Success Myths: Success is Accumulating Wealth

Mar 20, 2020
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Success Myth: Wealth, with James Lenhoff

Do you spend a lot of time freaking out about how much money you need? I know I do.

I was reading this 2018 article in the New Yorker about the psychology of midlife crises. At the root of the most midlife crisis lies the dedication of obtaining success. Once the person receives what they set out to accumulate as success, they don’t find it to be fulfilling, and then that brings on a season of depression that we call a midlife crisis.

The success myth that accumulating wealth will bring success is the top myth that Americans believe that dictates their definition of success. Many of us think that collecting money is going to bring happiness. This belief then drives our careers, most of us hate the drudgery of activity we call work, and then we end up in a midlife crisis.

I'm glad I'm not at midlife crisis yet (wishful thinking), so I can rewrite my script on what success means.

As I walk with Purpose Seekers, I see this myth at play often. One of the ways I have helped myself and others debunk this myth is to help redefine what wealth is and what wealth is not.

Wealth is:

  • More than material accumulation
  • Relative to balancing the top priorities in our life
  • Just as much about relationships as it is money

These truths struck me on a visit I had to Costa Rica that I document in The Purpose Promise book. The native Costa Ricans, called Ticos, lived so simply. They had a strong community, and they relied on each other. They genuinely lived off the land. Their needs were met, and they did not strive to obtain any more stuff than they needed.

The Ticos were rich. It was easy for me to see. I enjoyed the pace of their life, the reliance on the land, and each other. While they may not have been rich, by the worlds stands, in material provision yet they were rich in relationship.

The Tico’s taught me a valuable lesson: In most aspects where there is striving and obtaining of material affluence, there exists relational poverty, yet where there is material poverty, there is often relational affluence.

Finding the right balance between material and relational wealth is essential to living out your purpose!

If this resonates, don’t let your striving for material wealth keep you from true success. With self-awareness, you can begin the journey to a career of purpose, and we are here to help.

Questions to Ponder:

  • Is accumulating material wealth the top definer of success?
  • How has work interfered with your relational wealth?

Habits to Cultivate:

  • Take the time to consider where you have adopted your view of money
  • Consider the difference between relational and material wealth

We have helped thousands of purpose seekers pivot into new careers. You can do it too. We would love to help guide you. If you are experiencing the credential success myth and are feeling disengaged, get started on your path to purpose.

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