You are here

Would You Rather Be Rich or Valuable?

A friend once told me that if we were to gather up all of the money in the world - some 400 trillion US dollars - and distribute it equally among the global human population, within a decade, all of this money would flow in a way where we would end up with about the same level of inequality that we have today.

For obvious reasons, we could never carry out such an experiment, but I feel there is merit to the idea that money does not flow randomly and without reason. While there are rare outlying scenarios, generally, money flows toward things that are valuable.

Kyle Cease shares the example of Oprah Winfrey - if she were to suddenly have all of her riches taken away from her, she could very quickly rebuild a high level of wealth. Why? Because she is valuable. Oprah has tapped into parts of herself that countless people in the world find value in. The skills she has developed, her core life values, and the experiences that she has manifested will always be a part of her regardless of the state of her bank account.

The point is this: if given a choice between being rich or valuable, it's far better to be valuable because being valuable can't be taken away from us.

When we put in the work to become valuable, our security comes not from how much money we have but from knowing what we are capable of doing in the world.

How do we become valuable? There are many ways, of course, and my personal belief is that the best ways are rooted in doing things we love, an idea I touched upon here:

How To Increase Your Value

More specific actions that can increase our value include:

1. Prioritize getting high quality sleep:

High Quality Sleep

2. Spend time every day deeply connecting with people and things about our life that we are immensely grateful for:

Gratitude Is Powerfully Healing

3. Work to stay highly mobile and functionally strong:

Mobility Videos

4. Listen with earnest intent to understand:

Empahty Is A Priceless Gift

5. Understand what money really is and how it's governed by today's central banks:

Michael Saylor & Ross Stevens Discuss The Brokenness of Central Banking

Just in case there are some who are interpreting these thoughts to mean that we should become valuable so that we can become rich, allow me to clarify my thoughts on material wealth: It is not my place to judge what others do with money that they have honestly earned. But I'm grateful to build financial security because doing so allows me to have more positive impact on those around me. I want to be ultra helpful and generous to every person and cause that I love, and this is why I strive to be valuable.

I'm reminded of Chuck and Helga Feeney, multi-billionaires who built Duty Free Shoppers and have set up their life to eventually pass on with no money to their names. Over years, they have given practically all of their hard-earned wealth - some 8 billion dollars - to various charities, foundations, and universities all around the world. In their late 80s, they live in a small apartment in San Francisco, grateful to have lived out their motto of giving while still living.

So some takeaway questions: If you were to lose all of your possessions overnight, how do you think you would feel? Do you draw your security from your material assets or from your skills, capabilities, and impact on those in your circle of life? Do you believe that you could efficiently rebuild your life with all that you know and your current skills? Would you rather be rich or valuable?

Sending love to all,



Join more than 80,000 readers worldwide who receive Dr. Ben Kim's free newsletter

Receive simple suggestions to measurably improve your health and mobility, plus alerts on specials and giveaways at our catalogue

Please Rate This

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.