The following article is an excerpt from Steve Goldberg and Barbara Taylor’s book Finding the Upside: Practical Wisdom For Challenging Times.
For many of us, our sense of self-worth becomes firmly and dangerously entwined in our estimation of our net worth. The results can be devastating.
This was powerfully illustrated in a personal conversation with an official of the Coroner’s Office in a large U.S. city. The official described an alarming increase in white-collar suicides since the onset of the recent recession.
She was referring to a rise in the premeditated deaths of people who lost significant amounts of money and who strongly associated their net worth with their personal value as human beings.
Suicide notes and follow-up conversations with the affected families revealed the despair and demoralization the now deceased individuals had suffered as a result of no longer having financial wealth. They found life unbearable.
This describes a very sad state of affairs, one that’s affecting all of us collectively. It became a powerful motivator for the writing our upcoming book that challenges some of the existing societal norms about what it means to have a full and meaningful life.
If we, as a society, stay focused on the downturn and downsides of what we see as all the bad stuff happening to us and to others, where will it lead? Life will always bring the good (the circumstances we like) along with the bad (the events we would rather not experience or deal with). How can we get off this stressful roller coaster?
We propose that a revised, personal success report card is needed.
Our financial portfolios, the size of our homes, and the number and quality of our possessions certainly factor into how we sum up our sense of personal wealth. But in determining that personal wealth, what if all of us truly begin to place at least as much weight (and hopefully more) on these other assets?
• our health and well-being;
• the quality of our relationships;
• our capacity to be resilient and optimistic
• our ability to find happiness in a more simplified way of living,
• making wise decisions that lead to spending less and enjoying life more;
• our willingness to clear out the clutter that is adversely impacting our living environments, our mental and physical functioning, our emotional states, and our relationships with others;
• our unique interests, strengths and passions; and our willingness to give back and contribute to the lives of others.
Spending less, making wise financial decisions, and enjoying life more are all attractive propositions, particularly during tough economic times.
This is an excerpt from our book, “Finding the Upside: Practical Wisdom For Challenging Times”.
Steve Goldberg is the co-author of Finding the Upside: Practical Wisdom for Challenging Times. You can read more about and purchase the book at: www.findingtheupside.org