We are the Outsiders
…with a fresh perspective

If you were to ask me who is the wealthiest person I know, I would say my dad. Second would be my five-year-old son. These are the happiest people I know, and for that reason I believe they are the wealthiest.

When I think of wealth, my first instinct is to relate it to money. As I was growing up, my understanding was that the more money you have, the wealthier you were.  But now, with four decades of experiences and lessons behind me, I look at wealth in a different light. I now think of wealth in terms of value and happiness.

A good friend of mine once gave me this advice: put the 10 most financially wealthy people you know in a list, and then list the 10 happiest people you know. There won’t be the same names on both list. I found that fascinating, because it shows how there are different ways to find meaning and to be happy. If you had to ask yourself which one is more elusive, which one is harder to obtain, I would say that it’s happiness. If we really thought about it, I think most people would seek true happiness over financial wealth, but they often mistakenly conflate the two.

I also think of wealth as a definition of autonomy. When people have autonomy, they have a level of wealth to do what they want to do and try different things. At CompuVision, I have the freedom to experiment, freedom to fail, freedom to be curious. This relates to how technology is starting to motivate people to try new things, and to realize that “failure” is not a bad word.

A third definition for wealth might be “ideas.” There are a lot of things that the controls of our world—geopolitical situations, policies, economies—can take away from us. These things can impact a business, can impact people’s livelihoods, and can impact monetary wealth. But the one thing that nobody can ever take away from you, and that’s your brain. Your ideas.

As a leader, I often have moments where I think “What if this all doesn’t work? What if this all implodes? And we can’t keep pace?” But it doesn’t matter if all you’ve worked for suddenly gone one day. As long as you have your brain, you’ve got wealth. Brain power leads into ideas, which leads into thinking. Those things are incredibly valuable in my eyes, and I would argue it’s probably one of the measurements of wealth that’s most underrated. The tricky part about our world and our society is that not everybody has brainpower or the intelligence to think differently, and to unlock it the same way as they would other forms of happiness. I think we need to put more value on brain power and being able to create almost anything in this day and age.

For this issue about wealth, we look at some of the ways that people are finding more meaning for themselves, their clients, and their businesses. Bridget Casey thinks that spending money on things you love is better advice than pinching every penny. Marvin Washington tells us that when risk doesn’t work it’s called failure, but when it does work it’s called innovation—so why shouldn’t we be taking a chance on innovation? And Jim Harris reminds us that what millennials value is much different than what previous generations have valued—and maybe they’re on to something.

I wish you all the best for a truly happy new year.

Make it a great day.

Ryan Vestby, CEO, CompuVision

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