Rich in pocket or rich in life

The recent publicity of 40 billionaires in the US who have come forward to pledge half their wealth worth about 150 billion dollars to charity have raised many eyebrows.

Some welcome the gesture to help the poor and needy, others speculate if this is some kind of publicity drive while others wonder if this movement has come a little too late. I think regardless of motives, as long as resources are allotted appropriately to the people who need them, who cares?

Apparently some readers are disgusted by the comments made by these billionaires in explaining their rationale to participate in this pledge. I can understand their indignation to hear the rich and powerful claiming charity after they have enjoyed their wealth and success rather than to have consider these principles right from the start.

The splash of opulence is akin to a slap in the face for the middle income struggling to make ends meet and for the low income who are scrapping the bowls for their next meal.

Nonetheless, Warren Buffet’s suggestion that ‘it could have been you or me’ leaves room for thought. I have previously read that 50% of the world’s population lives in poverty and rightfully all of us have a 50% chance of being born to poor parents, in a run down community and economically starved country.

To claim success due to superiority is narcissism because ultimately our situation is all granted by our Creator and we have to be grateful for that. We are blessed to be a blessing to the less fortunate. Of course this begs the question on why God didn’t just give everyone a fair chance? That’s not for me to answer but I believe He has His reasons.

But regardless of one’s upbringing I believe in the value of experience and one should always seek to learn as much as they can in as many fields as one can be exposed to. No knowledge is ever wasted and it is in this that makes us all individually valuable.

In a recent article by Thomas L Friedman ‘Broadway and the Mosque’, it was mentioned that creativity comes from divergent thinking which stems from being exposed to divergent ideas, cultures, peoples and intellectual disciplines, and then convergent thinking which combines these ideas into best results.

When I apply this to myself I realised how true and relevant this all is. I do consider myself to be more creative than the average person and it suddenly dawned on me that it has everything to do with my exposure to the fields of accountancy, financial planning, sales and marketing, customer service, parenthood, new media technologies and travelling.

My point in this discourse is that whether we become rich in our pockets may not always be in our control. But whether we can lead a life rich in experiences and seek to use that knowledge to make the world a better place even just for the person next to you is entirely within our grasp.

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