Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Wealth & Health Manifesto

I know many people whose only goal in life is to accumulate wealth. According to the common logic, a successful person is someone who owns a large luxury house, a sporting car, a basketball team…the list could go on and on.... and there are also many specialized magazines that keep their readers up-to-date about the latest must-have gadget.
However my personal experience taught me that despite many of these material things could satisfy our sensorial pleasure, I am deeply convinced that real success isn’t just about material things.
According to German Psychologist Erich Fromm there are two modes of existence struggle for the spirit of humankind: the having mode, which concentrates on material possessions, power, and aggression, and is the basis of the universal evils of greed, envy, and violence; and the being mode, which is based on love, the pleasure of sharing and in productive activity.

I don’t wan’t to debate here Fromm’s thesis but I think that after considering these two approaches it makes more sense “being” a person of success.
At this regard I would like to make a real example: there’s this man that we’ll call him “The Banker”. This is a real person but as this blog aims at being an inspirational source even from unsuccessful stories, we won’t report his name here and we’ll leave it anonymous.
The Banker graduated cum laude, he worked top jobs in a major financial consulting firm and eventually became the CEO of one of the major Financial Groups of the planet.
As a banker he made very audacious choices, and the market followed its gut. The media supported him and praised him for his great organizational skills. Afterwards he resigned from office and his stock option package was equal to an eight digit check.
From the professional point of view he did a great job. In addition, if you had to make a ranking about the most successful people on an European scale, our Banker would be mentioned among the first five.
However if I would tell you his son is a drug addicted and spend 6 months a year in rehab centers while his wife has an affair with her personal trainer, would you still judge him as a successful man?
What do you think he would feel when he’s about to go to bed at night... is he proud about what he created?

Will he be a happy man who’s accomplished about his own life?

I had the chance to meet him and I can say that nonetheless he’s an extremely powerful person, I think he’s hiding a deep sense of depression and frustration.


Because success, real success, it’s ALSO economic success but it’s not just that.

Can you define yourself a successful person if your affective life is a total disaster?


Until the Western Civilization’s ethics would be exclusively founded upon material wealth, our civilization it can't be defined as really evolved.

Real success, in my opinion and on my life experience, it’s based on 5 areas that have to be in perfect balance:

1. Health
2. Love
3. Wealth
4. Social health
5. Entertainment

Let’s see them one by one:

First Wealth Area. Health

Ancient Romans used to say: “Mens sana in corpore sano”. [1]

I don’t think there’s a better expression than this.

In my opinion “Mens sana” means to be serene and mentally stable. Having no problems that take your sleep away.  Being what endocrinologist Hans Selye define as Eustress. Not too much loaded not too much down. A just mid-measure that allows you to be centered on your own being.

There are some techniques, I have been using for years and of which I can guarantee their effectiveness.

Every day, do 15 minutes of Meditation. You lie down in a quiet spot and you focus on your own breath. If your thought shifts to something else from your breath, you have to focus back on your breath. During the exercise you feel really light and quiet, often it might happen you enter the REM phase.

Another technique is to try visualizing yourself and your objectives as they were already accomplished. Our mind indeed doesn’t make a difference between a visualization that has been lived in first person and what happens in reality.

Another advice is to dedicate some of your daily time to an activity you like. For example you can listen to your favourite music, you can pat your pet or practice your favourite sport. This would help you to unplug your mind from the daily routine.

The "corpore sano", means to be perfectly fit. Practicing sport and following a healthy diet.

This means keeping yourself away from possible illness. Keep yourself in good shape and in good health is an activity that guarantees you the reach of other spheres of wealth, so it can take you one step closer to the real success.

Unfortunately it can happen you get sick, even in a serious way. As everyone of us, I happened to live very unfortunate moments. When I was a teen-ager my father had cancer and at the beginning, it was a real blow both for me and for my family.

