Which would you rather be—financially wealthy or emotionally wealthy?
You might not realize it, but having mental strength—or an acute awareness of the power behind your emotions and how best to use them and act on them—is much more worthwhile than having a cushy bank account.
Don’t believe it? Here are five characteristics of emotionally wealthy people that might just make you re-evaluate your idea of the good life:
1. They are positive.
To be wealthy in something, whatever surrounds it has to be healthy first. Just as someone might have healthy investments that are growing as a healthy living thing should, so should you be nourishing your emotional self.
What does this really mean? Are you feeding yourself with positive things, focusing on the good thoughts that lead to growth? Or are you focusing on the negatives and anxieties of life that give no emotional nutrition and can hinder growth?
It’s been said a joyful heart is good medicine. In what areas do you need to medicate your emotional self?
2. They are investors.
Looking for that ever-elusive dollar tree you can plant? Bad news, it doesn’t exist. But emotionally prosperous people can help grow their own wealth. How? By being willing to invest in other people’s emotional growth funds.
By intentionally planting and investing your own emotional wealth in others and trying to grow it, you’ll also grow, seeing the fruit of your investment. More people than you know would benefit by a little purposeful investment by you.
3. They are risk takers.
The people who have successful careers or thriving relationships didn’t get there by playing it safe—they knew they had to take risks. Emotional wealth is no different. Emotionally wealthy people invest and give their wealth to others, and realizing the liability involved, they never give so much away that if they were to lose it, they’d become unhealthy themselves.
The key is not giving away more than you can handle losing and, before giving it, accepting the fact that it might never come back to you. But it’s not all scary, because the upside to a little risk is a great reward—like a booming business or a happily-ever-after marriage. How can you take a calculated emotional risk today?
4. They are secure.
Robbing a bank isn’t easy in real life like it is in the movies, and there’s good reason for that. If it was easy to steal money from people’s accounts, why would anyone keep it there in the first place?
The same is true for your emotional wealth—only people you want taking your emotional goods should be able to withdraw them. And people you don’t? They should quickly see you’re secure enough that they can’t get anywhere near the valuables.
While you might be investing and taking risks in some people, only a few trusted individuals need to have your pin number. This isn’t to say you should lock people out or never give out small loans, but that you limit who gets full access to your emotional account. Who should you relegate to restricted access?
5. They are givers.
Giving might seem similar to investing, but they are actually quite different. When you invest, you expect something in return, like to form a friendship. But when you give, you should expect nothing in return—to give for the sole reason that it feels good to do good.
Like the old proverb says, “It is better to give than receive,” the same is true with emotional wealth. When you can give love, grace, mercy or patience to someone with no thought of return, it’s 1) very safe for you and 2) can return your personal investment in your own emotional wealth better than any interest rate. You might feel like you’ve really given nothing, but you’ll gain much more than you gave if you do it for the right reasons.
Now, are you ready to fill up your emotional bank?
Rhett Power is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Book of Actions: Essential Daily Exercises and Habits for Becoming Wealthier, Smarter, and More Successful and co-founder of Wild Creations, an award-winning start-up toy company. Learn more at rhettpower.com.