Wealth – Some Lessons

Strange are the ways of the world where the same thing has different, sometimes diametrically opposite meanings for different individuals. Wealth happens to be one of those pleasurable, proud, confusing, or humble symbols in our present-day society. For sure, we all want to be wealthy; we employ all possible means to acquire wealth. Alas, some succeed where many others fail.

When I try to solve the maze surrounding wealth, various authors’ wisdom guides me at different turns. One of these gifted personalities is Margaret W. Bonnano, the American science fiction writer, with seven Star Trek novels to her credit. She looks at wealth in an extraordinary, society-friendly way: “Being rich is having money; being wealthy is having time.” This statement raises more questions than possible answers. How do we make a happy, contented living on time alone? We need money to survive, so how do we exchange the time at our disposal for worldly riches? Yes, making use of our time for productive chores, whether for ourselves or someone else, happens to be a viable solution, no doubt. But, can everyone be in the same league as the wealthy, by merely using this avenue? Not a chance!

Going a step further, we can identify the fine line between wealth and riches. To accomplish this task in a timely fashion, we must first visualize the focal point of being wealthy.

Is it just financial independence, or a life of luxuries? Does being wealthy mean unlimited affordability?

A beautiful mansion, a fleet of luxury cars, an imposingly huge yacht, significant investments, overseas travel, credit cards with no spending limit, and so many other things can be considered suitable symbols of wealth. But, for all practical purposes, not one of these items compares with the advantage wielded by ‘wisdom.’

A library of wisdom is more precious than all wealth, and all desirable things stand no comparison. Whoever, therefore, claims to be zealous of truth, of happiness, of wisdom or knowledge, must become a lover of books.

–Author Unknown

Believe it or not, even the poorest of the poor can easily stake their claim to wealth, within their own right, though. John Wooden, a.k.a. Coach Wooden was of the opinion: “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” How could this be true, you may ask. Well, multiple real-life answers can be found all around us, wherever physical labor is called for. The wealthy individual will find it beyond his or her dignity to perform the task, never mind the consequence whereas the poor will jump at the opportunity to make an extra buck. The same job poses a hurdle for the rich but offers an opportunity for the poor. In other words, the so-called wealth sets limits on its owners’ competence. In contrast, the poor gets to display his/her wealth of physical ability or endurance to withstand the challenge and come out a winner.

An ancient Greek philosopher, born in the 4th-century B.C., by the name of Diogenes, shared some remarkable words of wisdom that stand true even today. “A man once asked Diogenes what the proper time for supper was, and he made answer, ‘If you are a rich man, whenever you please, and if you are a poor man, whenever you can.” Here, we do see the vast chasm between the rich and the poor. No doubt, affordability rules the roost. But, can we apply the same yardstick to every imaginable activity involving the two opposite sides? I beg to differ, and rightly so. Here is my explanation: Monetary wealth has limitations, untold, and unforeseen limitations. All non-believers, please take note of the current stock-market meltdown: How fast the Trillion-Dollar corporations have seen their value reduced to Billions. So many Billionaires have seen their wealth eroding beyond their dreams. Alas, their only escape remains heavy does of stress-relieving pills prescribed by some of the topmost physicians.

Given the above scenario, how many poor would you imagine undergoing the same level of stress; none I believe. Why is that so? Here is a hint in the words of Oscar Wilde, the 19th-century playwright from Ireland: “Beautiful things like beautiful sins belong to the rich.” A word of caution here, though; it is neither my intent nor a suggestion that only the rich are sinners. These can be found even without a search since they hide, survive, and also thrive in every society. What makes me say that? Well, there is an adage I came across a few years ago. It goes like this: “A thief passes for a gentleman when stealing has made him rich.” – Author Unknown

Please allow me to use an analogy about the value of wealth in terms of its longevity. How many wealthy individuals does history remember as compared to the wise? It is not the financial prowess of an individual but his/her capabilities beyond money that make him or her a legend. The majority of heroes in any specific field owe their success to humble upbringing, and not obscene wealth. It was their mental prowess, more than anything else, that brought them to the cusp of glory. No wonder, these names have survived over so many centuries and shall continue to make a mark for those to come.

A tune is more lasting than the song of the birds, And a word more lasting than the wealth of the world.

