We often define wealth by the abundance of money in our financial portfolios. Yet, at the end of our days, we might say we are rich by the life we have lived or the contributions we have made instead. In Japanese, to be rich means you are able to play the last card in your hand. That is quite a different way to define wealth. How do you define what it means to be rich? How do you become rich


Friends & Family

When my great grandfather, Pop, as everyone called him, died at 91, there were an abundance of  people at his funeral and the reception that followed. Most of the attendees talked about how Pop had done things for them that were life-changing. He had been there to listen when they needed an ear. He was there to offer words of encouragement.

 As a young man witnessing this scene, I thought Pop was truly rich. He had friends that considered him family, and his reach was wide and deep. Creating ripples of success in the lives of others will make you wealthy — like Pop.


Since she was a little girl, Mary wanted to be a teacher. While a teacher’s salary are not high, she felt called to guide future generations of young people.

Her first teaching job was at a school in the inner-city where most of the families lived below the poverty line and the high school graduation rate was under 50%. While most of her fellow graduates thought Mary had drawn a bad first opportunity, she felt the opposite. She considered herself blessed to get such an offer.

Mary taught middle school math. Beyond the textbook, she looked for real-life applications of the concepts presented in the curriculum. That allowed her to enrich the lives of her students. As she did so, she saw attendance increase in her class from 50 to 60 and then 75 percent.

As word spread about the fun it was to learn with Mary, her average daily attendance rose to 95%! That was unprecedented in her school.

Talking to other faculty in the school, she noticed that attendance in their classes was also on the rise. And so were the grades; even though those other teachers had made no substantial adjustments to the lesson plans they had been using year in and year out since they started working a long time ago.

Mary was making an exponential difference in the lives of the student in her school. She was transforming the lives of those young learners who were once considered hapless loosers.

Not only did Mary love her job and feel blessed by the assignment she had been given and her ability to contribute to the community, but the school district also saw a surprising result five years after Mary started her career.

Graduation rates improved. There may have been other factors that contributed to this, but Mary was an invaluable influence. What’s more, students who had taken Mary’s math classes were more likely to attend university and hold meaningful jobs. Despite her salary not increasing dramatically over the years, Mary had become rich by contributing to society. If you want to live a better life, create a better world around you.

Take Action

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie Braveheart. In a defining scene, as the Scottish militia was facing insurmountable odds and with many of them ready to retreat and go home to a life in which the English enemy armies could upturn their homes, families and clans at any time, William Wallace, the main character, makes this statement to motivate the troops, “Everybody dies, but not everyone truly lives.”

Taking action will allow you to live a more fulfilled life than just going about the same lackluster routine day-in and day-out.

  • Work your bucket list.
  • Experience joy every day.
  • Challenge the big things that seem unattainable.

All these actions will make you better tomorrow than you are today. We should continue to do until we can’t. That’s an important point, so let me repeat it: We should continue until we can’t

I feel a huge sense of satisfaction as I lay down to sleep at night if I have no more energy, completely spent from the day’s activities. How about you, what gives you a sense of satisfaction that you have won the day?


Have you been to many countries or experienced any variety of different cultures? According to 2019 US Census Bureau stats, 37% of Americans have never moved out of their home state. That is sad.

Venturing out to other parts of your country and the world is a luxury few experienced before cars were mass-produced just over 100 years ago. Now it is easy.

Getting a chance to travel abroad is a rich experience we should not take for granted. Visiting distant places provides you an opportunity to see how others live, broadening your perspective.

Visiting new places can be life-changing. Seeing things in a new light provides novel context to your own life, and be a catalyst for disruptive changes that transform you for the better.

My trip to Okinawa, Japan earlier this year had just such an impact. Okinawa has a rich culture that fuses the best of its surrounding neighbors (Japan, Taiwan, and China). This acceptance of other ways of life was already part of who I am, but the slower and more reflective lifestyle of the islands made me think more seriously about the idea that to be successful we need both action and reflection. Times to move fast and times to move slow.

Seeing this in action through some of the locals helped me to understand the value of reflection as part of work’s process.

Often I am reminded of the need to move slowly and reflect. That is not easy in today’s fast-paced societies. If I can consistently add this time for refelection, I really will be rich regardless of the outcome of my actions. You can do that too.


While some people will sacrifice everything else in there lives in a quest to build financial wealth, there are many other ways to have an abundant life.

Building nurturing relationships, seizing opportunities for continual growth, and taking the challenge of immersing yourself in novel experiences will all have you feeling richer with each passing day.


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