The Bottom Line Isn’t What You Think It Is – Why health is more valuable than wealth
What’s your most valuable resource?
For many, the word “valuable” automatically triggers thoughts of money, or wealth. If it’s not top of mind, it’s close; a recent Forbes article claims that while a majority of successful people actually name time as their most valuable asset, finances get a solid honorable mention.
When it comes to value, though, I’d like to suggest bumping health up to that number one spot, and here’s why:
- Health is the foundation you need to attain every other valuable resource. Without health, you don’t have the capacity to create wealth. And I’m not just talking about money. Dealing with a debilitating health issue, or a chronic lack of access to the means for healthy living, makes it harder to build up a wealth of life experiences and tend to your spiritual and emotional health. When our energy is consistently consumed with the effort to achieve or maintain a basic level of health, there’s little left over to devote to achieving anything else—the more time you have to spend on surviving, the less time you have to focus on thriving.
- Health is the quality you need to enjoy every other valuable resource. In fact, in most countries—especially developing ones—health is valued on par with material possessions. That’s because without health, not only are the individual, family, and community unable to prosper, but research shows they will actually reverse on the wealth scale. Health gives you the ability to enjoy what life has to offer, and create experiences that are often more cherished than physical goods. The rise in popularity of experiential vacations is just one indication of the growing value people are assigning to building moments that become memories over merely purchasing a luxury item.
- Health needs to be understood holistically to appreciate how everything else flows from it. Your health isn’t just about the state of your body; it’s about the state of your body, mind, and spirit as an integrated whole. And what you do for this integrated whole you call You directly impacts your experience of wealth. A “toxic” person who shows little respect for his own body and treats others poorly may have money, but it will never be enough and it will never satisfy, because that person’s ability to experience gratitude and delight will be compromised. Compare this with a person who respects his body, feeds his mind, and nurtures his spirit by showing compassion to others; wealth for this person will be enjoyed as a blessing—and most likely shared, thus perpetuating the cycle of good health and good will.
Money can buy most things in life, but it can’t really buy health. It may be able to buy treatments, but quality of life—the ability to experience joy and share it with others—is not for sale at any price. And so the best way to be a truly wealthy person is to protect the health of your body, mind, and spirit as if it were your bank account or livelihood.
It turns out that the path to a life of wealth is the same as the path to a life of integrated health: Eat well, maintain a realistic outlook on life, nurture your mind and soul, appreciate all that you have, smile often, and be kind. If you do, you may just find out how rich you really are.