We all aspire to live a life full of joy and contentment at many different levels, all which can’t be achieved by money alone. On another note, Time is the most valuable commodity we have. Keeping this Life Balance in mind, I have come up with following Levels of Prosperity, something on the lines of common socio-economic classification (lower/middle/upper class or lower/lower middle/upper middle/upper class).
I am aware that prosperity can mean different things to different people, but I hope this classification conveys the desired message.
Level 1: Can’t afford basics of life. No opportunity for Life Balance.
The basics mean being able to live in a safe environment, access to nutritious food, access to decent health care, ability to take care of family in terms of children’s education, decent financial security for years after retirement and so on.
Level 2. Can barely afford basics but nothing much more. Some opportunity for Life Balance .
The head of household or both spouses typically work long hours to meet these basics.
Level 2+. Abundance of money, but still no Time for Life Balance.
People earning substantially more money than the people of level 2, but still working long hours. Most professionals in senior positions, doctors and entrepreneurs would fall in this category.
This level is called 2+, and not 3, just to emphasize the value of Time. In both 2 and 2+, people are spending good amount of time (typically 40 hours per week or more) in order to afford the life style they are living.
Level 3. Finally – Have Time for Life Balance.
Balance means having sufficient time for maintaining optimal health (good sleep, exercise, relaxation and more). Sufficient time for spouse, children, family and friends. Sufficient time for hobbies. Time for charitable work. Time for socialization, entertainment and so on. A person may not engage in all of the these (for example someone may not have any hobbies) but have time for everything that a person desires to feel fulfilled in all respect (mind, body, spirit balance).
The focus here is on time and not on money. Many in this category might not be able to afford luxurious living or expensive vacations, but would still quality to be this category.
I don’t believe that working 40 hours per week, a person can achieve complete balance as described above. So a person has to achieve it via part time work. This would invariably require that the person either has a very high paying job, or has some support of inherited money.
So for most of us, the path to this level can only be via level 2+ or at best along with it.
Level 4. Merging work and passion.
At this level, the person still needs a job, but has found one which is in alignment with his true passion.
The basic test for this alignment would be that the person would continue to do same or similar work even if money was no constraint.
An author, who loves to write and has been supporting himself and the family through his writings would probably fall in this category. Assuming it is the writing and the recognition the person achieves through it, is his primary need to feel fulfilled, he would probably continue to do that even if he got millions of dollars from somewhere.
Progression to this level requires one to tap into an additional dimension, that is of recognizing one’s true passions and potential and then cultivating them to ultimately merge with profession. This can be hard, unless it is given due importance right from childhood.
Level 4+. No need to work. You have enough money to support level 4.
Finally there is a small percentage of ultra rich people. They can off course afford unimaginable luxuries. But when it comes to Time and Life Balance, although, they can free up some more time by hiring services and delegating all the mundane work, something tells me that when compared to a person at level 4, who has found alignment in life by recognizing his passion and merging this passion with profession, to create a balanced life for himself and for his family, the incremental Time this ultra rich community gains might not be much.
- Needless to say, higher level is superior to lower level.
- Most people, with proper mind set and approach can achieve level 3 (Life Balance), while some can hope to achieve level 4 also.
- Many of us however, get stuck at level 2a (lot of money but no time), either due to ignorance or ego. Ignorance because they do not understand the importance of non monetary aspects of life, whether it is long term health, relationships and so on. Sometimes they are just unable to come out of the circle of over busy life that got them to the position they are in.
- Good news – After retirement (whatever that means to you!), many people can afford to lead a life at level 4.
- But not so good news – To lead a life at level 4, even after retirement can be hard work at some level. After all, to spend time on the things that really matter to you and those that will give you lasting joy, you first need to recognize those things, which goes into a much deeper topic of self discovery! More on that on future blogs…