What does being rich or living a rich life mean to you? Make 2024 the year in which you find out and move closer to that dream.
Being rich means different things to different people. For me it could mean going to bed with a full stomach every night, while for you it could mean eating sushi and drinking imported whisky every day. Or for me it could mean having R1 million in the bank and for you it could mean flying to Durban to see your family instead of catching a bus.
The thing is that different things make different people feel rich or wealthy. Our biggest money job is to understand what that is for us. When you know, for instance, that a delicious meal with close friends makes you feel wealthy but that designer shoes do not, then you know on what to spend your money. Your rich life is yours. Not your parents’, not your friends’, not the blogger you follow. It is yours and only yours.
Of course you need money for a rich life, but having money is not the same as living a rich life. As long as you don’t know what a rich life is for you, you will never have enough money to feel rich.
In 2008, the UK government asked an independent organisation, called the New Economics
Foundation (nef) to develop a list of things people can do to improve their personal wellbeing. This was an interesting brief, given that the nef looks at ways to inspire economic wellbeing.
The nef looked at vast amounts of research and came up with five things people can do that will make their lives feel richer and more meaningful. The great thing about this list is that you don’t need anyone’s permission or help to do any of it – it’s all up to you.
With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day. Feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need. When it is met, we function well in the world.
- BE ACTIVE
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Being active has an impact on our bodies and our minds. Studies have shown, for example, that physical activity helps us feel better because it makes us feel more in control and able to cope with life. The feel-good hormones that are released, take our minds off negative thoughts.
- TAKE NOTICE
Noticing and being more aware of the world around you, helps you to understand yourself better and to make choices (including money choices) that tie in with your own values and internal motivations. A good way to help you become more aware, is to make a short list at the end of every day of specific things you noticed. For example, what made you happy today; what did you see or hear that was beautiful; what did you eat that was tasty; what did you experience for the first time? Awareness also helps us to realise what we already have, instead of always thinking about what we don’t have.
- KEEP LEARNING
We all accept that children have to learn, but did you know that when adults keep on learning their self-esteem improves, they have more social interaction and they lead more active lives? There is also evidence that educational activities help to lift older people out of depression. The great thing is that you don’t have to go to university to learn. You can ask a relative or neighbour to teach you to bake or to do woodwork. Simply reading up on a topic you are interested in is also learning. Learning new things will make you more confident, and it is a whole lot of fun.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you. It also creates connections in your brain and stimulates your internal reward system.