Recently I came across a story about well known actor Keanu Reeves and how his life has been accentuated by numerous tragedies. Briefly, his father left the family when he was young, his best friend and fellow actor, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose, his girlfriend gave birth to a still born and then just a couple of years later she died in a tragic car crash, and his sister was diagnosed with leukemia.
Just one or two of these situations would be enough to shake the majority of us to the core. It would be enough to make us question why keep going if the only point in my life is to experience pain. And few would blame us for feeling that way.
But Mr. Reeves is often photographed taking the subway, choosing public transportation instead of the alternative. There is a video of him sitting silently on the subway, and then getting up to give his seat to a standing woman. He doesn’t have a mansion, donated 75 million dollars to the special effects teams of “The Matrix” for making him look good, and he donates much of his money to hospitals to help find a cure for leukemia, which his sister has been treated for.
Every so often we come across stories like this that stop us dead in our tracks. The World NEEDS these kinds of stories now more than we ever have before. It brings up the question of, “Are you “rich” or are you rich?”
My career is one driven by money, most of them are. My blog? Money. What do I spend the majority of my day working with? The market, and helping others make money. My barometer for success for 11 years and running? How much revenue I can bring in for a corporation, my P&L, my percentage gain from an option or stock position. Once again, money.
Am I “rich” or am I rich?
I am not “rich” on the level that a billionaire hedge fund manager is, not even close. I can’t buy a house in the Hamptons and I don’t see myself shopping at the Bentley dealership for a while. But I have more than enough material things already at my age to last a lifetime. The rest would be excess. From that perspective I guess I am “rich.”
But am I rich?
Am I rich in the sense of overall personal fulfillment? No, this is a constant work in progress for me. Finding those things that make me rich inside is an evolving process of trial and error. With trading, for some time now it has been more about being right than making money. The payoff is secondary to the fulfillment from finding a proper entry and exit, fully executing my trading plan. I also find immense satisfaction in helping someone new to the game, or explaining financial jargon to the uninitiated. I love seeing that light click on in someone who was always too shy to ask or thought they had a “dumb question.”
In short, turns out I really like helping people. I am being selfish and selfless at the very same time. Maybe those are my inherited people pleasing traits I received from my Mom who spent a career helping kids as a nurse, and mentally ill patients at a mental health facility. I can’t remember her ever spending a day worrying about being “rich” but she was rich with satisfaction in that her chosen occupation allowed her to achieve personal fulfillment.
Keanu Reeves seems to be one of the few who get to enjoy both “rich” and rich. It’s easy to see which one fulfills him to a greater degree. As we make our way into the first full week of February, let’s all take a moment to think about “rich” versus rich in our own situations. If you are someone focusing on the never ending chase for money, stop for a few minutes and consider doing one thing this week outside of that chase that may add to your bucket of overall satisfaction, your level of rich.
I am as guilty as the next person in chasing money, shit it’s what I do for a living. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can all find a balance, and some of us need more help than others. But we all stand to gain when we strive to define what it means to be rich.
Look out for each other out there.