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  • Tina Hyland

How Do You Define Wealth?

I recently heard a story about Bill Gates that I thought was very interesting. Mr. Gates was asked if there was anyone in the world who was richer than he, and he said "yes" I can think of one man. (This was when he was the richest man in the world, at least on paper).

He was traveling through an airport years ago, when he didn't have the fame or fortune he has today and wanted to purchase a newspaper from a newspaper stand in the airport. At checkout, he realized he didn't have enough change for the paper and began to put it back. The clerk, who was also the owner of the store, offered to give him the paper for free. At first Mr. Gates refused, but eventually accepted the paper.

Months later, he found himself once again at the same airport and the same store wanting to purchase a newspaper and once again, didn't have the change to do so. Once again, the owner of the store offered to give him the paper for free. After a few rounds of "no I couldn't possibly" and "please, I insist", Mr. Gates took the paper.

Fast forward many years later after Bill Gates has his fame and fortune, he thought of the store owner who had so kindly offered him the free newspapers and wanted to repay him somehow. He sought out and found him, asked the man if he knew who he was and if he remembered giving him the free newspapers. The man said yes to both questions and added "twice". Mr. Gates explained how he appreciated his generosity and wanted to repay him somehow by offering to do something for him, the man need only ask.

The man explained, although he appreciated the gesture, it wouldn't be the same because when he gave him the free newspapers, he did it as a struggling business owner who paid for those papers out of his own profits as an act of kindness and Mr. Gates would be giving him something as the richest man in the world.

At that moment, he realized this store owner was richer than he was because of his acts of kindness and pure generosity.

The truly rich are those who possess a kind heart rather than a lot of money. If wealth is measured in kindness to others, how rich would you be? If you believe wealth is kindness, how rich could you become? What would you do to build your wealth? How committed would you be? How persistent would you be?

How wonderful would it be if we all set out to "build our wealth" today and everyday? Imagine the impact that would make!

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