To those who are concerned about building or preserving wealth, I present this paradigm: Maturity is required for the highest levels of wealth, and wealth is required for the highest levels of maturity. You can’t have one without the other. In fact, wealth and maturity are recursive; which is to say one builds the other.
The common conception is that wealth is a pile of money; and while wealth includes capital, this is a narrow and inadequate conceptualization. It’s far more powerful to think of wealth as distance from danger.
This might bring to mind images of a gated estate, or perhaps a security team. And while those superficial elements do keep certain dangers out, I point to the more meaningful example of Steve Jobs: He was able to get himself on multiple transplant lists because he demonstrated that he could be at any one of several transplant centers in a matter of hours. This was partially a function of his access to capital, but it was equally a function of his network of people helping him. This wealth bought him more time, keeping danger at bay. And as his case proves, you can never fully escape danger (ergo infinite wealth is but an abstraction), but the wealthier you are, the further you are from danger.
Consider now the concept of maturity as being the extent to which one reflexively holds the concerns of others.
An infant is not mature; she only cares that she’s wet or hungry, and the concerns of others don’t enter her awareness. At the other end of the spectrum, imagine yourself at an important business presentation, when your business associate “Bob” bursts in, clearly drunk. Most would worry about the impact Bob’s behavior is having on that all-important presentation. It takes a particularly mature individual to immediately think about what problems Bob might have to cause him to behave this way.
But it is this reflexive attention to the concerns of others that is predictive of wealth, and for a simple reason: Wealth can only be built in reciprocal exchanges of help, as the case of Steve Jobs proves. Likewise, there are no billionaires who built their wealth in a vacuum, devoid of human contact. They, like everyone, require help from others; and people simply won’t help you on a consistent basis . . . unless you help them. In the case of Steve Jobs, he had around 60,000 people helping him, and I assure you all of them were in turn being helped by dint of their connection to him. It might not be Bob whose help you need; but if you have ambitious wealth goals, you do need help from others.
For this reason, if you’re not satisfied with the wealth you’ve built, instead of exclusive focus on amassing more capital, think alternatively about whose help you need. Then, consider how you can offer help to them.
1. Instead of thinking about what you can take, consider what you can give.
2. Stop “selling,” and instead reflect on how you can be of help.
3. Hold a standing ethic of service to others; make it part of your personal brand.
If you’re the person who reflexively holds the concerns of others, you’ll have far greater distance from danger. You’ll be the person who can be relied upon for help, which means you’ll establish an all-you-can-eat buffet of help from which you can choose. And in so doing you can enable the help you need to fulfill your wealth objectives. And with that wealth, you’ll be in an even better position to help others.