This blog post was written by Kristen Peairs, Nutritionist and Meditation Guru at Nivati. You can see more of their content on the Nivati platform and on the Nivati blog. If you want to learn more about Nivati, click here.
Let’s talk about prosperity. When the term prosperity arises in conversation, it’s frequently within the context of money. However, prosperity encompasses so much more than money.
Prosperity is a state of mind. It is a feeling. It is a personal term that any of us can use as a reference for where we feel we are in our lives.
Definition of Prosperity
Taking a moment to define prosperity, I learned that the Merriam-Webster prosperity definition is “the condition of being successful or thriving.”
Notice that there is no mention of money in the definition of prosperity. Contemplating the terms “successful and thriving” reminds me that these words, too, are subjective experiences unique to each person. There are no universally specific personal parameters that label us as prosperous once we complete activities “A,” “B,” and “C.”
The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, has one of the most inclusive definitions of prosperity that I have ever seen. In their definition, prosperity is more than finances, success, or thriving; it is about peace, health, mutual support, and respect for all people. From their viewpoint, it seems that a truly prosperous world could be a world that works for every person, rather than a select few.
It’s a different way to think about prosperity, right?
What shapes our personal definition of prosperity?
Without specific standards to define who is prosperous and who is not, how do we know whom to look toward as examples? How can we reach a point where we recognize ourselves as prosperous?
In this world that most frequently associates prosperity with money, how do we expand beyond that association?
To gain additional insight on this topic, I sat down and talked with D’Aaron Gonzalez, co-founder of Apostrophe, Inc., a digital platform that simplifies financial lingo to create confidence.
Two factors he identifies as important in shaping our basic view of prosperity are as follows:
- How we think.
- What we know.
From our family and community, we learn values and beliefs. Our values and beliefs strongly influence how we think. If our family believes that prosperity is all about money, then it’s likely we will also associate prosperity with money. If our families value honesty, then we may also value honesty.
Things can get a little murky when families place a high value on experiences such as success, thriving, and prosperity. As we talked about earlier, what do these terms really mean? For some people, success is having a job, while for others, success is earning $100K or more per year. It can be easy to become caught up in chasing standards to which there are no defined parameters.
Education influences what we know. Through education, we can acquire new knowledge to expand or even change our perspective about how we want to proceed in life.
During our interview, D’Aaron shared that when he was growing up, finances weren’t always easy. He didn’t realize until he went to college that his financial education was different from that of his friends. Planning ahead, saving, and sacrificing wants now for security later were new concepts that caused him to begin thinking and acting in ways that supported where he wanted to be in the long term. Reflecting on his childhood, he also noted that his experience felt rich in love, family, culture, and connection, so by some standards, prosperity was present, regardless of finances.
Defining Prosperity for Ourselves
Who decides that we are prosperous? We do. It’s powerful to realize that how we think and what we know can either hold us back or propel us forward. Paying attention to what we value and the beliefs we have provides insight into why we think as we do. Sometimes, values change, and beliefs need updating. Within the context of having a prosperous life experience, it is important to be aware of what we are valuing and believing. Self-reflection, reading, taking classes, and talking to insightful people can be supportive for becoming connected to our personal experience of prosperity.
Values and Prosperity
Whether we are conscious of it or not, values play a big role in shaping our lives. Values are how we measure what’s important. Usually, we choose life experiences that match our values. Some people hold family as their top value, while others place safety, adventure, or exploration in the top spot. It’s normal to have many values. Knowing our values and assessing if we are living in alignment with them gives us an outline of what’s important for our personal prosperity.
In my prosperity journey, my values of learning, wellness, and relationship are of such high importance, I often choose opportunities that support these values whether other necessities such as abundant money are part of the offer. This way of choosing can sometimes create problems which then causes me to re-examine my beliefs.
Beliefs and Prosperity
Beliefs shape how we think. They provide guidelines for what we think is true which helps us feel safe and connected to people who share the same beliefs. Unfortunately, just because we believe something doesn’t mean it is true. One person’s belief that money and happiness (or finance and happiness) go together and another person’s belief that money and evil go together are true for them, not necessarily for everyone.
This is the point where education can be helpful. Whether from a book, a person, a podcast, or somewhere else, education offers opportunities for different perspectives. Once we have an expanded perspective, we sometimes realize that the way we’ve always believed isn’t right for us anymore. Our next step is to decide our new way of believing. It can be both scary and exciting to walk the road of releasing old beliefs in order to adopt new ones, but it is outstanding for our personal growth.
Assessing our Prosperity Parameters
Reflect upon the following questions to gain clarity about your personal sense of prosperity.
How do you define success?
How will you know when you are successful?
How do you define thriving?
How will you know you are thriving?
For more on this topic, check out this video:
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