What is Prosperity?

In the mundane world prosperity and abundance are defined as having more than enough. But more than enough of what? Are we really prosperous if we have a large pile of rocks in our front yard? If the large pile of rocks were diamonds, would that change our view?

Here is the crux of the matter and where perception fits in. First, we have to define what our values are. What is the difference between having 100 pebbles and 100 ten-carat diamonds? What makes a diamond valuable and a pebble less so?

This, of course, is an extreme example but used deliberately to prove a point. Whatever the material things are in our lives, they are perceived according to some arbitrary standard.

This is the basis of our perception. It is a judgment based on some learned, and probably long forgotten rule. It is our emotional reaction towards a neutral event or symbol which someone along the line has convinced us is valuable or worthless.

If in the above example, diamonds were found in every creek bed, or along every roadway, and pebbles were carefully mined in exclusive mines, and meticulously cut and set into precious jewelry, it would be the pebbles that would be sought after. There are three main differences between a pebble and a diamond: their respective atomic weight in the periodic table (which in itself is merely a measurement), their relative scarcity, and the value we place on them.

This same example can be extrapolated into all physical items, including money. What may be “enough” for one, may be just barely scraping to get by for another. If you lived in New York City and had an income of $1,000 a month, you would be hard-pressed to survive. If you had that same income in Crossroads, Missouri, you could live quite comfortably. In some very poor parts of the World, that income would allow you to live like a king.

Is “perception” starting to make sense now? Prosperity and abundance — both are based on perception, and what we have been taught to believe.

“Money can’t buy happiness”, says an old adage, “but it sure can buy a lot of toys to make me happy” echoes the world. Can it? Again it depends on your perception and definition of happiness. Having enough to eat, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and loving companionship seem to be shared essentials in the human experience.

Whether “enough to eat” means a bowl of rice or a meal at the finest Four-Star Restaurant is a matter of relativity. A mud hut or Windsor Castle are both classified as abodes. Having a loincloth or several closets full of Dior creations, the results are the same, both are simply clothes on your back.

Then what is happiness? How much is enough? Happiness, love, abundance, affirmation, prosperity, are not absolutes but are learned human conditions based on how we first perceive then measure our SELF against some imaginary standard. These perceptions and measurements constitute our values. Out of these values arise our ethical and moral codes.

This can be boiled down to a very basic concept: getting versus giving and in the final analysis is the difference between a perceived saint and a sinner. It’s about wisdom and a system of beliefs. That’s what it’s about!

Follow the links to learn the thought of others on the issue of prosperity. We invite you to send your own thoughtful essays that deal with this concept that others may benefit from your wisdom.