It can mean a lot of things – prosperity, success, happiness, health, performance, progress, etc. Some things are simple – height and weight. Hard to argue with the actual numbers. They might not be what you want, but they are what they are. You might improve the weight number, it is nearly impossible to improve the height number.
What about prosperity? We could be interested in global and/or personal prosperity. It’s easy to find a country or global indicators of prosperity. A country’s indicators might include economic fundamentals, innovation and entrepreneurship, demographics, education, health, safety and security, governance, personal freedom and social capital.
What about personal prosperity? Is it measured the same way? Education, health, income, family, work, etc., are probably decent metrics of prosperity. I think that most people equate prosperity to money in the bank. Is prosperity more than just how much money you have in the bank? I think so. I think it is a mindset and a pocketbook and a few other things all rolled into one.
Your pocketbook is obviously what most people measure when you ask them if they are prosperous. The opposite of prosperous is poor. I hear Dave Ramsey talk about being poor and being broke. Broke is a temporary perturbation in your time-life continuum. Dave didn’t say anything about perturbations or time-life continuums. I added those for emphasis. Broke in most cases is temporary. Poor is a mindset. The poor mindset adopts a certain attitude, a certain way of thinking – and behave accordingly.
Many millionaires have been broke more than once and rebuilt their lives and lifestyles. They had an attitude of a temporary setback and acted accordingly. The mindset of being poor can be changed, but like every other change we desire, the planning and execution starts with the individual. How many people have won the lottery and two to five years later are worse off than they were before they won millions of dollars? Too many!
There are millionaires with a poverty or scarcity mindset. They started off with a scarcity mindset and managed to accumulate money – hoard it – and continue to mentally live in a pseudo-hardship lifestyle. They have money and may also be successful, but they are not prosperous in the true sense of the word. Luke 12:48 says, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
I personally know several millionaires and in addition to their tithing they give their time and money to people and causes in need. There is a French term that I learned years ago taking a course at the Naval War College: “Noblesse oblige” a term that implies certain responsibilities comes with wealth, power, prestige and prosperity. There is an obligation to help those less fortunate.
I’ve gone a bit overboard trying to make a point that prosperity is a mindset that includes more than just wealth. It also includes a propensity to help others in need. I believe that a prosperity mindset also includes a need for continual personal development – family relationships, professional associations, health and physical conditioning, personal and business economics, sponsorship, investments, etc. They better you become, the better your opportunity to help others increases. It’s a win-win situation.
George Santayana said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Those who continually improve, who continually learn to recognize what works and what doesn’t, and when to take a risk and when to retrench, will not be caught blindsided by the vagaries of our government and business cycles. You become focused on the near and the far-term so that you can take advantage of those opportunities you are ready to seize. How do you measure your prosperity?