However despite living a great state of distress, I did not let my downside get me down to the despair and since day one I tried to react to this thing by facing it with my interior strength, to which I relied on instinctively. Since the beginning I tried to transfer my inner energy to the other members of my family, first of all to my father who was the one who was physically suffering. The strength I tried to give him was to help him fight his disease.

I always faced difficult moments like this as a real personal challenge and I tried to not let myself be in despair. Nonetheless I was living a great state of suffering bur I never gave up, because deep in my heart I knew, I was sure I would had break through it because I wanted it with my whole being to be back living the life I had before. This way, even if going through an enormous suffering I made myself the way to overcome these difficult moments.

This experience provided me with the self-confidence that was necessary to face and to overcome any test that I would had undergone later in my life.

During my teen years my life was completely dedicated to sport. I played Rugby, Ice Hockey and Sailing.

I used to play in the Milan Rugby team and I joined the team in South Africa in 1995. There was the national World Cup.

Our first match in the calendar was with the Harlequins, a world famous team of the Premiership. Obviously it was a team that was way stronger than us under many points of view.  However since the first time I knew we had to meet them, I told myself: "don't be discouraged, do your best and you ll be ok with yourself and your consciousness".

The match was going really bad for us when I found myself in the typical "life dilemma" kind of situation. I had two chances, completely different from one another.

Option 1 I could have got rid of the ball and save myself from the tackle but it would have meant to give up the chance of scoring the try.

Option 2 I could have tried to keep the ball and running at full throttle targeting the try straight ahead. I had to consider though that by pointing the try I had to break through the defence line with a concrete chance to suffer a fracture somehow. Although it was a lifetime chance.

A real dilemma indeed.

Without hesitating I tried to break the defence line and after a number of physical adversities and a couple of headlong falls I scored the try but my shoulder cartilage was totally gone.

Our team had ended the changes because of the player accidents and I kept on playing despite the pain. We obviously lost the game but we gained the respect of the world champion team.

Today after a series of complex surgical operations I am still disabled and I had to give up both Rugby and Sailing, although as a consolation I have a story to tell, a story whose absolute protagonist is the strength to which we can turn to in those moments of difficult when we don't know where to grasp and the only thing we can rely on it's ourselves and our inner strength.

Second Wealth Area: Affection

Living without affection leads to loneliness, a grey area and a slow sense of emptiness.

Whoever you love, my suggestion is to harvest affection. In order to harvest affection you have to spend some of your active time with your loved ones.

For some people affection comes from their parents, for others it's their children, in many families even brothers and cousins are a source of affection so as pets they can be both source and the recipients of our affection.

My advice is to harvest your affection for what it's possible to yourself, because in the long term affection is the only element of strength in the life of everyone of us.

Third Wealth area: The economic wealth

For many people it's the main objective.
As I said before, material accomplishment is very important because money can allow you to do certain things they would be difficult or impossible otherwise.

Money is energy. If you possess it in great quantity it allows you to have a life with more chances.

Those who say money isn't important he lies and he knows he lies because our society and its mechanisms they are all based upon money since thousands of years ago.

Great amounts of money can assure yourself the best healthcare assistance, edgy cares and dedicated physicians. A number of American schools are private (even if they have scholarship programs for talented students, which I totally agree with).

However the real economic wealth isn't connected to possessing a certain status symbol.

I think instead that economic wealth is also a personal status of totally subjective nature.

"You are in the economic wealth range when you have automatic incomes which are higher than current spending". This is the wealth level I defined as Retire Rich.

To be at this level of wealth you have first of all to "feel rich".

It's absolutely crucial to convince yourself you live in a world of abundance and wealth. Even in a difficult moment as this, it's absolutely fundamental to see and feel yourself as rich. And if while you are reading these words you are thinking of your debts, you have to be aware that according to the law of attraction you are attracting even more debts.

According to the law of attraction you ll get what you think of today.

So it's absolutely crucial to see yourself as a rich man.

Although this isn't all. You also have to put in practice the tricks I explained in my latest post: The Survival Handbook. Do your Cashflow, set your goals and track them.

