As a child everyone had things that wanted to be–some children wanted to be firefighters or police men, the ambitious ones wanted to be doctors or lawyers, so what did I want to be? A millionaire. Yes, as a child I dreamed of living in a mansion, having “staff”, and while I had no clue how to get there I knew that was what I wanted to achieve.
Why did I want to have so much money? Well part of it was influenced by Duck Tales (the cartoon)–I thought it was cool how Uncle Scrooge would dive into his gold coins and swim around (I am sure this would actually hurt a whole lot if you tried to do it in real life). The other main reason was that I grew up very poor and my single mother instilled in me that money would solve all the world’s problems (well at least our family’s). She would say that being “rich” was the key to life and happiness.
Of course as I have grown up my ambitions have changed and despite my mother’s best intentions I have developed my own value system. And just the other day I was thinking about how happy I am and how full my life has become. I wake up everyday and feel so lucky for all of the wonderful things I have in my life, and in that way I really am “rich” (however that wasn’t always the case).
Being rich is a state of mind, or a state of being, and you don’t need lots of money to get there. So how do you get there? Well, speaking from experience here are my best tips:
- Decide what being rich really means to you. This is the first step and for everyone it is different. I have friend who would be truly happy if she could buy designer clothing every season, and walk down the street in Louboutin shoes and a Balenciaga bag. I have another friend that just wants to have children and have the time to raise them. For me it is more about having fulfilling relationships, in particular one very fulfilling partnership (and this took me a while to realize since I used to really like expensive dinners out on the town, and now I would much prefer take out at home). Regardless of your dream, the first step is to really understand what *it* is that you are reaching towards.
- Take inventory of your situation. Look around you and make a list. What is going well, what is going poorly. Just like managing your finances, the first step is to take control of what you spend. Figure out what is missing from your current situation. For example, if you want to have children but are still single, you might be missing a partner (they aren’t necessary per se, but take it as an example). For me, I had lots of wonderful friends and I was happy with my career, but I was missing that special someone. Make a list of these things since they are the stepping stones to #1.
- Figure out what you can do to move in the right direction. Once you know what your missing and where you want to go the next step involves figuring out the necessary steps to get there. For me, this meant two things: being open to meeting new people, and continuing to improve who I was so when I met someone I had something great to offer. Of course if you goal is more designer clothes, then you may just need to skip your morning lattes, or perhaps start brown bagging your lunches. Either way come up with a plan. Write it down (when I put things on paper it just makes it that much more real), and put your plan somewhere you will see it everyday (my favorite place to tape up goals, plans and inspirational statements is my bathroom mirror–I am forced to look at them every morning as I get ready–essentially reinforcing whatever I am trying to do at that moment).
The most important thing, as with any self improvement project, is to actually take the time to be introspective and really think about these things. I like taking inventory on my life on a regular basis and am constantly redefining these things for myself.
In fact, maybe in a few years my goal to have a vault filled with gold deep enough to swim may just appear back on my own list.