A handful of people only aim at earning just enough to keep the bills paid and stomach full and they actually end up achieving it. A few others want to go an extra mile after earning satisfactorily and their earnings keep exceeding considerably. And, the rest, which is a vast majority, remain unsatisfied with what they have and keep yearning to accumulate ‘as much as possible.’ They keep struggling with this constant itch to earn more and more their entire life.
Few people attach morality to accumulation of wealth, and believe it being a zero-sum game which elaborates as ‘by not earning more, they believe they are indirectly helping the poor.’ This strikes as a wonder to me whether such people are using this to justify their actions and I am reminded of the infamous ‘trickle-down effects of economy’, which states that a horse should be fed oat meal so that sparrows can feed on their dung.
“Look deep into nature, you’ll understand everything better” - Albert Einstein
I don’t believe that the earning ‘as much as possible’ is a good strategy because in the entire process the denominator will always be a state of lack. It is also a very dull one, because you will never know when to celebrate your achievement because whatever you earn will always be not enough.In my opinion, one should have a dynamic wealth earning strategy which can be altered, innovated, renovated and completely replaced as and when required during the course of life.
But the question remains: How much wealth should one aim for?
Since nature is supposed to have all answers, let’s find out if nature can help us with this one.
Every living being on this planet feel an affection for some things and want to be in possession of them, and once acquired these beings undergo growth. Starting from an amoeba to a plant to an elephant, every life form has an instinct or desire, the gratification of which causes their growth. Technically speaking, every life on this earth is a bundle of desires, and the more complex the life is, the more manifold the desires.
Humans are a culmination of the most complex desires, leading the most complicated lives. The moment any living being stops desiring, they start disintegrating and ultimately perish. (For convenience, let’s use the term ‘potential’ instead of ‘desire’ when we talk of plants and animals since we are habituated to using the term ‘desire’ only with reference to human beings. It doesn’t make much of a difference in meaning because the words ‘potential’ and ‘desires’ are two sides of the same coin.)
For instance, while a Redwood tree has a ‘potential’ to grow 350 feet tall, a Neem tree has a ‘potential’ to grow only 60 feet tall. An eagle has the potential to fly up to 10,000 feet while a crow can fly up to 500 feet. A lion has a potential to grow 3.8 feet tall (Yes, I verified it on Google. It is 3.8!), while an elephant has a potential to grow 10 feet tall. All these are facts, let’s find out if these living beings actually live up to their potential in reality or not.
When we tally facts with reality, the observations are mostly coinciding with the facts. For instance, the Redwood tree has a potential to grow 350 feet, and it does so in reality too. The same is with the Neem tree, the height potential of the crow while flying, etc.
From this observation, it can be inferred that these living beings have no free will, and they have to reach their full potential. Their strong instincts enable them to reach their maximum possible potential. An elephant can’t choose to grow half the size of what it can.
Let’s apply this rule to humans and revisit the question of wealth. How much wealth should an individual earn? As per the law of nature, a person should earn to its maximum possible potential.
But what is maximum possible potential of an individual?
Looking at the wealthiest people around, the potential seems to be unlimited. But this observation is not relevant because each person has a different potential. So how do we find each person’s individual potential?
Applying the law of nature, an individual’s maximum potential can be calculated by its desires. So, if I desire $10 million (though I desire much moreJ), nature says that you have the potential to acquire that amount. If this wasn’t true, you wouldn’t even desire for it in the first place. Just like an elephant’s instinct controls its height, the amount of wealth you want to acquire is channelled by your desires. Now this rule is applicable to all because a lot of people desire wealth which further concludes that they have the potential to acquire it too.
So, why isn’t everyone able to earn it? What is lacking in this natural process here?
“You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequences of your choice….”
The answer to the above question would be the provision of ‘CHOICE’ which only humans have due to their high level of intelligence. Humans may have the desire, unique talents, knowledge and inner motivation required to earn wealth, but they may CHOOSE to not take the risk required to create wealth,to doubt their own capabilities, to stay in their comfort zone, to not make that phone call,to not giving up that habit. A few may even CHOOSE to not determine the exact amount of wealth that they desire. (These choices could be harder for poor people than the other. But their respective desires are different too. Nature maintains that balance.)
This choice is a luxury available only to humans, in fact only adults. A child is all wants. The moment a child wants something new, it expects to get it instantly, and if not then it starts throwing tantrums. A child has faith that it will receive what it is asking for and also gets it most of the times. Adults, on the other hand, are sceptics.
How many people achieve the wealth that they desire? The number is less than 5%.It looks like too many people are exercising too many choices, even when they may possess the potential to earn their desired amount of wealth. No wonder human’s greatest burden results from its unfulfilled potential.
Hitesh Porwal is a Certified Executive Coach based out of Mumbai. He specializes in transcending one's growth ideas. He achieves that by using his proprietory P2A2 model of one-to-one coaching that focuses on an individual's uniqueness.