By Samantha McKenzie
The measure of a man shouldn’t be counted by the money he has accumulated nor by the trinkets he’s collected along the way. His true wealth is in discovering his calling and then working to utilize his gift to benefit himself and others.
All too often we allow our bank account and property value to seduce us into thinking that we have arrived. We think that our credit score or the spending limit on our credit card is what makes us worth something. Some of us know people who have car notes the size of a mortgage payment and spend money frivolously, only so they can keep up with an image of success. We learn early on that being wealthy or rich means having a lot of money, a big house or a fancy car. To get richer, we learn to diversify our portfolio, invest in real estate and hire a good accountant to help us maneuver through the tax loopholes.
This external accumulation of wealth is good, but it shouldn’t define us. Your true wealth comes from within.
Yet still, we allow labels to set the course of who we are. We know more designer names – Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Donna Karan, Tom Ford – than we know the names of great philosophers like the late Frantz Fanon or international activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai. Take a moment and think about the people who you consider successful. Which one of your family members do you brag about the most?
I have a girlfriend who came from very humble beginnings. She and her family lived in a tiny house on a farm with no running water. Later on, she moved out, got married, had five children and became a stay at home mom. She volunteered in the community and was genuinely a great person to be around.
During our friendship, we stumbled upon the fact that she had a knack for caring for sick people. Anytime someone close within the community was having a baby, had fallen ill, or was even on their death bed, she was the person who would be there to help. I mean I would show up too, as a show of support, but I couldn’t bear watching someone else in pain. My girlfriend on the other hand, would pull up a hospital chair, find ways to ease their pain, and spend time consoling the family. She did it without blinking and she did it with ease.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise when she told us at 40-something that she wanted to go back to college to finally earn a degree and that she wanted to work in the healthcare industry. Six years later, degree in hand, she began working with the elderly and Alzheimer’s patients. She was living out her purpose. Just recently, she got hired by another company to build their new dementia program. She will be continuing on to earn a master’s degree in public health education, she said.
This was her calling. This is her wealth.
What’s your real wealth?
Find what you are naturally good at. It won’t be too hard, people have been telling you this your entire life. Begin by investing a small amount of your time building on your new personal wealth and living out your calling.