–Irish Proverb

Benjamin Franklin, the multi-faceted statesman, instrumental in drafting the Declaration of Independence as well as the American Constitution, took a particular interest in distinguishing between the rich and the poor. Here is one of his pointed observations: “Don’t judge men’s wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance.” Any sane individual can ascertain the truthfulness of this statement, especially when it comes from a man of such high integrity. Little wonder, they say appearance can, at times, deceive! Would you go far enough to apply the same principle to a run-of-the-mill individual with equal fervor? I doubt it.

You be the judge and take it from there.

Thank You!


Bharat Mathur
Bharat Mathur
WHERE goal setting and systematically achieving each one of them has been the ‘Mantra’, where earning trust by delivering value has been an uncompromising principle and where deeply impactful experiences have made an indelible impression to look directly into the eyes of toughest problems and tackling them head-on has been a major cementing glue in the foundation, Bharat Mathur fits the bill, hands down! Creating value for others, out of the challenges his career in the “C” Suite kept throwing at him left, right and center, Bharat now finds solace in being a ‘Guide by Your Side’ rather than a ‘Sage on the Stage with An Eye on What You Buy’! Past 4 decades of Bharat’s life have been no less eventful than that of anyone else in similar circumstances. However, the way he lived from one challenge to another and stayed focused on his goal is clearly visible as much in his Coaching as in his #1 Best Seller Book: “you Are YOU-nique: Realize Your True Worth”! His next book project tackles ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) from the viewpoint of a layman and helps understand this fast-approaching revolution in simple, easy-to-understand language with live examples: “SMART PHONE + I o T = INCOMPARABLE OPPORTUNITIES” Nurturing a number of successful businesses, mentoring a lot more towards astronomical growth and helping them identify and eradicate trouble spots, Bharat has rightfully earned the nickname: ‘Achiever’ Send him Bouquets or Brickbats, Bharat loves it all!

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  1. Bharat – Being wealthy verses being rich. If we define wealth by the accumulation of material things, I will never be a wealthy man. But if being rich is defined by the intangible, I am rich in love, I am rich in friends, I am rich in faith – I am a very rich man. Great article that should force the reader to evaluate what is really important in this life.

    • You said it so well, Len Sir; I appreciate every word. It is not for nothing I find immense value in our friendship. Whether you like it or not, I enjoy a distinct advantage over you because I gain evermore from your varied experiences. Please keep enriching me, always.

      Thanks, with Warm Regards!

    • Bharat – I hope you understand that our friendship is one where we both grow and learn from each other. My respect and admiration of your wisdom and talents could not be higher. I value our friendship more than you know. Thank you for your kind words.

    • I am truly flattered by your kind observation, Dear Johnny. Getting such a nice review from a person of your caliber can never be a mean achievement, especially for someone with my limited bank of knowledge.

      Thanks a Million, my Dear Friend!

  2. WOW! So much food for thought from a man who possesses a wealth of knowledge on numerous subjects. Wealth is in my own opinion is having a loving and healthy family, food to eat and a place to live. G-d gives different things to different people for different reasons. It is not for me to question why. I must compliment you on the masterful manner you put this article together. Since reading your article I have pondered on this subject.

    • While I truly appreciate your valuable interaction, Dear Joel Sir, my real gift from you would be an unhampered continuation of your writing. As I have dared say before, you are an immense source of inspiration behind my writing. So, with folded hands, I beg of you to please reverse your decision and fire up your creative engines with renewed zeal. Who knows how many more lives you will enrich, with minor (personal) discomfort?

      Awaiting your affirmative decision,

    • Bharat, I owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your care and concern. The world would be a far better place if more people act as you do. My decision to top writing was based on several different factors. The biggest reason was to commit my time and energy almost exclusively to Independent Executive Recruiting By Joel which I had walked away from years ago. I work well past midnight for almost the whole week. You know better than most what it takes to build and run a successful business. At present, my heart is not in writing. Further from that, I am not sure I can write anymore. The creative process left me back in January right after I wrote my “goodbye” article. Despite the stress and frustration, I am enjoying what I am doing. Prior to writing, I worked in the insurance business, the mortgage business. and Merchant Cash Advance. I fell in love with putting “deals” together. My experience at BC360 was a dream I never wanted to wake-up from. I never imagined meeting so many terrific people. I promise that if an article should “pop” into my head as they used to I will put serious consideration to writing it. Thank you so much, Bharat!