My son has always been a prosperous thinker, from when he precipitated his first game console at age five, till when he left me an anonymous note that said: "God called you and said he would call you back later. He wants you to buy your son a new surfboard and some clothes." And by his 30s, he was co-owner and creative director of an apparel store that one year GQ Magazine named "the best e-commerce on the web."
He's never assumed that what's in his wallet, or what he's wearing or driving, is the measuring stick for whether he's prosperous. And he's always been good at focusing on what he wants and how he'll feel when it comes, rather than on the lack of it in the present moment. He says that he never thinks: "I can't have this." Instead he believes, "I can do whatever it takes to bring what I want into my life."
What we believe about our deservability, and what we tell ourselves about what we have, has a bigger effect on our prosperity than how much we have. We're like magnets, drawing more of whatever we think about most.
Prosperity is not a matter of how much money we have or how many possessions we own. Lots of people have plenty of money and possessions, yet they're not living prosperously. Money and success are the results of prosperity, but they don't determine it.
Imagine walking around feeling good about everyone and everything. That's what it takes to be prosperous. Not just in finances, but also in love, relationships, health, professional success, wisdom and happiness.
We can appreciate life as it is and accept it without demanding that it be different. In that case, Life is what we get - liveliness, expansion and abundance.
Or we can resist life as it is and live in a world of shoulds based on our beliefs and judgments. Then we can be angry when people don't do what we want or when life isn't what it should be - and we can say, "Life isn't fair!" In that case, our resistance will block our prosperity.
So what is prosperity, if it's not what's in our bank account?
We're living prosperously when we trust that Life is working for us, not against us; when we let go any beliefs about not being capable or worthy; and when we drop resistance in our relationships by letting people be as they are without making them wrong.
Prosperity is about understanding true value, reaching worthwhile goals and accomplishing our chosen purpose - instead of worrying about whether we have enough.
It includes making the deliberate choice to express love instead of fear, appreciation instead of pessimism, cooperation instead of competition, support instead of criticism, and understanding instead of anger.
Living prosperously means doing whatever we do so well that we can't do it more effectively, and feeling good about it. In that case, we're telling our resources what to do instead of them telling us what to do. And money's working for us, instead of the opposite.
Life is designed to support us. When we enjoy life, when we love well and are loved, when we appreciate our experience, we're wealthy, no matter what.
This post is featured on The Good Men Project.