For centuries, philosophers and sages have pondered what it means to live a fulfilled and happy life. The quest for a good life is universal, but how we find happiness varies from person to person.
Wealth, health, happiness and wisdom are four pillars of a successful life that are often discussed in isolation. They are often addressed as separate entities — almost as if they were adversaries. They’re not!
While it might seem like these things are mutually exclusive, the truth is that having any one of these things is a step in the right direction toward having them all. They come together when we live with intention and adopt habits that support a better life.
Instead of seeing them as separate concepts, it is far more productive to view wealth, health, happiness and wisdom as interlocking pillars of a good life. Many people struggle with one or more of these pillars as they work towards their goals. However, anyone can achieve a strong foundation for a fulfilled life by working on all four areas of balance.
Some see it as the key to a happy and successful life; others fear that the risk of falling into poverty is too high without a good balance between our financial assets. No one is immune to the stressors of modern-day living; however, our response determines whether we thrive or fall victim to life’s challenges.
True wealth is the abundance of time and freedom to pursue your true north
“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life,” says Henry David Thoreau.
Wealth is much more than money; it’s the freedom to do what you want with money and time. Being wealthy in this context does not mean having money; it means being resourceful with what you have so that you don’t end up going bankrupt.
When we have a good balance of wealth, health, happiness and wisdom, we experience a sense of fulfilment in our lives. The more balanced our life is, the happier we feel and the more confident we become to tackle any challenges that come our way.
“There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning,” Christopher Morley once said.
In a chaotic world, it can be difficult to find your balance. With so many distractions, pressures and responsibilities pulling you in different directions, it can be hard to remember what is most important in life.
Getting wealthy, healthy, happy and wise simultaneously is a tough goal. It almost sounds like a lot to expect from a single life. But it’s precisely these four cornerstones that lead to a rich, full life, if you can manage to get the right balance.
Good health is the first wealth
“Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.” — Naval Ravikant
Good health is the decision to take complete control of your self-care.
A healthy lifestyle is a choice. By taking control of your health, you’re making choices that can significantly impact your long-term happiness, quality of life, and well-being. In other words, being healthy isn’t something that happens to you — it’s something you choose to do.
Many factors, such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress, impact your well-being. These factors can play a significant role in your long-term quality of life.
The most important decisions are those related to your diet and lifestyle. By making these decisions yourself, you take ownership of your health, making staying motivated easier.
Taking control of your health and wellness will give you the mental energy necessary to make wise decisions and build wealth. And by learning how to live wisely, you will have the experience and knowledge necessary to make well-informed decisions about your finances.
Happiness is a byproduct of a meaningful life
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” — Joseph Addison
Happiness is not a goal — you become happy when you strive for a good life. Wisdom is the application of knowledge to your life.
Whether you’re looking to be wealthy, healthy, happy, wise or just want to enjoy a more fulfilling life, you need specific actions.
And you have to be willing to make them a lifestyle — there are no quick wins or one-time steps. Top performers are in it for the long haul.
“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination,” says Carl Rogers.
Wealth, health, happiness and wisdom may be related, but they are not the same. If you want to be happy, you need to pursue your true north (experiences that bring out the best in you).
Wealth can mean good health, meaningful relationships, memorable experiences and knowledge for a better life.
Wealth has three pillars: meaningful activities, relationships with others and meaningful experiences. These are the secrets to true wealth — regardless of how much money you have in the bank.
Money can’t buy health or happiness directly — spent well, it can help you live a good and even meaningful life where you spend your money matters if you want a meaningful life.
Money spent on experiences and on others rather than on yourself is more likely to make you happy. Experiential purchases — like vacations and activities — have been shown repeatedly to be a strong predictor of long-term life satisfaction.
Researchers have also found that spending money on other people is associated with greater life satisfaction — as are non-monetary gifts such as volunteering, giving a gift or helping someone in need.
You can be happy and wealthy at the same time. Remember, wealth doesn’t necessarily mean money; it could mean anything — greater control of your time, healthy life or being surrounded by love and support.
But wealth isn’t necessarily happiness. “The first wealth is health,” says Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The ability to discern what is true or right is superpower
Wisdom is a state of understanding and knowing, which can only be developed over time. Also, all riches start in the mind.
“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins,” says Jim Rohn.
Happiness is a more subjective concept, but it can be measured in different ways. It could mean feeling content with your life as it is now or having a positive outlook on life.
And wisdom can be seen in different ways, too; for example, it could mean the ability to see the big picture, apply the right knowledge in life or make good decisions.
When you are in a position of wealth and privilege, it is easy to feel like you have all the answers. After all, you’re rich, right? You have the resources to do anything you want. However, this is far from the truth; In fact, it’s very common to see wealthy people make poor decisions.
They tend to forget that they don’t know everything. They forget that there are other people out there who can offer different perspectives and experiences. And they also forget that they aren’t always right. Wisdom is knowing how to spend wealth.
No matter what definition you choose for each concept, the goal is the same: you want to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
In our modern world, where the pursuit of money is almost everything for everyone, how do we reconcile our desire for wealth with our desire for happiness, good health and wisdom? Exploring this question leads us to a good life.
Achieving wealth, happiness, good health and wisdom takes time. While money can sometimes buy you happiness — and life experiences that will undoubtedly make you happier — it won’t necessarily lead to genuine fulfilment.
Truly wealthy people have a deeper understanding of their values and direction in life, which gives them a greater capacity for self-control and conscientious decision-making.
An open mind is one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of control over your wealth, health, happiness and wisdom. Keep learning, upgrading and improving your ideas about designing a good life. “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will,” says Vernon Howard.
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