Examining the 4 Types of Wealth and Defining Enough.
"No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don't have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have." — Seneca
But my goodness do I want a Tesla.
That, though is exactly what Seneca is talking about.
Wealth means abundance. It, by definition, is about having more than enough.
Wealth removes worry.
So how can I learn to follow the words of Seneca? And how do I define enough?
As I figure out the balancing act of life, I've been hooked on James Clear's teachings in regards to wealth.
He presents Four Types of Wealth:
Financial wealth (money)
Social wealth (status)
Time wealth (freedom)
Physical wealth (health)
I'd proffer that at any point in life, prosperity is an abundance of your two most highly-valued wealth types. Here are mine.
My Current Wealth Values
We all want to prosper. Whether actively or passively, our actions and attention define our long- and short-term visions of wealth.
For me in this season of life as a twentysomething, my high-value wealth types are time and physical. Time because as a single male I have discretionary time that I can use to learn, create, and explore those things I value. Physical because I have the capability now to physically push myself and be active like I won't be able to do at any other point the rest of my life, due to lack of energy or waning health.
I want to seize those opportunities. Those are my two most-valued pursuits. According to my framework, with both high-value wealths accounted for, I'm prospering. I guess we’ll find out in a few years (or decades) if that framework holds true.
Financial wealth is not a top priority right now. I like subtle comfort, as I wrote, but I'd rather save now for more freedom years or decades down the line. Especially if that means stacking sats to save for the future of currency or investing back into myself through relevant online classes.
My logic is this: Right now I value mobility. The more things I personally own, the less mobile I am, and the less use I get from each one due to marginal utility. (At least this was my mentality when I decided to donate my shirts and cut the amount I own in half.)
I've never been one for prioritizing social status. I believe that will come with time and experience.
The Personal Nature of Wealth
My perspectives reveal a fundamental truth: wealth is extremely personal.
We can participate by setting our own level of satiety: defining what is enough for ourselves.
It is impossible to prosper in wealth and abundance if 'enough' is not defined.
Read that again.
What is the opposite of enough? More.
As I helped clear out my grandparents' house, I thought about a generation of young people not as interested in cabinets full of fine china and accumulating more. Look at a thrift store today and you'll find many people agree.
Our culture sends a message that links happiness to the pursuit of more. Sometimes obsessively. (Because why else would we have 2-day shipping?)
But my point is this: prosperity does not require abundance. Prosperity requires satisfying your self-prescribed level of enough.
"If you can’t find a way to be satisfied with enough, you may never be satisfied with anything," writes Carl Richards of the New York Times.
The idea of more, then, is a desire, not a need.
Instead of focusing on the pursuit of more, I'm learning to appreciate what I already have in abundance and defining what is enough for me.
Get rid of excess shirts.
Don't purchase a new laptop.
Get use out of the things I own, and if I'm not using them, give those things to someone who will.
Freedom with Enough
Enough is often less than we think. I challenge you to (1) understand what your current idea of prosperity looks like and (2) identify the two types of wealth most important to you.
It will give the freedom to prosper according to your own levels of abundance. It might even change your behavior: find yourself spending money and time on the things you want and value, and not spending it on the things you don't.
"The tiny speckles of life are infinitesimal sources of wealth." A peaceful thought to ground myself in my own pursuits of wealth.