July 16th, 2008
02:33 PM ET

Wealth is about well-being, not money

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/16/art.vert.book.jamesarthurray.jpg width=292 height=320]
James Arthur Ray
Author, Harmonic Wealth

Contrary to popular opinion, creating unlimited financial wealth won't come from chasing more money.

Now don't get me wrong, I can help you make more money–plenty of it! And if the statement above seems counter intuitive to you, then that's exactly why you and I need to spend more time together. Check this out...

A recent Gallup poll posted in USA Today found that 55% of those surveyed state their families are worse off financially today than they were this same time last year. This is the highest number since 1976, and it's an eleven-point jump since February of this year.

Interestingly enough, in the very same survey, 26% say they're better off than they were a year ago. What gives?

How is it that in the same economy (with the same government officials, the same war, same gas prices, same housing market) that one group thinks their finances are doing poorly but another group actually believes things are better?

Now you might think that the 26% are just some of the more privileged few... maybe. But just suppose there's more to it than that. The answer to this question resides in a money paradox that a distinct few understand and most may never grasp. We'll get to that in a minute.

In my new book Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want, I share the little known truth that, while many people believe wealth is equated to vast sums of money, if you trace the root of the word wealth back to its origins, it literally translates as "well-being."

Now I know you might be thinking, "Well James, if I had more money, I'd have more true wealth and well-being!"

But studies show that this is not necessarily the case... In fact, most often it's not.

A recent survey posted by US Private Banks surveyed individuals with a net worth of $38 million or more. Of those surveyed, 65% stated that they felt "financially insecure." Now get this... These are people with a net worth of at least $38 million! So maybe it's not just the privileged few that are feeling better off than last year.

Think about it, if you have a net worth of $38M and wake up in the morning feeling financially insecure... with wealth being defined as well-being, are you truly wealthy? The obvious answer is a resounding "No!"

Many Americans believe that a new president is the answer to our situation. Many believe that dealing with the oil and gas companies will make things better. Even more think that if we get out of the war in Iraq, all will become harmonious. While all of these issues may have an impact, they are in no way the answer.

So what is the answer? What will bring more financial well-being into your life? The answer resides in the thoughts, feelings and actions of you as an individual.

First, shift your focus of attention.

Get your mind and continued thoughts off the economy and all the problems being pumped into your home by the mass media. As difficult as this may be, those who are truly wealthy–financially and otherwise–choose where they place their attention and stand guard like a watchdog at the gates of their mind.

Peter Lynch once stated, "I don't spend more than 15 minutes a year thinking about the economy." Lynch's results speak for themselves. Stop. Just stop for a moment and think rationally... There's no way in hell that any company's true worth can fluctuate as dramatically on any given day as the New York Stock Exchange would indicate. It's nothing but an opinion–and other people's opinions are only predictions if you allow them to be.
There's a principle in our universe which states: Energy flows where attention goes. So consider this: Where are you directing your energy and attention every single day? Regardless of what you answer, your current results will tell the truth... for your results are a reflection of you.

Second, stop chasing the money.

Science tells us that everything is vibration, including your thoughts, feelings and actions... And yes, even your money. Now think about this... If you're constantly thinking, feeling and acting (what I call going "3 for 3") as if you "need more, need more," what's the real message you're sending out energetically? You guessed correctly if you said the message is, "You don't have it."

The universe hears the real message at the level of vibration and states, "Your wish is my command!" As a result, you'll end up living your life always wanting but never having. You'll never get financially wealthy with that strategy.

Third, be grateful for all the good that currently exists in your life.

If all things are an energetic vibration (which they are) and energy flows where attention goes (which it does), then to place your consistent attention upon the things for which you're grateful is one of the most powerful things you can do. Unlike the message of "I don't have it," when you place your attention with gratitude on all the goodness that currently exists, it's like stating, "Thank you for this. Send me more." When you get grateful, the universe sends you more to be grateful for.

Finally, consistently focus on providing more value and service to the world.

Take the attention off of "What can I get?" and place it upon "What can I give?" If you want to have more, give more. Winners always give ten times more value than they ask for in return.

Doubt me? Look around. I challenge you to find a millionaire who's not surrounded by six-figure income earners. Likewise, find any billionaire and they'll be surrounded by multimillionaires. Why? Because you only profit handsomely in life by providing service and value to others. In other words, you'll only get your big dreams by helping others get theirs.

I recently shared the stage with billionaire Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines. There were two things Richard stated that really reinforced what I knew to be true. First, he stated, "I've never done anything in my life to make money. I just always ask, 'Is it going to be fun?'"

Next, Richard stated, "Money is just a convenient way of keeping score." If you truly understand this principle, you'll realize that in a capitalistic society, the amount of money you have (or don't have) is directly correlated to the depth and span of the value you provide.

So here's the money paradox I mentioned earlier:

The greatest way to attract and create more money (or anything for that matter) is to not need it.

Now think it through again... If you need something, the real message you're sending out is, "I don't have it." Your neediness is like a raging bonfire, and you're throwing another log on it day after day, hoping it'll go out. The only way to squelch the fire of your lack of financial abundance is to not feed it.

