Life Lessons: Rich vs. Wealthy

This week I reconnected with my High School friend, Austin, who happened in town on business. Over vodka on rocks, we toasted to our 15 year reunion.
Of course, first item of catch up was careers. It quickly became evident that Austin had become very successful. He will soon retire, decades before his first gray strand. Taking another sip of Deep Eddie’s we high fived and cheered to his success.

“Think and grow rich, Napoleon Hill,” we chimed simultaneously.

It is the flagship book on wealth creation which we both coincidently had read. It seems to have worked a little better for him than it did for me.

After catching up about careers we addressed the next item of man talk: relationships.

Austin, still single, started, “I fell in love, a beautiful Catholic girl. I did everything for her. I even visited her in England for 3 weeks when she had to go abroad.”

“What happened?” I asked.

“She cheated on me at a conference,” he replied with a painful smile. I was shocked and surprised but it did give us something in common. Now, one of us was wealthy but we were both rich.

Rich lives happen when life gives the man lemons, the man makes really good Limoncello, and he sells it for $20 an once. He defies setbacks. He ignores roadblocks. He decides that nothing in this world will stop the forward momentum of his life. What does not jump on his train can stay at the station.

Rich lives are something I’ve grown accustomed to see. A guy goes through a heartbreak and six months later lands his dream job. Another is dumped and within the year is proud of a successful business launch. Pain comes. He propels forward. Life may slow the man down but nothing stops him.

Austin channeled his “rich moments” into wealth. Some channel such moments to creativity; others to service and outreach and become megaliths of non-profit altruism. Dreams born from pain.

When your life becomes rich people will tell you. You will be sitting at dinner with a new set of friends and you will tell them your story and they will reply, “Wow, that is amazing. How did you get through that?” Then, you know your life is rich.

The man looks back at moments in his life so dismal he thought the only light at the end was that of the taco truck. Now he knows there is more to life than tacos. Now he just tells the once painful stories and laughs because he realizes his life is rich.