Ecuador, Refugio Terra La Esperanza
The brakes bit hard, the bus squeaked and stopped. I looked down to the left. Between the tires and the mud-covered edge were only centimeters. I tried to spot the bottom. Not possible. Dense fog clouded my view. I estimate it would have been a 300 meter free fall.
They call it the Road of Death for a reason, I am sure.
Now, I am in Ecuador. Alive and well.
After spending the last two days on buses, I booked into a ramshackle hostel in Ibarra, a city surrounded by active volcanoes, halfway to Quito.
Legend has it, rock icons like Bob Dylan and members of Pink Floyd camped out here, hunting for magic mushrooms in the wild 60’s. Back then, it was not a hostel. It was an old lady’s house. These guys squatted in her backyard, tripping on psilocybin.
Today it’s called Hostel Refugio Terra, the perfect place if you need to unplug, unwind, and reconnect with nature.
Over the past days of not writing, I had a realization.
In fact, it started two weeks ago…
I sat down with Derk Norde, founder of MovingWorlds, in his Medellin headquarter. The smell of fresh coffee beans breezed through the office. Derk, sporting a white shirt and jeans, looked more tired than usual. It was a Friday afternoon and pushing your own business is hard. I came to talk about improving his marketing. We ended up talking about his life story, his travels, and his future plans.
Listening to his stories about rescuing sea turtles, living in Buenos Aires, and now connecting social impact organizations with skilled experts through MovingWorlds, I realized the profound difference between wealth and money.
But first, let me introduce you to my former manager at a major consulting firm in Manhattan.
Let’s call him Chris.
Chris worked every day of the week. Chris was overweight. We overheard Chris arguing with his wife on the phone, daily. Chris never smiled. Chris fiddled with his phone while having lunch. He demanded overtime, unpaid.
Chris had dough. He made a couple hundred grand each year.
Yet, he was not wealthy.
In fact, he was poor.
Here is why.
Chris confused money with wealth, kind of like eating the menu rather than the meal.
He accumulated numbers on a screen somewhere in a bank headquarter, chasing the abstract form of wealth: money.
He neglected his physical body, emotional health and spiritual health.
As far as all of us could tell, he was miserable.
The Difference Between Wealth and Money
On top, and this may shock you, true wealth does not require loads of money.
Today at breakfast, I talked to a guy from French Guiana. He was on a mission. With bright eyes he told me about hiking the best trails in Ecuador, sleeping in tents. I assume he barely spends $100 a week, living his ideal “wealthy life.”
Anyone scraping toilet seats for a month can accumulate this money.
I guess the problem is simple.
Most people have no idea what they want. They keep on doing what they are doing just to keep on doing it. They buy into mainstream-myths and conform with ideas they have been told, trying to impress people they don’t like.
Most people, and I include myself here, just stack-up money, buy what others say is valuable and hide behind socially acceptable roles, playing it safe.
But the payoff is huge…
They will never find out how their own “wealthy life” feels like, spending too much time making money with no sense of direction.
If this applies to you, these three questions can bounce you back on track to true wealth, help getting your priorities straight, and lead a life of your design.
Three Questions to Lead your own Wealthy Life
1. What would you do if money was no object?
Watch Alan Watts, twice.
2. If you’d die tonight, what would be your biggest regret?
Picture yourself floating over your own funeral. What do you wish this now-dead person would’ve done more of, while there was still life left to live?
3. Who do you have to come clean with to finish unfinished business from the past?
Yes, exactly that person you don’t want to talk to. Go clean up your act, make amends, and finish the past.
That’s all for now.