Holistic Wealthyness: R.A.T.E Your Happiness

We count everything. Our size. Our speed. Our scores. Our health. Our money. Our time.

But at the end of your life, does simply counting make every moment of your life count?

I faced this question the first time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, and I’ve struggled to find the appropriate answer ever since. I knew, back then, that I wanted to be happy – that’s for sure. But what makes me feel happy? What makes me feel content? What makes me feel accomplished.

As my twenties started to give way to thirty, I spent the last few months before my 30th birthday reflecting on the last two decades. I did an audit of the best times of my life, and I contrasted those times with the lowest points in my life. I learned a lot about myself. I learned my truth (I think), and the exercise revealed an important conclusion: You can work most of your life and then find time for what you love, or you can embrace what you love and find time for work.

I’m a romantic. I love to be in love, so more than anything, so I wanted to choose the later. But to do so, I needed to figure out how to balance what I love with earning enough money to make it all possible.

Everything boils down to two variables: time and money. Money is a function of time. You need time to earn money, but you also need time to embrace what you love. I needed a way to organize how I invested my time to yield the most happiness and money to complete my life.

There are many ways to measure one’s life. I started categorizing all these ways beyond the standard definitions of finances, and in the process, I discovered seven forms of capital that enrich our existences.

These forms of capital include:

  1. Physical – Health & Wellbeing
  2. Cultural – Experiences, Arts & Travel
  3. Intellectual – Knowledge & Challenges
  4. Financial – Cash & Investment Instruments
  5. Spiritual – Religion or Perception of Existence
  6. Social – Friends & Family
  7. Material – Clothes, gadgets and the shit you own

Everyone is unique. Each person needs to discover and fulfill their individual truth to realize a complete human experience. By prioritizing these forms of capital based on your individual truth, you can wisely manage your time. You can build a framework to yield the most amount of money necessary to embrace everything you love.

The prioritization of these capital follows a simple process:

  • Recognize
  • Arrange
  • Test
  • Embrace

Recognize

The first step is recognizing who you are and what you value. This sounds easy, but your identity is a complex composition of your previous experiences, present perceptive and the masks you were in different surroundings.

You must reflect on what brings you joy. You need to consider what attention you enjoy attracting from others, and inversely, what attention makes you feel insecure. You need to honor what makes you feel most alive, and eliminate what makes you feel incomplete.

Recognizing who you are is the most important step, but it’s also the most difficult step. I discover my truth through tasting as many parts of life as possible. I doubled down on what tastes good and satisfying, and I avoid tasting things that don’t leave me fulfilled.

I feel most alive when I’m celebrating life, and I’m acting as a co-creator in this creation our creator created. That’s my truth.

Arrange

Once you recognize your truth, you need to arrange the forms capital based on your priorities. There is only so much time in a day, you can’t equally invest your time in each form of capital on a daily basis. Where will you invest most of your time, and where will you risk going into debt?

I think identifying Financial capital’s spot on the list is the best place to start. We are familiar with money and can determine if it’s very important, important or not important to us pretty quickly.

I hate not having money more than anything. I don’t necessarily love having a lot of money, but I hate not having money. When you have a lot of money, you can draw the wrong attention, and the responsibility of the money can be a burden. But money is also freedom. Money affords choices and conveniences, so I don’t hate money.

I decided Financial Capital is smack in the middle for me.

Next, I thought about what is most important to me. What form of capital am I willing to spend money on or sacrifice not making money to enjoy. As I reflected on recognizing my truth, I learned my health and wellbeing are critical similarities in all my happiest times and noticeably absent in all my lowest times.

Physical capital jumped out as my number one priority, and in some ways, it supports financial capital. I can earn more money over my lifetime if I have my health and wellbeing later in life.

Once I determined where Financial capital is on my list and number one priority, I arranged capital forms that were more important than money above financial and arranged things less important than money below financials.

Here was my list:

  1. Physical – Health & Wellbeing
  2. Cultural – Experiences, Arts & Travel
  3. Intellectual – Knowledge & Challenges
  4. Financial – Cash & Investment Instruments
  5. Spiritual – Religion or Perception of Existence
  6. Social – Friends & Family
  7. Material – Clothes, gadgets and the shit you own

Test

With my list arranged, I started to test different scenarios from my recent past. For instance, when I was presented with an opportunity to visit with friends, did I make the decision at the expense of my Financial capital? It turns out I did. It wasn’t financially responsible to visit with them, but connecting with people I love and admire is fulfilling to my life.

I tested each form of a capital with a recent decision I made, and after running the tests, I realized my life is actually prioritized closer to this list:

  1. Physical – Health & Wellbeing
  2. Intellectual – Knowledge & Challenges
  3. Social – Friends & Family
  4. Financial – Cash & Investment Instruments
  5. Cultural – Experiences, Arts & Travel
  6. Spiritual – Religion or Perception of Existence
  7. Material – Clothes, gadgets and the shit you own

Embrace

I now make my decisions through the prism of this list. When I think about spending my time or money on something, I ask myself which category of capital am I about to invest in, and is there another investment opportunity for those same resources higher on the list?

It’s been an excellent framework for the past few months. I feel much more confident in my decision making – which makes each choice feel more empowering. There is a reasoning to support how my time and money is building a complete and rich life.

Every minute is counted. Every dollar is counted. Making every moment of my life count


Also published on Medium.

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