Now I am back in Europe I see my family more. During my first trip back home, about 10 family members visited. Among them, was my closest aunt. I am very close to her in many ways. We lived together for probably 10 years, she looked after me and we are also connected in the sense that we are the 2 most educated people in the family. This is an important point in this story. We both were lucky to have the opportunity to study. When I met her face to face, I was thrilled to tell her about my new job! It was opening a world of new opportunities to me. But to my surprise, when I told her “my new job is much better than my previous one” her response was “Is it more relaxed?”. I was stunned. It took me a sec to process.
My worldview is “better” = learning+new opportunities. It seemed that in her mind “better” = work less+less stress. I can explain why. She is actually working a lot, she is stressed and probably making more money than her humble religious lifestyle requires. She is also closer to retirement age. All that combined, I can understand her worldview. The part that bothered me was the impact it can have on people around and in the community. I have a basic issue with “something” being enough. In my mind there is only one way, and it is up. Not because I am greedy or because I want to be the richest person in the cemetery. Rather because this is what I believe it takes for my kids and their kids to be well-off. I also believe it contributes to giving Blacks a voice. Let me put it simply. If Blacks, as a whole, was the wealthiest community in the US, the killing of Blacks would stop, or would not even have started in the first place. Maybe it is pure utopia to imagine that Blacks could go from the poorest to the wealthiest community. Maybe it will take 500 years for it to happen. Still, it is 10x more energizing to me than thinking of spending 5 stacks on bottle service in Miami every week…
I got carried away here. My main message is we should all aspire to build wealth. Using a Chris Rock quote to explain the difference between being rich and wealthy: “Shaquille O’Neal is rich, the guy who is writing Shaq’s paycheck (when he was still playing basketball) is wealthy.
Having the mindset of building wealth, even without being wealthy, is a major step to building the community’s influence and levelling the playing field. So when you see someone excited about his/her life prospects, encourage them, even if you do not understand it. You need to fuel the wealth mindset. Even if that person that person does not become wealthy, that person will be fulfilled and may fuel the mindset of someone else.