If I say “wealth” most people think of Bezos or a Lambo.
Wrong. Money is only one type of wealth.
It’s the one that distracts so many of us from the other types of wealth. And when you understand all forms of wealth you can experience life to the fullest. You can exit the status games and enter the real games.
1. Mental wealth
The currency of your mind is attention.
Mental wealth is the ability to decide where that attention gets spent. The highest form of achievement in this category is not being surgically attached to a phone all day.
I remember my former boss once told me on the way to a meeting that some of our Asian clients saw phones as a form of low pecking order. The way he explained it, if you put your phone on the table at a meeting, it was a sign you weren’t a powerful decision maker.
So whenever we met this group of clients we made sure to have our phones on silent and in another room.
When your attention is freely directed based on curiosity, mental clarity increases.
The dividend paid on that mental clarity is what Morgan Housel calls “mental liquidity.”
It’s where you’ve got the freedom to change your mind quickly without being stuck on one strategy or opinion
What determines mental wealth is mental health.
If you spend too much time around negative people, toxic social media posts, or working beyond healthy work hours, you lower your mental health.
Do mental reps.
The brain is like a muscle so it needs exercise. The acquisition of knowledge and the practice of reading are how you do the mental reps. Then when you write online it’s like using the practice reps to run a mental marathon.
Public speaking is another way to communicate that knowledge. With every speech your mental muscle gets sharper and the ideas and knowledge held in your brain become clearer.
Go deeper into the mind to get wealthier.
A wealthy mind doesn’t just finish a to-do list each day and complete a few wealth goals. A wealthy mind has the capacity to contemplate deeper questions.
Meditation is one way to formally go deep. Mindfulness is another — where you focus on the present moment through a simplistic activity like doing the dishes, having a warm shower, or going on a walk.
The final way to go deep into the mind is to practice spirituality (not religion). My friend Dan Koe teaches this the best. He turned the art of fitness into a spiritual practice. I suspect he learned this from the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”
A wealthy mind is crucial so you can overcome the inevitable human tragedies and the idea you’ll die one day when you’re not ready.
2. Social Wealth
A typical cubicle job takes a big chunk of your time each week.
The downside is you have to spend a lot of hours at that job working with people you may not be able to stand the sight of.
Social wealth is the ability to choose who you spend time with. It’s the gift to remove people from your day if you want to, because your food and shelter don’t depend on it.
The capitalist business machine teaches us to “network.”
The problem is we end up collecting acquaintances like pieces of trash on the street. Lots of breadth but zero depth.
Human bonds are formed when two people go deep. This can’t happen if there’s no time to focus on a handful of humans.
Social wealth requires a career where you get home at a reasonable hour and can choose who you work with.
To get this gift of social choice you either need to:
- Be in the top 10% of your industry
- Become a business owner
- Make money online
- Have F U money
3. Time wealth
A day full of back-to-back meetings makes me want to vomit.
That used to be my career. Sit in meetings. Listen to know-it-alls. Bite my tongue. Listen to people talk about business who’ve never owned a business or ever taken a risk in their gosh damn life.
A wise guy on Twitter once said wealth is measured on calendars, not bank accounts. If you have entries on your calendar that you didn’t put there and can’t refuse, are you truly free?
Time is the currency of life. We all have an unspecified amount.
If you’re young you’re a time billionaire. If you’re 80 years old you’re almost time bankrupt.
Once time is traded there is a no refund policy. You can’t relive certain moments. You can’t go back and watch your kids grow up again. This one hits home with my unborn daughter due to arrive in a few months.
Time is ruthless. Time is tragic.
Until you live as if time could run out today, you don’t truly live. You get stuck in the lie that you’ll have time in the future to do whatever it is you’re currently missing out on.
Try telling that lie to my direct report from my last job who died unexpectedly from cancer. Try telling that to my family member who just got diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disorder. Try telling that to my 2015 self that had a near-miss with cancer.
Time is felt differently when you come close to the edge of having none left.
Billions of people in graveyards don’t have it even if their retirement account has millions of dollars in it.
If you have time, you have the highest form of wealth.
4. Location wealth
Many of us now have this form of wealth. Coroni-rona from 2020 gave us the gift of work from home (without feeling guilty for it).
Growing up in the same place for your entire life is a nightmare. Familiarity breeds boredom. New locations help disrupt common thought patterns.
A friend of mine grew up in Australia. Life was great. Then he went to live with his girlfriend in Spain.
From the day he landed his life turned into chaos. He got forced to learn a new language. He had no idea how to get around the village he lived in. Google Maps didn’t help much either. The move did him some good.
He managed to escape the tragic passing of his wife and move on with his life.
Without the forced change in thought patterns, he may have still been stuck in Australia trying to figure out how to reincarnate her through woo-woo tribal prayers.
Work from anywhere is a form of wealth. Don’t let any employer force you to live in a high-priced suburb close to their skyscraper prison.
5. Physical wealth
An unhealthy body is a huge tax on your energy.
Trying to function through all the day-to-day BS is such a Herculean task. Too many people trade their tomorrows to feel two hours of joy today.
Maybe it’s a big meal full of enough animal fat to clog a drain pipe. Maybe it’s a few beers with the work crew that turns into drunken madness a few hours later. Or maybe it’s the daily sugar indulgence that slowly poisons your body.
You can’t experience the other forms of wealth if your energy levels are ruined from too many health taxes destroying your health wealth.
Instead, we have the opportunity to invest in our bodies through proper sleep, correct hydration, fruits and vegetables, gym, walking, stretching, etc.
We get one body. It makes no sense to trash it. If you do, health bankruptcy looks like a heart attack.
This one sits outside of the other five types of wealth.
Becoming financially wealthy doesn’t mean getting rich. The true definition of financial wealth is achieved when money doesn’t control you. It’s when financial status games no longer drive your decisions.
When all the headache of typical financial games disappears, you realize you don’t need as much money as you thought to be happy and enjoy the life experiences that matter.
With all of the nonsense out of the way, the money you do earn can then get used to buy back your time, so you can experience more of the other five types of wealth. This is the huge unlock worth becoming obsessed with.
Decision to make:
- Make lots of money
- Program yourself to need a lot less money
Each of the five forms of wealth offer you more choices. And the gift to choose is what true freedom is all about.
If you focus solely on financial wealth your life is bankrupt. When you build all forms of wealth you get more pleasure and less pain.