Thanksgiving – Wealth Is More Than Money!

It is that time of year when each of us should pause and reflect on the life we lead in the United States of America. While our nation is far from perfect, the freedoms, opportunities and rights we claim are superior to any other nation on the planet! I am often asked how I define “wealth”. Many people think it is about tangible goods (i.e., cars, houses, land, etc.) and intangible assets (i.e., investments, cash in the bank, etc.).

To me, to be wealthy simply means that I have the freedom to live my life in the manner I choose. An old friend, I will call “Bill”, was diagnosed with cancer and given a short time to live. He and I were talking and I thought I had known him pretty well. Boy, was I surprised with the words that came out of Bill’s mouth over the next thirty minutes!

By all outward appearances, Bill had a great life – money, land, houses, cars, boats, etc. When he started telling me about his life he quickly dismissed the value of his property, cars and investment accounts and began a story of loss in his life. His daughters had been estranged from him due to a misunderstanding when the girls were in the 20s. Now, with his daughters in their 40s and Bill dying of cancer, he realized the most valuable “asset” in his portfolio of wealth had been squandered many years ago. With tears in his eyes, I could see he was living a life of regret.

As I sat there intently listening, Bill continued his saga to define the difference between riches and true wealth. Although he had not worried or wanted for any material need during his life, his emotional void with his children had left him feeling that his life had been lived without meaning. I asked him a simple question, “Would you give it all away to spend some quality days with your daughters before your passing?” The biggest smile came upon his face and he nearly shouted, “You bet!”

After a discussion with Bill’s daughters, a meeting was established to reacquaint themselves. Bill and his daughters’ eyes were swollen with tears of joy as their family was reunited. Bill only lived a few more months but his daughters conveyed to me that those few months were the most happy he had been his entire life.

Remember, a thankful and kind heart is an asset that can’t be bought with material goods. I often define wealth to people as “those things in life that money can’t buy and death can’t take away.” Seek out the true “assets” in your life and enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving Day with family and friends!

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Maximizing Your Day

Have you looked at your calendar lately? If many of you are like me, the days seem to be passing quicker than I experienced in my younger days. Now, I am not focusing on the topic of aging. I am, however, focusing on the more important aspect of time – maximizing the enjoyment of time’s passing.

When was the last time you sat down and simply wrote about the day’s events and documented the memories of the day? I highly recommend journaling to my clients, friends and family as a means of storing memories, working through difficult decisions, dispensing of emotional feelings without the fear of reprisal and, most importantly, to provide yourself the time needed to remove thoughts from your mind for complete and total rest. For many years, I have kept journals that are private and will not be reviewed by my family until my passing. The hope is that the stories will inspire my heirs to contribute to their communities, provide for those neighbors in need, seek a spiritual solution to many of life’s challenging times and to simply live a life by their design that leaves the world in a better place than they found it.

During my daily interaction with people, I often seek times to help others see the world for more than a harried existence where one day looks the same as all the others. We have three important facts of life to be thankful:

  1. We were born as human
  2. We were born or live in the United States of America
  3. We can change our future by making decisions against nature

To be born human is vital in that we can utilize a highly sophisticated brain to change our futures for better. We can form or build our environment to our own liking. Unlike some reptiles, we can place warm clothing on our bodies and brave the frigid temperatures to accomplish our goals for the day. Unlike other mammals, we can elect our leaders in a formal election versus a duel or fight to the death to be the alpha male.

Living in the United States of America is one right, and privilege, many of us take for granted. Watch CNN, Fox News or any other news channel and watch the turmoil that is thrust upon the citizens of other countries by tyrants and other factions who wish to impose their will. Despite the sometimes disruptive nature of our freedoms and rights, the USA is the most sought after country for personal freedom, opportunity and a brighter future by those who are under despotism, tyranny and socialism. We are not a perfect country; however, our citizens have the right to participate in the development of the country’s future.

Changing our future is easily performed by writing down our desired outcomes and formulating the steps to achieve them. This is the reason for a semi-annual review of our goals. We, as humans, can change course today and seek a better outcome than we have experienced the first half of the year. Don’t simply allow your life to be drifting in the proverbial winds of chance. You have an opportunity to close the chapter of last month, last week or yesterday and form a brighter future.

Seek out positive, impactful and complimentary information by listening to podcasts, reading good books and associating with people that have kindness as a personal trait. One such podcast we recommend is “Live a Life by Design”. This podcast can be found on iTunes, SoundCloud, and right here on

Remember the words of Zig Ziglar, the renowned motivational speaker and author, “You were designed for accomplishment, engineered for success and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” The secret to success on this planet is to make tomorrow your best day ever! Then simply repeat this step everyday. 

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