistic possibility to make a signigficant long term residual income from doing that, and I know people that have done so. I, howevr am not likely to do what it takes to be success selling insurance.

My point is that while success can be found doing many different things, but it nearly always takes significant effort in the right direction. Few people apply the effortnecessary to achieve success, and of those that do, some of it is misplaced, so they never reach their goals.

Well said Steve. Persistence is the key. Most people lack focus and persistence as we are programmed to see quick results. However — in the network marketing business — they show you the glamour to entice you to sign up knowing that — most likely — you won’t make more than $118 per month.

I am not against the business model; rather, I didn’t like the way they presented this opportunity.

Sounds like some MLM scam. While not all of these are scams, from his presentation it does sound like he was more interested in bolstering his own wealth than helping those under him. If he had cared about the people beneath him, he would have taught them how to achieve what he had achieved and talked more about the product than bragging about his own lifestyle. I do agree that building more income helps wealth, but I think it should be combined with saving.

Absolutely. The notion that saving money can never make you rich is misleading. There are millions of people who have achieve financial freedom on a meager salary. He was promoting flashy lifestyle; and certainly, he was selling a plan to grow his business.

I think building wealth is definitely to achieve happiness – who doesn’t want that? More money = more time spent on things to enjoy. That, to me, definitely points toward my definition of a lavish lifestyle.

I agree with you Daisy. It’s how you build wealth that matters. I’m not sure that I wanted to make money off of those who are too naive.

There are no easy ways towards obtaining wealth.. If you have a big dream or idea, you are going to have to live in it and breathe it for every waking hour to drive it towards success.. Chain letters and networking schemes are ways to try to circumvent the hard work that is required, and they typically fall flat.

That said.. I don’t think you need wealth to be happy. You can be happy today with what you already have, while patiently working to improve your situation.

Agreed. Your inner happiness is far more valuable than making money at the expense of poor souls who are making you rich in the pyramid schemes. I can’t sleep in my million dollar home knowing that someone is struggling to pay for those expensive inspirational tapes and expensive products to sustain my lifestyle.

It’s funny… I rarely pull up blogs to read about money but yours called me this morning. I am one of those people who bought into a guru’s marketing story in real estate and ultimately lost every single thing I’d acquired. Shortly thereafter my husband got cancer and my Dad died leaving me to care for my elderly, blind Mom. When you hit bottom because you listen to the marketing ploys you talk about… you realize how important not buying into any sales pitch is. There is little in life that matters to me now except for the people.
Nice blog… and thank you for sharing it.

Thank you for visiting Cheryl. Most MLM businesses thrive on selling inspirations video tapes and books to their down-lines(kind of forcing them to buy). These tapes cost huge sum to those people who have not made much in the business. Most only make on average $118 per month. I would argue that they lose money when you consider time they have to invest along with money they spend of expensive products to maintain their viability to survive in the business.

when i was small, my uncle bought a mercedes benz. i absolutely refused to ride it. i hated the boastfulness. my uncle wasnt rich by any means, he probably had a few hundred thousand, so i felt it was silly for him to spend 55k on a stupid car.

when i got older, i realized for him, this was was his way of saying to the world i made it. i think to each their own. if living a lavish lifestyle is the inspiration to work hard, then so be it.

i want to give back, take care of family and friends. that is my why. sounds more noble, but there are no bad nor good reasons for inspiration. just so long as people get there whether by living mostly or by going after it through careful investing as i did.

Agreed, but this article is about the way you achieve wealth. If you can earn money by ignoring your consciousness, you are becoming wealthy by sacrificing your inner happiness.

[...] selling life insurance policies, variable annuities or simply pressuring you to sign up for some multilevel marketing schemes. Unless you learn the to say NO, you will keep losing the grip of the ball and eventually [...]

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