Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Living the High Life on a Low Budget

Dr. Frank De Luca says, “A rich life is cultivated, not learned.” But Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie’s book, “Think and Grow Rich,” focuses on how to acquire financial wealth and live in riches, and virtually ignores the De Luca philosophy of richness of living. It is this rush and thrust toward material success that blindly leads many of us to assume that material wealth and rich living are synonymous. They are not.

I know few people who feel they have reached the pinnacle of wealth accumulation. In fact, a constant in today’s world is that the vast majority of the upper middle income and upper income earners do not categorize themselves as “wealthy.” It is almost comical to observe a politician trying to re-define “middle class” so that he and his well-heeled family will fit, or re-brand his middle-income upbringing as a “poor joe” experience, so that he can relate to the masses. Indeed, it is an axiom of society that, whatever we have, there is more that we need.

Unfortunately for most of us, the quest for a rich life bypasses the real richness that is available to every person.

Living a minimalistic life can be very easy, very sanguine. However, it is getting to that level of comfort that poses critical challenges. I promote embracing a 15 step system of acclimatization.

These steps are:

1.Know before you go! Inventory your life, your assets, your priorities.
2.Head & Heart Conditioning. Prepare yourself mentally & emotionally
3.Choosing direction. Identify what is important to you.
4.Always be prepared! Identify fallback (emergency) items
5.A soft place to land: Identify items & emotions that are based on nostalgia & memories
6.Putting your feet up: What you do for entertainment, and what you need for it
7.Double duty, half the cash: Identify multi-purpose items
8.Twopence, cautiously, frugally invested in the bank! Know economical from expensive
9.Mental de-clutter before material de-clutter
10.Conditioning the pack rat: Reorganize before de-cluttering
11.Any friend of mine … Network of associates reorientation
12.One part of your life, one activity, one room at a time
13.Monitor and measure
14.Spongebob’s philosophy — soak it up.
15.Steer clear of the pulpit.
Many of the points seem outrageously obvious. But, like trying to put on your underwear after you have buckled your pants and laced your boots, sequence and attention to the little things are vital if you want to sustain and maintain your new approach to life.

I will go through each of the 15 steps over the next several weeks, offering anecdotes and illustrations, as well as the “whys and wherefores.” Converting to a rich man’s lifestyle on a poor man’s budget is rewarding, but it will require some thought and significant adjustments. Please, be patient, and enjoy your journey.

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