So you have to get busy in a constructive way in order to achieve your economic wealth and you will see you ll have the success you deserve.

Fourth Area. Social Wealth

In life you always have to seed.

The more you seed the more you pick up then.

If in your life you have been lucky, it's necessary to share what you have with those who don't have it yet.

At this point you could ask me. Are you asking me to do a sort of charity?

Absolutely yes.

I do charity and many people like me do it as well. Everyone of us has its own area. Everyone of us has his own skills. But it's very important to share what we have.

If you are too poor to share something economically, you just need to lend your work for a social cause. For example you can help out kids in an orphanage or go visiting elderly people who live in a perennial state of solitude.

Luckly we live in a world in which there are a lot of charities. You really can do a lot with very little. Believe me.

I personally help both little children who urgently needs surgical operations and abandoned dogs to find a home out from the Italian-shelter-lagers.

I have adopted three marvellous little dogs that were going to die. One is called Blacky. She's an interbred between and American Staffordshire and a Pintscher; it's a very sensitive pet. When she looks at me while I am eating I am able to read her eyes full of terror because of her past life starving fear, that she felt when she was in that shelter. I really feel shivers when I think of what she could have felt in her past.

Pilly is a foxy half breed which when I have adopted her she suffered pneumonia and was under-fed. After many intensive cares, she is now ok and she got strength and force. She always play with my 2 year old son and when she's with him she checks everything is cool. It almost seems she's working: when my son wakes up in the night or he's not well she comes to my bed to wake me up.

Princy is the latest she's been 7 years in a little cage that did not allow her to grow up. She's got her back legs broken and calcified so she cannot walk. She came at our home sick of every possible disease. She risked blindness and she was bleeding. After two months of antibiotics and highly specialized cares, now she's ready for a surgical operation in which they will put in place a prosthesis on her knees. The professor who is following her case he's the world number one, he said it's his second case so tragic but he's positive he's going to make her walk again.

Who knows how would she feel after seven years she didn't walk!

When I look in their eyes I read gratitude and sometimes I also see their sad memories, that are linked to the terrible past they lived. Although they know that now they are loved and protected.

I am an animalist and I am proud of it.

I know that when I come back home they re waiting for me.

It's not true that dogs don't talk. They talk with their eyes.

Fifth area. Entertainment and Culture

Time is a subjective variable of which anyone has a different perception.

In order to feel well, it's important to cut out so much time to feel satisfied from it.

Did you ever think how time flies away when you re doing something you like and how it does never flow when you re in line in the surgeon's waiting room?

If you like it time is the most important resource in your life.

You have to know how to manage it otherwise it would handle you.

Don't be afraid about cutting out some space for yourself. These bits of time are crucial because they allow you to feel better. Obviously abusing your free time can lead to perdition or to moral dissolution.

It doesn't matter how much time but the quality of the time you dedicate to yourself.

Free time is fundamental for any person who wants to define himself as a successful person.

Some economists say that wealth can be measured in months... in the number of months you are able to survive without working while keeping up with the same life tenure you are used to.

Obviously there are also other methods to calculate wealth level.

Time is fundamental and having free time isn't a luxury it's a necessity.

In one word: have fun.

As you had the chance to read we have been talking about health, affection, money, sociality and free time.

You don't think I did not suffer by leaving the sports I loved?

Very much.

However, in the past few years I have been thinking a lot about my life experiences, and I have tried to make a lesson, a moral lesson out of it, for myself and my children, something I could have transferred to my future generations. What I came up with was the idea that the real wealth and the real success in the end it's to have developed a formula that allows yourself to face any future challenge that the life presents you ahead.
I personally developed my formula upon my life experience and my formula is based upon inner strenght and the affection of my loved ones.

Once you got these two things you are ready for any challenge that can be ahead of yourself.

Have a nice journey
Luigi Foscale

[1] a healthy mind in a healthy body.