True Wealth Is Not About Money



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When I first started freelancing in 2014, my only focus was making money.

I had quit my job and had a small family to support. Making money was all I thought about.

I read business books, searched for ways to generate income, and believed that having lots of money would make me wealthy.

Over time, as I managed to increase my income and money became less of a stress, I started to realise I wasn’t truly wealthy at all.

Yes, money was less of a problem, but I was working all the time and not happy. I was neglecting the things that mattered most to me in life, like my physical and mental health, relationships and autonomy.

So, What Is True Wealth?

I've thought about this question a lot over the last few years, and this is my answer.

True wealth isn’t about having loads of money.

It’s about finding the optimal balance of these 5 key areas:

1. Health

Without health, you have nothing. If you’re sick or in pain, all you can think about is getting better. You'd give everything to feel good and be able to live life fully.

In my early freelancing days, I wasn’t healthy. I lived on meal deals, spent hours sat in front of my computer and stopped exercising. And I felt shit about it.

But one day, I heard Naval Ravikant say he'd decided to make health his number one priority above all else, even his family. Because without health, what use could he be?

I gave myself permission to adopt that mindset, and that's how I live. My health comes before everything.

Health is the first pillar of true wealth.

2. Free Time

Having control over your schedule is crucial.

If you don’t have free time, you can’t enjoy a full life.

When you're always working or on the road, you can’t spend time with your family, take care of your health or pursue hobbies.

As Alan Weiss says, "Wealth is discretionary time."

Free time is the second pillar of true wealth.

3. Sufficient Income

True wealth isn’t about accumulating loads of money for the sake of it. It's about having enough income to live the life you want - whether that's £25k/year or £1million/year.

It’s about knowing how much you need to take care of yourself and your family, protect your future and do all the things you want to do.

Chasing money beyond that is a futile pursuit, as many financially rich people realise, often when it's too late.

As Seneca said, "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”

Sufficient income is the third pillar of true wealth.

4. Clear Mind

Mental health is as important as physical health.

You can have enough money, plenty of free time, and a healthy body, but if your mind is troubled or depressed, your life will be miserable.

It took me a long time to realise I could work on creating a clearer mind.

The negative voices that automatically triggered in my head, based on all my past conditioning, could be challenged.

One way to do this is through meditation.

Many people think meditation is about zoning out whilst listening to some app.

In my view, it's not. It's about observing your mind.

Once you sit quietly and observe, you realise how out of control your mind is. You start to become aware of thoughts and patterns that aren't serving you. Only then can you free your mind - as your thoughts lose their power.

Over time, observing your mind becomes second nature, and your internal state becomes quiet and calm.

A clear, peaceful mind is the fourth pillar of true wealth.

5. Good Relationships

Life is relationship. To both the physical world and others.

Having healthy, supportive relationships with people and nature brings joy and fulfilment to life.

In Covid, I was thrust into looking after my 2 year old daughter full time. I was out of my depth and miserable - constantly thinking of all the other things I wanted to be doing.

I had so much inner conflict. Things had to change.

I started to focus on my relationship with my daughter and see the beauty and opportunity in it.

My relationships with my children have flourished ever since, and they add so much joy and purpose to my life.

Good relationships are the fifth pillar of true wealth.

This Man Is Wealthy 👇

On a recent holiday in Corfu, a local guide took me on a hike around the island.

He was the happiest man I've ever met, and he had the perfect balance of the elements above.

Health: He hikes, cycles and runs regularly in the mountains of Corfu. His diet is balanced and natural. And he has never had more than a mild cold in 58 years on earth.

Free Time: He works half days in the summer months, and spends his winters riding his motorbike through Europe and going skiing. Every day, he wanders down to the market to buy fresh fish, and cooks an evening meal with home grown vegetables and olive oil. He's never rushed.

Sufficient Income: He's built a small business around his passions of hiking, cycling and cooking. Throughout the summer, he does hiking trips, bike tours and home-cooking classes with tourists. A summer of work provides sufficient income to live comfortably and do the things he wants to do.

Clear Mind: We spoke about stoicism and the Greek philosophers, which he was surprised to hear a British bloke bring up. He has lived his life only concerning himself with what he can control - his thoughts and actions. His low stress and healthy lifestyle also helps him have a clear mind.

Good Relationships: He spoke about his respect and love for his wife, and fondness of his sons. He also gets to meet interesting people through his business, and talked passionately about the sense of community on the island. From supporting local producers to volunteering for the mountain rescue service.

I left our hike thinking, "Wow, he is truly wealthy."

What About Serving Others?

Some would say true wealth is about serving other people. And contribution is not in my list.

My view on this is if you want to make the world a better place, focus on being the best version of yourself first.

Your actions have far more impact than you realise.

Focussing on those five key areas will allow you to make a worthy contribution to the people and world around you.

Assessing Your True Wealth

Take a moment to reflect on these pillars. Are you truly wealthy? How can you improve the balance in your life to achieve true wealth?

I love talking about this stuff, hit reply if you would like to discuss any of these themes further.

A Small Ask

I hope you enjoyed this letter. If you found it useful, please can you forward this email to one friend who might enjoy it too? They can sign up here if they see the value.

See you again next week.



Stories & insights on building a fulfilling business & life

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