Being rich and emptyMany people think that being rich is the best thing in life. You can afford anything in life, you can buy nice cars and vacation houses, you can own a yacht even an airplane, you can buy all the fancy clothes, you can travel anywhere you want on your jet or a commercial airliner’s business class, you can buy expensive wine and dine at fancy restaurants. Well it’s all true but if you realized what is missing from this short list is the things that you can not buy with money such as love, friends and relationships with people.
In fact being rich is sometimes a lonely experience. Most of your life you might be working your *** off to reach your goal and in the meantime you might not have too much time for fun, for friends or a serious relationship. This period might be very stressful both mentally and financially as you might fail several times in your business, you might be in the red financially often and you might not even get a good night sleep.
Then let’s say your business gets more stable financially and you seem to be on the right track. Then you start to grow and as you grow you meet new challenges that take your energy away from your possible ordinary life. New competitors enter who might be copying what you do or how you do it, you hire employees whose goal is not the same as yours and might not be as motivated as you and it might stress you out. Then you might meet new legal challenges, you might have to adopt to new economic conditions, and you might have to restructure and rebuild some parts of your organizations.
Then let’s assume you become really successful. You might make millions of dollars already and it took you two decades of dedication and hard work. Now you think it is time to enjoy your success. You start to travel to places you always wanted to go to, you buy new sports cars and a yacht and you elevate your living standard by buying a nicer house by the beach, by dining at nice places and by becoming a club member in an elite golf club.
The only people you meet regularly are like you with similar lifestyles, with similar selfish goals to become rich and some other arrogant people. These people all think they are better than others, they think they are more worthy because their wallet is thicker. You become one of them.
You either choose a partner from among them or you are up to be with someone who wants your money. You also stuck with these people as your friends and your conversation topics are limited to everything luxury magazines write. You either accept it and embrace it or you are screwed.
You lose your connection to the real world and you become lonely; very lonely in very rich surroundings. And there is hardly any road back. You get used to it since you are in it, in this lifestyle for decades. You get used to having fake friendships and dishonest friends who would screw you over financially if they could. And even if you establish your family, most likely your kids become part of this circle.
I know it very well. I am a millionaire with three companies and three divorces in my life. I have my yacht and a Porsche but I see my kids very rarely and even during those short visits they want more money from me to be able to buy a nicer car. I have no real friends even though everybody who knows I am wealthy want to be friendly. I have no social life other than among these other business people, I have not experienced what real love is and even today after so many years I have sleepless nights caused by some business matters.
Is there anything I would change looking back? Yeah. I would stop at having a small company that provides a good living, one that provides you enough not to have financial problems in life. One that does not take your own life away from you, one that lets you experience your life emotionally, spiritually and mentally.
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wisestories 31-35 0 Jun 15, 2010