HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE WORD RICHES?
The answer you give is exactly what this book will mean to you.
When the word riches is used from here on, it will mean riches according to your interpretation.
Some of you will visualize riches as an unlimited supply of money; a regal estate; a yacht; an airplane, etc.
And if this is your objective – fine.
Build upon it in your imagination and, as you continue reading this book, you’ll find it will be well within the realm of possibility to make your dream a reality.
Perhaps you interpret riches as meaning leadership: leadership in politics, in industry, in commerce, etc.
Should your desires fall in this category, the contents of this book will put you on the right track to fulfillment.
You might think that wishing for both material riches and riches in personal power is expecting too much.
But it is not.
In fact you can hardly have one without the other.
But beware! To wish for both – or even one – would get you nowhere.
Be careful of that word wish! It can do you more harm than good as you’ll later learn.
I once heard a definition of riches which may apply to some of you.
Edel and I were visiting the cozy bungalow of a day laborer and his family.
The house was small, but very tastefully furnished.
It contained most of the modern conveniences.
The small yard showed evidence of a green thumb.
The mortgage on the house had been fully paid off.
The husband had an income on which the family could live comfortably, and he was assured a pension when his day of retirement arrived.
The total physical assets of this family would not exceed $12,000.
“I consider ourselves to be the richest family in town,” she said with great pride.
“We have no financial worries” she continued, “and perfect harmony reigns throughout our house.”
If you have not attained this level of riches, you can think of it as your first plateau and use the power you will gain from this book to lift you up to it.
Upon reaching this standard you can raise your sights once more and continue your climb to higher and higher realms.
There are those on this earth who possess practically nothing of a material nature, but who consider themselves rich, because of their happy minds and healthy bodies.
I do not believe any one of us should aspire to be a Croesus, because material riches can engender unhappiness as easily as they can raise one to the heights of ecstasy.
At this point I am going to ask you a very pertinent question: “What is the greatest good one may expect from riches?”
To have money in the bank; to own a palatial home; to be able to entertain lavishly; to be able to travel anywhere anytime – in first-class manner – and to have a wardrobe which would be the envy of all, are a few of the things you might consider as being the advantages of riches.
Think of these things and anything else which might be associated with money and you will still be wrong as far as an intelligent answer to the question is concerned.
The real reason for wanting riches is to be happy.
This is the end result of all accomplishment.
Although one thinks his goal is riches, in reality he is seeking the soul- satisfying happiness which comes with achievement; the riches are his reward for attaining his objective.
At this point, let me cite a few illustrations which will make my point clear: A New England capitalist had a unique way of spending his surplus money.
He owned a large, fully stocked farm.
Each summer a large number of underprivileged children was invited to spend a few weeks at this farm.
The kiddies were given the best of everything: fresh, pure dairy products; the best meats of all kinds; delicious fruits and vegetables, etc.
The boys and girls were under the supervision of affectionate, capable attendants.
This philanthropist could not possibly be happier using his money in any other way.
He would retire at night with a smile as he thought of the joy he was giving to children who were not used to it.
And then there is a generous financier in New York who gains his happiness in quite a different way.
He knows the value of home ownership and enjoys seeing young people own their homes free and clear of all encumbrances.
He is constantly on the lookout for deserving young couples.
When he finds one, he has his assistant make an investigation to learn the extent of the mortgage and who holds it.
This big-hearted man arranges to have the mortgage paid off – anonymously – and a clear deed sent to the worthy two.
It is not hard to imagine the peace of mind this open-handed individual is gaining from life.
Permit me to give you an illustration from the other side of the fence: the story of a couple whose lives have been made unhappy through the acquisition of riches.
As soon as they became rich, they had quite an extravagant home designed and built.
Their garage housed two of the most expensive automobiles.
The wife would not think of buying her gowns in any place except Paris.
The husband was most popular in the swankiest country club.
But was this couple happy? Not by a long shot.
On weekends they would entertain sumptuously and, of course, on Mondays they would find themselves with big heads and a “dark brown” taste in their mouths.
Through overabundant living, their digestion and general health suffered.
Through dissipation, their faces accentuated their ages and lacked the magnetism so easily acquired with proper living.
Were they happy? Their every expression revealed unbearable boredom.
The head of this family worked diligently – and, undoubtedly, intelligently – in his pursuit of happiness.
He gained his wealth, but because he didn’t understand just what true happiness was, he fell dismally short of his goal.
There is another definition of riches which should be considered and which, to my mind, is one of the most important of all.
“He lives a rich life” is often said about certain lucky people.
What is a rich life? It is one well rounded with many interesting and illuminating experiences.
Such a man’s day is separated into units of creative work, rest, recreation, and entertainment.
No one of these, alone, is enough to produce happiness.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a saying I have heard since childhood; and it is true, no matter how many of us fail to heed its advice.
But to spend all your time resting would actually become tiresome.
The purpose of the rest would be defeated.
If rest and relaxation are indulged in between periods of work, they will both be thoroughly enjoyed, and you will also enjoy your work when you return to it.
Entertainment is the “dessert” one enjoys at the close of a satisfying day of work.
Just as “all work and no play” is not to be desired, continuous entertainment would fail to give perfect happiness.
During periods of recreation you should allow time for constructive reading, and you should expand your circle of friends and acquaintances by allowing time to converse with others.
You can now see that a rich life is a blending of all the desirable elements of life.