“An unhurried sense of time is in itself a sort of wealth.” ~Bonnie Friedman
We live in a society that favors material wealth over human wealth. Fame, fortune, and glamorous toys are what we are told to strive for with no thought to time, freedom, spirituality, and love. Even if you are just struggling to make ends meet, magazines and television will tell you to keep chasing the material dream.
Philosopher Daniel Quinn describes our economy in comparison to the economies of tribal people. He argues our economy is based on an exchange of products. You make products and sell products in order to get other people’s products.
The tribal economy, he explains, is based on the exchange of support. You give support to other people in order to get support back.
Because we only see economies as exchanges of goods and services, we miss the fact that tribal people had an economy at all. But they did. What it gave them was human wealth.
There were always people there to count on in times of need. Abundance was shared, but so were lean times.
There was no one class of people that were expected to do the suffering. Work was carried out to provide for people’s needs, but nobody wasted time creating products just for the sake of it. There was no quota of spears or canoes that needed to be produced.
Contrary to what our culture has told us to believe, tribal people actually did not spend all day scampering through the bush for food, in constant fear of their lives. Anthropologists have told us that they lived content and happy lives, often only working two or three hours a day.
They had freedom, time for leisure, and time for spiritual contemplation.
I always thought there had to be more to life than school, college, work, retire, die.
When you think about your goals in terms of human wealth, then there is more to life than this. When your focus becomes family, freedom, time, and spirituality rather than status, power, and material wealth, life becomes much richer and more meaningful.
Of course you still have to deal with the constraints of modern living and you need to find a way to put a roof over your head and food on the table. But there are ways that you can seek out human wealth in this frenzied modern society.
How To Reclaim Your Human Wealth
1. Spend time doing nothing.
With so much to do and so little time to do it you can sometimes fall into the trap of wanting to be productive every second of every day. To do nothing would seem like wasting time. Productivity books and blogs are a problem when it comes to promoting the idea that you cannot waste a second.
Time done doing nothing is time well spent. Make sure that you have a little bit of time every day to do nothing, and even entire days for it. It’s mentally refreshing and allows you the space to just contemplate and reflect.
2. Make time for the activities you enjoy.
If you can never find time then you have to make time. Don’t allow all your obligations in life swallow up every little second. Make sure you set aside some time to do the things that you enjoy and the things that nurture your soul.
3. Remember that it is all for love.
Take the attitude that you work to live, not live to work, and that you live for love. In the end, that is what it all comes down to. Always put family and friends first. If you are slaving away in your job to provide for your family, then you do it for love. Just remember that whenever you feel tempted to put work or material wealth first.
4. Practice minimalism.
The more clutter you cut out of your life, the simpler life becomes. The more possessions and obligations you have, the heavier the load is. Many people find joy in downsizing and stripping away all the unnecessary baggage in their lives. It gives you time and space to breathe.
5. Find a technique to calm the mind.
There are several techniques that originated in the East designed to calm the mind, slow your thoughts, and give you inner peace. These are things such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, and qigong. Pick one and commit to practicing it on a regular basis. Over time you will observe many physical and mental benefits.
What will you do today to reclaim your human wealth?
Photo by gologozo