There was a heart-warming story on the news the other day. It
seems that there is a multimillionaire in New York city called
George Weiss, who has taken it upon himself to personally help as
many of the poor black children of Harlem as he can.
He is personally funding the college education of literally
hundreds of these needy children, who would not otherwise be able
to go. Better than this, he actually gets personally involved in
his work. He visits the schools, meets the kids, talks to the
parents, and listens to what they’re saying. Kids or parents can
even phone him up if they need advice, or are in some kind of
That’s not all. He’s starting even younger these days; giving the
same promise of a college education to the kindergarten children!
This is an inspiring and wonderful example of giving, especially
in a world that seems to be increasingly oriented in the other
direction. However, it also goes to illustrate some important
The first is that, contrary to the beliefs of many, all rich
people are not invariably self-serving, thieving, hard-hearted,
nasty SOBs who don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves. It
really does prove that you can be a genuinely NICE and CARING
person and still become a multimillionaire.
Sadly, many people do not want to become wealthy because they
believe they must somehow, by necessity, turn into a
cold-hearted monster. They would rather remain poor and “pure”
than be rich and “corrupt”. No matter where this attitude was
acquired, whether in the course of daily living or from parental
influence, it is a FALSE philosophy that does not well serve the
person who believes it.
Actually, this is usually an excuse given by people who are
simply too afraid to take the risks necessary, or learn what
needs to be learned, in order to achieve financial success. It’s
so much easier to just “make do”, pretend you could have done it
if you had really wanted to, but CHOSE not to out of pure and
Yet, the fact is that most, if not all, self-made millionaires
understand the principles of abundance very well. They understand
that when one gives, and does so with an open and generous heart,
then one activates the laws of the universe to work for you, and
to bring you even more abundance.
You have doubtless heard this many times before. However, what
you may not be aware of is just how commonly understood and
accepted this principle is amongst self-made financially wealthy
people, AND how poorly understand, hardly ever believed, and
almost never practiced it is amongst people who remain poor by
their own choice. It draws a cynical laugh at best amongst the
latter group, but virtually never amongst the former.
If you make s study of wealthy people, you will find this
universal idea cropping up again and again. Indeed, it is often
surprising just WHO firmly espouses it. It is NOT just the people
with a sort of “spaced out” mindset, but also the most
hard-nosed, determined super achievers in the upper levels of the
business world. You might not, at face value, expect these people
to embrace such a strange seemingly metaphysical concept, but
they have found it to be as real and reliable as the chairs they
Another point often missed when people claim that they prefer
to be poor, and which is well brought out by the Weiss story, is
that abundant people can actually HELP many more people than
people whose lives are filled with lack. This is true as a
general principle, but it especially true of finances. How can
you give, if you have nothing to give to begin with?
The plain fact is that rich people can help more, because they
have more resources at their disposal. This is true, whether the
matter at hand is helping the needy, spreading the benefits of
some philosophy or teaching, working to help the environment, or
anything else. It’s worth thinking about, next time you wish you
could greatly help some worthy cause, but can only afford a few
dollars at most.
Now, it IS definitely important to maintain the correct balance
between worldly and spiritual activities. It would be a mistake
to cultivate worldly affluence at the expense of your soul. Yes,
it IS also true that excessive riches, and the pursuit of them,
can be a huge distraction from what is ultimately more important
in life – namely the growth of spiritual awareness.
However, provided you have not retired from the world to become a
monk and pursue the spiritual quest in that manner, you are
always going to be balancing financial affairs with spiritual
growth throughout your life. Hence, you might as well do both
well, rather than just one (or believe that one necessarily
excludes the other). Don’t make this balance an excuse for doing
one and not the other.
If further proof were needed, ponder what Mr. Weiss is doing with
his time and money, and think of the huge positive impact he is
having upon society through his generous help. This is a
wonderful and valid model for what true affluence means, and the
power it gives you to benefit many.
Think poor, you stay poor, and your cup fills with excuses and
blame. Think rich, you become rich, and your cup runneth over to
benefit many others around you.
Which do you prefer? Take a look at the life you are living and
you will see the evidence of your choice. And if you don’t like
what you see, remember… you can always change it!
Copyright Asoka Selvarajah 2005. All Rights Reserved.
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