We all have dreams -- a nicer car. A bigger house. The latest gadget. A more prestigious salary. We face a lot of societal pressure to pursue the legendary American dream, and we seem to be always just there. But when are any of us actually there?
The definition of "rich" isn't as clear-cut as one may think. According to Merriam-Webster, being rich means 'having abundant possessions and especially material wealth'.
But what's the threshold of abundance? To a child living in a third-world country, a candy bar is wealth. However, to someone born in upper-class Britain the same treat would be a laughable gift. Abundance, it seems, is subjective based on numerous factors such as class, culture, and environment.
So really, the definition lies within us. Being rich is what you make of it. Some people value material possessions; others treasure intellectual wealth. Still others insist that true prosperity means having a family and close relationships.
The Hamster Wheel.
Be honest. When was the last time you felt genuinely satisfied with your life? Like deeply, internally content? For most, it's hard to say.
No one will ever admit, "Hey, I'm really happy with my life and I don't need anything more." In an age of whirlwind progress and intense competition, it seems to be that unhappiness with the current state of affairs is the trend.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Unfortunately, too many people get themselves caught up in the hamster wheel of life, erroneously assuming that happiness is dependent on superficial things like money, possessions, and honor.
Little do they know that being happy is not reliant on these things at all; on the contrary, studies prove that happiness is the result of an active choice to be more mindful and grateful for the everyday moments.
The happiest period of your life is now.
When your mind is constantly wandering away, thinking of all your unfulfilled dreams and expectations, it can be pretty hard to focus on the happiness of the moment. That's why it makes sense that according to a Harvard study, 67 percent of those extremely happy said the happiest period of their life is now.
But people spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they're doing, according to the data gathered by a happiness-tracking iphone app developed by psychologist Matthew A. Killingsworth.
Living in the moment, it seems, is easier said than done, though it may be the ticket to a content life. How can one enjoy the moment, one may argue, when the moment is less than desirable?
There are a few ways to train yourself to appreciate what you have. One of these methods is mindfulness.
Says Julie Chan, founder of being my purpose and host of podcast All Possibilities "Mindfulness is about being aware, of being so consumed by the experience of your senses, your thoughts and emotions that they are simply there. There is no room in your mind for judgment or interpretation. There is no room in your mind for thinking about the past or the future, whether with anticipation or with fear.
"It is when this happens that time seems to stop or even prolong itself. Emotions are viewed through a lens of neutrality and even love. And pain--even physical pain--can be seen as something that is a powerful testament to what the body can do. It is a beautiful feeling."
At home, make it a point to sip your coffee slowly. At work, take a moment to be grateful for the small things you enjoy about your job; whether it's the cheerful camaraderie or the sunlit office, everyone can count at least a few blessings on hand.
The bottom line.
Happiness and wealth depend on a person's mindset. For me its much more about the definition of "success." As everyone defines success differently. Today sometimes just covering your mortgage, utility bills and putting food on the table is a huge success. Define what success and happiness looks like to you. Work on appreciating what you do have, not what you don't. Who knows... you might just find that you don't need that Bugatti after all!
**Liba Rimler contributed to this article.