Who You Are, Not What You Have

It’s common for people to measure what they’ve accomplished by what they have accumulated. Often a person is eager to show off how much they make, what they are worth, or what they own. They erroneously believe their financial status is impressive.

Although it’s true money comes as a result of service to others, how much you accumulate is not a measure of who you are. Who you are is determined by how you treat others, regardless of your financial standing.
When you pass on, your legacy is not the assets you leave behind but rather how many lives you have positively impacted. Many millionaires have been despised. Conversely, those of modest means have been admired by all who knew them.

This is not to say that money is bad or lack of it is good. The fundamental issue is how you live. Who you are isn’t related to what you have. You don’t need a lot of possessions to be a great person.
It’s not important how much money you make if you discredit your character to obtain it. When you compromise your ethics, no amount of wealth can compensate for your loss. Once your integrity is tainted, it is virtually impossible to restore it.

The size of your house is not as important as how many people you welcome into it. A big house may be a sign of financial status. Yet size does not equate to warmth. A huge house can feel lifeless. A shack can feel cheery. You make the difference by how you treat visitors. Make them feel welcome, and your house is transformed into a home. When a guest feels like an intruder, a dwelling is no more than a collection of construction materials. It’s that simple.

How many people you befriend is more significant than how many friends you have. The distinction between friends and acquaintances is frequently blurred. Merely knowing someone doesn’t make him or her a friend. People who associate with you because of what you have, aren’t friends. Should your financial standing diminish, they will flee.

When you are a true friend to another, there is a good chance you will have a friend in return. Even if the other person doesn’t respond in kind, you shouldn’t be bitter. A sincere person doesn’t act in the hope of a payback. They get genuine satisfaction from assisting whenever possible, without any desire for reward.
How you treat your neighbors is more important than the neighborhood you live in. What’s the point of living in a fancy gated community where no one speaks to each other? A true neighborhood exists only when the residents behave neighborly.

Being a good neighbor begins with a smile along with a friendly greeting. In the days of the pioneers, your neighbors were essential to your survival. Today, you don’t have the same dependency on those who live around you. But you can still be friendly.

Working to the best of your ability is more important than the title of your job. Being the best at what you do, regardless of your occupation, is the surest way to get a promotion. Even if you have reached a dead-end at your current job, opportunity awaits you elsewhere. Being the best is something you will carry with you wherever you go.

The content of your character is more important than the content of your bank account. In the long, and short run, it is how you are known and remembered.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper. 2006 Bryan Golden