Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke is a charming and wisdom filled slim book. It is written as a letter that one of his ancestors left his children before heading off to a battle from which he was unsure to return. He shares twenty values that his children should live by – if they wish to be a noble knight like himself. Within each there is a brief fable that illustrates the value in practice.
The chapter on generosity begins:
“You were born with nothing and with nothing you will pass out of this life. Be frugal and you can be generous.”
Later in the same chapter he writes:
“There are two ways of becoming rich; by accumulating vast sums or by needing very little.”
Our most common approach to becoming rich is the former, when perhaps the latter is healthier.
The origin of the word rich is derived from the Old French word meaning power. And while money and material possessions have come to be equated with power – it is not its only source.
Bill Moyers once said that while growing up in Texas he was poor in material possessions, he was rich in public goods. He was referring to the schools, libraries and roads that made a better life possible for him. They gave him the power to go on to become the press secretary for Lyndon Johnson and a legendary journalist at PBS.
Similarly it only takes a few friends to make us feel rich. Or one great love. Or the presence of our kids. Each can empower us to be better versions of ourselves.
Taking in the wonder and richness of nature can energize us and make us feel powerful. As can good health. The richness of words on a page can inspire us – providing yet another form of power.
All of the above examples are modest, readily accessible and don’t require you to spend a single cent. In other words, we need very little to feel this richness.
May this week bring you many riches.