Kitty Hutchins began knocking on the door of 89 year-old Geraldine Feist. Something was different this time. Kitty had delivered lunch to Geraldine many times over the past several years. Kitty has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for over a decade. She had developed a nice bond with Geraldine. “We usually chat a little bit. She’s told me about her family and she’s just a real sweetheart”, according to Kitty.
After a few moments waiting for Geraldine to answer the door, Kitty could hear that she was inside and the dogs barking. She followed protocol which was to call the office. The Meals on Wheels office called Geraldine’s emergency contact which was followed by paramedics arriving at the house. They found her lying in blood. She was later diagnosed by doctors as having multiple strokes.
Kitty is a volunteer. She is not paid with money, rather it is from achieving “Purpose” and feeling “Connected & Loved”. She saved Geraldine life, yet she doesn’t call herself a hero. She said she did what the other 350 volunteers would do to help their clients, and in Kitty’s case, it was 89-year-old Geraldine Feist. “I like giving back,” said Hutchins, “The people are so appreciative of getting a meal.”
We often fall into the trap of measuring prosperity by what people do for a living, the car they drive or home they live in. Yet, what we may want more than money or material things is Intrinsic Prosperity like “Purpose”, being “Connected & Loved”, have “Control’ and experience “Competence/Success”. We’re complicated, as Intrinsic Prosperity represents only 7 of the 24 Prosperity Components we want. Intrinsic Prosperity is hard see or measure. Our pursuits of all other prosperity components may really only be about achieving Intrinsic Prosperity.
Purpose – we do not get paid to become a parent and it now estimated to cost $241,080 to raise a child. We volunteer coach youth sports, we provide free taxi service to our kids and 2.2 million people are Meals on Wheels volunteers. Justin Knapp is a 30 year-old pizza delivery man with advanced degrees in philosophy and political science. Knapp has made over 1.1 million edits on Wikipedia in achieving his desired sense of purpose.
Connected & Loved – We will do some crazy things to find and develop being “Connected & Loved” within an intimate relationship with a significant other. We leave good jobs and resist promotions to protect and enrich relationships with our families and spouses.
Control – We don’t like to be told what to do. We are willing to sacrifice more income for autonomy. Ultimatums may even make us do things that negatively impact our incomes or lives. We like choice and are willing to pay more for something we can customize, tailor and make unique to us.
Opportunity – We take steep financial risks by foregoing income to go to college while taking on student loans to finance expensive tuition. We’re willing to pay a large sum for an opportunity or a small amount to buy lottery tickets. We sacrifice steady paychecks and savings to open businesses for the opportunity to create what we want, whether it’s for money, control or purpose.
Competence/Success – We may celebrate new responsibilities and promotions without pay raises, because our competence has been recognized. We play Candy Crush till 2am and may even take time away at work to get to the next level of Angry Birds. We are so competitive that some people (not us) ignore gas mileage and give their cars a little extra gas when someone is trying to pass them.
Accomplishment/Pride – We train and compete in 10K runs and ironman competitions that take us away from our jobs. This is probably why we have so much respect for Olympic Athletes that sacrifice income for accomplishment. Many Olympians have low paying jobs yet succeed in their sport while only receiving small objects made of gold, silver or bronze.
Confidence – We may stay in the comfort zone of jobs with lower pay and lower risk. We may envy those with the confidence to leave. We may not even be getting the “Purpose” or feel “Connected & Loved”, yet it may seem better than failure from trying something else. The elimination of fear, doubt or risk may make us feel safe temporarily, yet trusting others with our destiny may be even more of a risk.
Are material things only metaphors for intrinsic prosperity?
Is a large “Weekly Paycheck” really just validation of our “Competence/Success” or a way to finance a “Purpose” (i.e., 5 kids through college)?
Is our “Career Path” really about “Control” or “Opportunity”?
Is our “Economic Lifestyle” really about “Control” or to impress certain people to become “Connected & Loved”?
Are “Physical Possessions” (car, house ) really just statements to ourselves and others that you are “Competent” or maybe to impress others you would like to be “Loved & Connected” by?
Is your “Annual Saving” really about “Accomplishment/Pride” in what you are doing in life?
Is your “Financial Wealth” really about “Control”, feeling safe from worrying about income and the flexibility to pursue your “Purpose”?
Is your “Reputation/Network” really about being “Connected & Loved” or in knowing the people you need to help you achieve your desired “Purpose”?
The understanding of what you really want could save you time and money. It may help you get the 7 things you may want more than money and material things.