Just continually focus on providing tremendous value and service. Henry Ford so wisely put it years ago, "Money will never be achieved when sought after directly. It only comes as the by-product of providing a useful service."

Truth is timeless.

Get your attention off the economy and your problems, stop chasing the money, become continually grateful for all the goodness you currently have and consistently think, feel and act (going "3 for 3") on what you can give versus what you can get. You'll have true wealth and well-being in every area: relational, mental, physical, spiritual and yes, financial. And just like Branson and so many others who have figured it out, you'll have a lot of fun doing it.

That's Harmonic Wealth, my friend, and that's what we all want.

Filed under: 360° Radar • James Arthur Ray
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Sounds just like the book "The Secret". I'm way better now than a year ago. In Eckhart Tolle's works he states something like "more comes to those who have. And to those who have little.........even that is lost." Abundance attracts abundance. Lack attracts lack. If you lift someone else up........you will be lifted. Better today doesn't mean money. I sold my business, went back to work for someone else, and get to spend time with my wife and kids. When I'm holding my boy and he looks up at me and tells me he loves me.............that joy is abundance............my heart is filled up...............

    July 16, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  2. James Dylan

    Yes it is the secret; that is the American version of Karma. And actually hasn't been a secret for a few thousand years now. We may lead the world in many things, but philosophy is still drowned out by Christianity here.

    July 16, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    Happiness is a journey – not a destination. It took me so many years to really understand that; I really didn't grasp it until I became disabled and had to slow down my frenzied life and take stock of who I was and what I was going to do regardless of the disability.

    Now I have time to treasure the time I spend with my children; I have time to read something other than the next computer manual for work; and I have more time to spend with my pets. Not too shabby.

    As for the money – yes there's not as much of it but we took that as a challenge to finally live within our means – we've been paying off credit card debt and paying cash for new things when we need them. So while not as much money comes into the house it "feels" like a lot more because I don't have to worry about how to pay it anymore and I can give more to the charities I am interested in.

    Am I better off than a year ago – you better believe it!

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  4. EJ (USA)

    With that said – can I get thousands of dollars for summing up what your book probably says?

    lol – make it a million

    July 16, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  5. GF, Los Angeles

    What you're saying is what society has been with the wants in either trying to keep up with the Jones' or simply not happy with what we already have. Since we have so much material wealth in this country, many of us take for granted the life we have even though there are others in this world that don't even have food to eat every day or a safe place to live. Until we lose our selfcenteredness – we will always be unhappy. With that said – can I get thousands of dollars for summing up what your book probably says?

    July 16, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  6. Corinna, Arizona

    Its The Secret...... almost exactly...

    July 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm |
  7. Sharon from Indy

    Mr. Ray:
    You are just one more author that has the same philosophy about the happiness factor of living debt free and social conscience. It must be marketable right now in publishing. But on the other hand, the citizens of the US need this philosophy because we are up to our eyeballs in debt and self-centerness.

    Funny, the faith based-organizations or churches, mosques, temples have been pronouncing these philosophical ideas and concepts for centuries.

    Yes, your ideas are worthwhile and the trend is toward the zen type of living with less emphasis on money. So be it.

    Good luck with your book.

    July 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  8. EJ (USA)

    The book “The Secret”

    I saw the DVD and I thought that whole "Secret" thing was total crap. It's just overdone and sounds like an infomercial.

    July 16, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  9. Jennifer - Michigan

    I totally agree with Cindy. True wealth is of sound mind, body and soul. Being able to appreciate life for all the wonderful gifts of nature, beauty, and the opportunity to be a part of this world. Money will not bring any of those things to you. The more you appreciate what you currently have, the more goods things will come to you. Happiness, appreciation, and contentment will bring true wealth into everyone's life. The book "The Secret" explains the basic concept. I'm still learning about this, but it seems to work.

    July 16, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  10. JC- Los Angeles

    I enjoy your points of view but wonder if you would have written this book without a fee, book advance or profit from book sales?

    I find it interesting that people are always quoting rich people after they have made their money but never before they achieve their financial standing.

    The only people that seem to say what they mean and mean what they say are monks.

    July 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  11. Cindy

    True wealth is being whole mind, body, and soul. Having a lot of money does not make everything perfect. Like was stated here people with money are often times more insecure and have way more problems than ones who don't have it all. The ones that have to struggle are often times happier than the ones that don't have to.

    You have to make yourself happy. Money will not do it. The ones that are satisfied with their lives and don't chase money are the ones that probably said that they are better off in their lives than this time last year even though the economy is bad.


    July 16, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  12. Kim in NY

    I agree happiness breeds happiness. I am in a happy marriage, my kids are happy and they have happy friends. I don't, however, believe happiness breeds financial security. My kids are healthy and my husband is great. (He is a saint, but that's another topic.) But these facts are not going to help me pay for the gas I need in my car – NOW, or my electric bill, or fuel bill this winter.

    July 16, 2008 at 2:51 pm |