As an exercise, I made a list of every single material thing I would like to have if money was no object at all. My list was pretty basic: a nice five bedroom home (because I would like to have three children and a guest bedroom), a very reliable automobile, a computer that wasn’t literally falling apart at the seams (there are several vertical lines on my monitor and it’s beginning to make some seriously ominous sounds), and enough financial security that if I lost my job tomorrow panic would not ensue.
I challenged my wife to make a similar list and the only area that overlapped was the house. Her wishes included a nice parcel of land on which the house would reside, lots of wonderful furnishings for the house, and a “comfortable” car. For her, thankfully, “comfortable” does not translate to a Lexus or a BMW or the like.
I can visualize and almost feel these things that I wish that I had; if I close my eyes, I can imagine myself entering this house and seeing my son playing on the floor and my wife in a comfortable chair reading a book. I imagine driving around in this car, not concerned that it will ever break down. I imagine working in a less-stressful situation because I am secure in the knowledge that I won’t be fired.
What do each of these things have in common? They all revolve around security for my family. When I evaluate my deepest desires, they come back to one central thing: I want my family to be happy, healthy, and secure.
I have all of these wishes and dreams for material things, but the reality of the matter is that these dreams and wishes are all tied to something tangible that I have right now. Thus, when I work towards meeting these dreams I have, the thing I’m actually working for is my family.
It was quite powerful for me to realize what the root motivation in my greatest material dreams and wishes is. I only need to look at them to realize that although these dreams are wonderful, they don’t compare to the treasures I already have.