To mark the release of my new book Super Rich: A Guide To Having It All, I went on Twitter and asked a simple question: What would you do if you were Super Rich?
The response was immediate, humbling and extremely encouraging.
@buyhousescheap wrote, "If I were #SuperRich I would rebuild Haiti."
@313Don214 said, "If was super rich I would buy an apartment building to give the homeless a second chance."
@Tim Summa wrote, "I would put away enough money to help my family, then I would start to help the youth. There would be after school programs, or maybe I would start my own schools."
@Antwon Butler Sr said, "I will help with all the inner city school and make sure they all get an education jus like the private school kids get, ya dig."
@GDMODE wrote, "I'm well on my way to being #superrich because I'm saving so many precious and innocent animals by not eating meat!!! :)"
@FlavianaMatata said, "If I was #SuperRich I would...make sure at least 25% of Tanzania ppl could use internet..."
@treenna wrote: if I was #SuperRich...I would make sure low income mothers would have affordable daycare...
@Iamarealc said, "if I were #superrich I'd buy a home for every homeless family living on the highway underpass on my way home from work. #sad."
@Enrique Zayas said, "I would Brewster Billion it n give it all away...I wouldn't spend a dime on myself. But I'd help my family friends n stranger n then enjoy watching there dreams come true...
What made all these responses so damn inspiring wasn't only the compassion and commitment to service that they expressed, but also what they didn't focus on.
Not too many people tweeted about buying themselves a new car or watch. Not too many people even wrote about taking that dream vacation, or improving their house. Almost to a person, the responses all put the needs of other first.
And really, that's the message at the core of Super Rich. That when you dedicate yourself to service rather than success, compassion rather than consumption, and focus on the process itself rather than the results, you will bring out the best in not only yourself, but the world around you as well.
True richness is a state of needing nothing. I try to state that truth over and over again in Super Rich and I see it expressed as well in all these inspiring Tweets. Because when these beautiful people talk about putting the needs of others first, what they're really saying is, "Nothing I get for myself is going to make me feel half as good as putting a smile on someone else's face."
The idea that happiness is the state of needing nothing might sound "new agey" to some, but it's really as old-school a message as you'll find. From Abraham to Lord Buddah Jesus to Mohammad to Lord Krishna, all the great prophets have promoted this simple truth. In Christianity, it's "Christ Consciousness." In Buddhism, "Nirvana." In Yoga, "Samadhi."
Having said that, I want to address one common misconception some people get when I start talking about needing nothing. Having a selfless, compassionate attitude is not going to separate you from worldly success. In fact, just the opposite. This is because when you are a happy, selfless worker completely focused on your service, you will experience this simple truth: GREAT GIVERS BECOME EVEN BETTER GETTERS.
This is such a critical concept. As you move towards a higher degree of consciousness, you will find that the road to enlightened is paved with riches. When you operate from a state of contented abundance you will get materially rich. In fact, much quicker than the selfish person who chases money and is only focused on the results.
In over 25 years in the entertainment industry, I have seen this truth played out over and over again. I watched people like Kevin Liles, today one of the most important players in the record industry and the great director Brett Ratner start off as unpaid interns and quickly climb their way to the top off the strength of their service. They weren't worried about getting paid or even getting promoted. They were completely immersed in the process of making the people around them better. It was a quality that made them so attractive that soon the world was writing them bigger checks than they could have ever imagined.
So to everyone today who demonstrated that same selfless spirit in their Tweets, I want to know that you are on the right path. Have faith that your belief in service isn't going to separate you from worldly success, but rather insure it.
Know that if you throw yourself into the process helping rebuilding Haiti, or setting up affordable daycare or protecting the animals, that the world will reward you richly. Not only with the material toys that are fun to play with for a moment, but with the long term happiness and contentment that comes from giving. And once you touch that true, lasting happiness, then you'll be Super Rich.
Follow Russell Simmons on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unclerush