The word “Epiphany” means “a sudden realization of great truth.” I am also writing this on the Christian Feast of the Epiphany, which celebrates the revelation by the Magi as to the location, and subsequent visitation by them to the Christ child. This belief by Christians of this homage by men of wealth and power to a child of a family living in what we would consider extreme poverty is symbolic of the great virtue of Humility. Regardless of your own faith, there is no other event that has most altered the course of mankind than the birth (and of course, the life) of this child. This made me think more about my own acquired wealth.
Am I wealthy? Yes. By the definition in my book, Wealth Virtues, I am. But the last sentence of my biography on the back cover of my book will tell you right where my real wealth truly lies (click here, then click “Back Cover”).
I have written of the wealth of good people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. I have also written of the extraordinary wealth of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu (Mother Theresa of Calcutta). Wealth, by my definition, is uncomplicated and easy to attain. Wealth is simply the ability to acquire more money than you spend, and to save more than you owe. Mother Theresa, was of course, debt free, and had only meager possessions. Her wealth was derived from the comfort she brought to others with her selfless sacrifice.
Benjamin Franklin’s virtue of Humility states, “Imitate Jesus and Socrates.” Some believe that humility translates to “weakness.” Others display weakness in a vain attempt to feign humility. Humility, when used with another of Franklin’s virtues, Sincerity (use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly), is one of the most powerful influencers upon others. The wealth generated by Jesus, Mother Theresa, and other like Mohandus Gandhi, was simple; it was love, which in turn generated that same wealth for others.
By no means do I then think negatively of people of great monetary wealth who have used that same humility to not only provide income for others, but who also donate vast sums of their gains to for the curing of diseases, education, and other endeavors with positive and virtuous affects upon mankind.
Regardless of the type of wealth you decide to create, others will always benefit if that wealth is generated with Sincerity and Humility. In the end, all that will remain of what you generate will be your name on a piece of stone. The way you achieved wealth for yourself and for others will determine what is chiseled on that stone under your name.