Yes we are complicated. Even if we are able to figure out what we really want, we are virtually handed a Rubik’s Cube to figure out how to make it happen. We know that to be “Connected & Loved” we need to give up some of our “Control”. We have careers that are either more about “Purpose” or the “Weekly Paycheck”, even though we want both. It is part of our national debate, “Freedom & Privacy” of our phone records versus “Community Safety” with tools to foil terrorism plots.
Even if you figure it out, we change. Our definitions of prosperity evolve with maturity as it does when levels of prosperity are adjusted by a newborn child or a job loss. People that are dying rarely say they wish they made more money at work.
For most of the history of mankind, desire was mostly focused on achieving basic physical needs (food, water, shelter, and clothing). With human progress making big advances in the 2oth century, people began spending less of their waking hours trying to achieve these basic physical needs. It is also when it became more complicated.
Sigmund Freud tried to help sort this out by introducing psychoanalysis and the id, ego and superego frameworks. Abraham Maslow authored the hierarchy of needs to describe our desires for human fulfillment. Edward Deci and Richard Ryan introduced our intrinsic motivations with self-determination theory.
If you boil it down to the essentials, there are 24 prosperity components we want. We each have a different definition of these prosperity components and we are each at a different level of attainment. While 24 may not seem like a short list, try to find components that are not important. It’s why we are so complicated.
Basic Physical Needs – Water to drink, shower and plumbing. Clothing that is seasonal, appropriate for job and for kids going to school. Housing or shelter with heat and air conditioning. Food to stay nourished.
Time – To be with family and friends. To achieve purpose, pursue passions or other desired activities. Time off to get to the doctor, kid events or resolve personal business. Working 50+ hours is not required to make ends meet.
Health – Access and means to get medicine, quality healthcare and healthy food. Fitness and discipline to stay healthy. The ability to be physically active with family, career, passion or other desired activities.
Support – Moral, physical and emotional support from family, friends and/or care givers. Someone to call when your car is broken or to pick up your kids when delayed at work.
Safety – Feel safe (about physical harm and harassment) at home, neighborhood, workplace and for children at school. Personal security, safety net for accidents, illness or other adverse advents
Weekly Paycheck – A steady regular income from a job, business, retirement fund or unemployment.
Career Path – A secure job or business that complements your skills, education level and/or passions. The ability to get a similar job quickly and/or have opportunities for promotion. To be in an industry and/or have knowledge and skills that are expected to be in demand in the future.
Economic Lifestyle – A desired lifestyle with an income stream that supports it. A manageable level of debt with minimal stress from fear an event that could trigger major changes.
Physical Possessions – The desired home, home furnishings, automobile, clothing, electronics, etc. to achieve your desired quality of life.
Annual Savings – A good percentage of income each year going toward saving for a house, child’s education, retirement, a goal or to become financially secure.
Financial Wealth – A good amount of savings or equity to ensure an economic safety net and confidence in a desired future lifestyle.
Reputation & Network – A good personal reputation (trust, credibility, competence) that enables you to accomplish your desired dreams and goals. The desired network of people such as family & friends, career, passion (church, hobby), community and online connections (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
Purpose – The feeling of having purpose with family & friends, career or school, passion (church, hobby), community (neighborhood) and/or with online community (Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.).
Connected & Loved – Quality interpersonal relationships, feelings of belonging and loved. This may include a partner (intimacy), family, friends, colleagues (or classmates), community or with people involved in common activities.
Control – The feeling and ability to have control over aspects of life. A healthy balance of being committed to people and having purpose yet still have a feeling of control.
Opportunity – The opportunity to pursue and fulfill dreams, desires and/or make changes within life.
Competence & Competitive Success – winning, meeting and overcoming challenges, achieving high performance. Having desired levels of knowledge, people skills, empathy (ability to relate and understand others), wisdom, creativity and enduring grit (perseverance).
Accomplishment & Pride – Feeling good about where you are in life, who you are, what you have, choices made, actions taken and the people you have around you. Proud of accomplishments, personal achievements (i.e., running a marathon), completing things and overcoming challenges.
Confidence – Confident that you belong and are worthy, in abilities to make changes, successfully achieve goals and dreams.
Freedom & Privacy – Protection of individual rights and freedoms. A democratically elected government, absent of autocrats and corruption. The ability to keep aspects of life private. Respect for religion and political views and the ability to express them.
Community Safety – Quality homeland security (national defense and law enforcement), local emergency services (fire, ambulance) and justice against people that cause you harm (harassment, steal, etc.).
Community Resources – Natural (parks, clean air and water), energy (oil, natural gas, solar, wind), infrastructure (highways, internet, wireless, power grid, airports), safe and reliable products (medicine, cars, food), and quality services (doctors & hospitals, education and government).
Community Economic – Free market based economy that is reasonably regulated. An entrepreneurial environment that welcomes new ideas and ventures. A fair chance.
Community Cultural – Diversity and respect for many difference cultures. Diversity of ethnic restaurants, festivals and expressions of culture. Rich art, theater, music, etc.