I stumbled upon a unique list the other day, in a way it’s the spiritual opposite of a to-do list. It’s a reminder that for all the concerns we may have about financial matters, the things that matter most in life have nothing to do with money.
The list comes from the inspirational author Roy T. Bennett and it serves as a helpful reminder that while money may be important, it does not equate to happiness or a life well-lived. In fact, the following acts and attributes have more to do with what’s in our heart than the balance of our bank account.
The Top 15 Things Money Can’t Buy
Since I’ve written about many of these “things” before, I’ve added my own thoughts below as well several story links, should you want to do some additional reading on any of these topics.
- Time. You can make more money but you can’t make more time.
- Happiness. Chase it and you won’t catch it, you’ve got to let it come to you.
- Inner Peace. Even when the world around you is a little nuts, it’s possible to stay calm and centered within.
- Integrity. A combination of honesty and strong moral principles, traits we should seek in those closest to us.
- Love. There’s romantic love and also the love that expects nothing in return.
- Character. Perhaps the most important trait we can possess.
- Manners. Because there’s never a situation where rudeness is acceptable.
- Health. The body is a vehicle for the soul. Take good care of it.
- Respect. It can never be demanded, it can only be earned.
- Morals. The compass we live by that tells us what is right and equally important, what is wrong.
- Trust. The glue that binds loved ones and close friends.
- Patience. Always let life proceed at its own pace, never force things to happen.
- Class. The ability to remain above the fray.
- Common sense. Know what is possible and what is not.
- Dignity. Have a sense of pride in yourself while keeping your ego in check.
A billionaire weighs in—and agrees money isn’t everything
John Templeton was a legendary investor and founder of the Templeton Funds. While he amassed a fortune during his lifetime, he lived a simple life and later gave away most of his riches to philanthropic causes. Writing in his book The Worldwide Laws of Life, Templeton shared the following discovery he made:
The greatest happiness in life comes not from the comforts and pleasures that money can buy, but from the investment of the days of our lives in a purpose that transcends purely personal interests.
Templeton states that happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth—and that while it may be easy to determine our material wealth, quantifying our spiritual wealth entails taking a long, honest look at our lives. We might ask ourselves the questions:
- What are our relationships like?
- Have we learned to love and accept others without reservation?
- Have we learned to forgive and forget perceived wrongs?
- Have we used our talents to the upmost?
Templeton points out that the good thing about spiritual wealth is that is easy to obtain. It’s an “inside job” meaning we don’t have to rely on anyone else to achieve it. We have the tools necessary within us which puts it all within our control. We are the ones who determine how successful we are by how much we want to open our hearts and souls.
If we have not developed a reservoir of spiritual wealth, no amount of money is likely to make us happy. Spiritual wealth provides faith. It gives us love. It brings and expands wisdom. Spiritual wealth leads to happiness because it guides us into useful or loving relationships.
It all comes back to pursuing a purpose that is greater than ourselves. Templeton advises us to commit our personal resources—our ideals, our love, our talents, time and energy—to support the pursuit of our larger life purpose. And while money may help, it’s by no means a prerequisite.