"Our character, basically, is a composite of our habits."
--Stephen R. Covey
Many of us are taught that the creation of financial wealth and the development of a strong moral compass cannot go hand in hand. Despite this annoyingly prevalent belief in today's society, my 22 years in the financial services industry have shown me that it's the farthest thing from the truth.
I've worked with many entrepreneurs and business people who have attained both inner fulfillment and outer material success. The powerful transformation that comes about when these two paths converge is what I refer to as Mindful Wealth.
According to Stephen Covey in his landmark The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, character and effectiveness are shaped by the unconscious patterns -- or habits -- that we develop over time. It's no surprise, then, that I found the mindfully wealthy I've worked with share a similar set of regular, consistent habits. By emulating these habits, perhaps you, too, can change the trajectory of your life and join their ranks.
HABIT 1: Develop Solid Money Strategies
The mindfully wealthy have a solid understanding of how money flows in and out of their lives. They know how much they earn, save, give, spend, and invest. They're willing to delay gratification to get out of and stay out of debt or to build a long-term sustainable income stream.
Although they enjoy money, they also know how to bargain for the best price, discuss their finances with their family and loved ones, and live beneath their means. At the same time, they know how to create value in the world and are adept and keeping their eyes open for new opportunities.
HABIT 2: Maintain Productivity
The mindfully wealthy know that time is a limited resource while money is not. Once time is spent, one can never refill the well. Money, in contrast, can always be re-earned. Consequently, the mindfully wealthy place the value of their time above money.
The mindfully wealthy also wake up early, write daily to-to lists, limit their exposure to television and the internet, and engage in lifelong learning experiences. They are willing to work hard and diligently for long time periods to reach a goal. Failure is not an excuse to give up; it is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow.
In short, they have done the work to discover what they want out of life and have developed a plan for the future. They make a commitment to balance family and work responsibilities and enjoy the benefits of each.
HABIT 3: Stay Healthy (Physically and Emotionally)
The mindfully wealthy take care of both their bodies and minds. They eat healthy foods and exercise regularly but they also make the choice to act with integrity. A healthy body is important but the mindfully wealthy know that it's equally important (if not more so) to be understand how our choices affect others and to therefore be comfortable with the choices we make. They also work to create self awareness so they can understand the underlying motives behind their decisions and, if necessary, self correct.
As you can see from the list above, the habits are simple but the culmination is a lot of work. That's why there are so few among the ranks of the mindfully wealthy! The good news is that the habits are repeatable -- and so is the outcome of inner and outer wealth. I've counseled hundreds of students along their path to mindful wealth. If you want to, I know that you can do it, too.
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