Not too long ago, I was asked what my views on money are, and what my definition of success is. In a time of mass media and consumerism, a common measure of societal success is money and fame – which as much as I am intrigued by, I know better than to be drawn to them. My answers were more idealistic and pragmatic – a seemingly contradictory duality.
I believe that money is necessary to lead a comfortable life, and too much or too little of it is just as disastrous. I understand that the definition of ‘comfort’ may vary, but living in luxuries and affluence – as comfortable as it may be – is not my goal.
Which leads me to my views on success. I find that true success is when one achieves financial freedom, where money does not rule one’s thoughts and the way one leads one’s life. Key to that financial freedom is the freedom to do good for society – whether through the investment of time, money or effort, and whether that may be through donating a portion of one’s income or through allocating a set amount of time to actively support good causes.
“I simply decided I had enough money.” – Chuck Feeny
Imagine such liberation! I am aware that I have not yet succeeded in living that dream, but I am working towards it, and I am devoted to advocating good. Which is why Chuck Feeney is my personal inspiration. Co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers Group (DFS Group), he gave away a huge bulk of his wealth to The Atlantic Philanthropies which he also founded. I would be grateful if I could be even half as successful in being as altruistic as him.
“Use your wealth to help people, use your wealth to create institutions to help people.” – Chuck Feeny