Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Contentment & Wealth (...And Photography)

Abandoned Interior - Mojave, California
"Poverty is a state of mind."

I read that quote this morning. It was credited to an unknown ancient philosopher (whatever that means). But I believe it is a true statement.

Both my wife and I grew up poor at different times in our childhood. Our parents had financial troubles and we certainly spent time below the so-called poverty line. But as kids we didn't know that we were poor. We didn't grasp our family's financial situations and didn't really care, either. We were just happy kids.

If you are poor but content, are you really poor? If you are rich but discontent, are you really rich? Have you ever noticed that many poor people are happy and that many rich people are miserable?

Contentment is the key to wealth. Not wealth as society defines it, but inner wealth, which is true wealth, and the only one that matters.

People want more. More, more, more! We never have enough. If we just had a little more money. If we just had a larger house. If we just lived in that nicer community. Drove that better car. Ate dinner at that nicer restaurant. Had that new camera. If only, then we'd be happy.
Hole In The Wall - Tehachapi, California
But if you had those things would you really be content? Probably not, because things are empty and the joy is very temporary. You'll soon be looking for that next thing. That next pay raise. That next shiny new toy.

Contentment is found within. It's not wanting more things, but being happy with and enjoying what you already have. It doesn't matter that it's not the newest or best. Whatever it is, it's yours, and you are fortunate to have it.

Instead of focusing on what you don't have and what you can't afford, look instead at what you do have. Find the positive things in your life and realize that you are blessed to be in your position. There are people who are envious of you, who would love to be you.

You need the basics--food, clothes, shelter--and friends and family. If you have those things then you have everything required for happiness. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake. In fact, those "above and beyond" things can get in the way of your happiness if you are not careful, like too much frosting ruining a tasty cake.

Less is more in life (and photography). Simplicity is better than complexity. Have a positive attitude. Be content. Then you'll experience true wealth.

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