Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


Exceptionally Rich

Petaluma, California, USA

April 9, 2012



This essay, Exceptionally Rich, is the fourth in an octology on Money:
  1. Money And Us
  2. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  3. Laurence Platt Video Interview III
  4. Exceptionally Rich
  5. Stake To Play
  6. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  7. Profit And Loss
  8. New Financial Order
in that order.

I am indebted to my father Asher Manfred Platt and to my mother Andee Platt who contributed material for this conversation.




There could be, I suppose, many definitions of what it is to be exceptionally rich. There's mega millions lottery winner rich. There's social network founder rich. There's telecommunications behemoth chairman rich.

About the first: it's said the odds of winning the mega millions lottery with a ticket are about the same odds of winning the mega millions lottery without  a ticket. About the second and third: I'm not passionate about building either a social network or a telecommunications behemoth. And there's the rub. Yes, me and my offspring could live comfortably for the rest of our lives on about an hour of such earnings - and I can think of one or two things I would do with the rest. But in order to be exceptionally rich like that, I'd have to do whatever it is the founder of a social network does, or I'd have to do whatever it is the chairman of a telecommunications behemoth does.

This is the unavoidable truth about being exceptionally rich this way: to be exceptionally rich this way, I'd have to do whatever it is the founder of a social network does, or I'd have to do whatever it is the chairman of a telecommunications behemoth does. And with all due respect to their sheer intentionality  which drives both these entrepreneurs  from idea to actuality, I'm not passionate about doing what either of them do. No, there are other lives for me to live in which I'm passionate, fulfilled, satisfied, authentic, and real. There are other lives for me to live in which - bottom line - I make a difference  to people and to Life itself.

In inquiring into these other lives for me to live, other lives in which I make a difference to people and to Life itself, I looked for workable definitions of what it is to be exceptionally rich, which are a fit  with living this way. I assert there are two - neither of which have anything to do with a threshold earned dollar amount exceeded. The first definition is this: if you're spending less and owing less than you earn, you're exceptionally rich. That's not a new  edict for me. It's the very first lesson in money and finances my father and mother taught me when they began giving me a weekly allowance (which they called pocket money)  when I was a young child. "Spend less and owe less than you earn, and invest the rest.". That's what my father and mother taught me.

I've tried and tested various money and financial paradigms throughout my life. And what it comes down to now, is my father and mother are right: what works with money and finances is spending less and owing less than I earn, and investing the rest. This model speaks more to taking responsibility for living within my means than it does to any particular earned income level. Neither is it uncompassionate to the financial hardship prevalent in today's global economy. But the truth of money and finances is we're not born  exceptionally rich in this sense - and neither, by the way, are we born with any right  to be exceptionally rich. In this sense, I can only be (and am)  exceptionally rich like it's an invented possibility.

Spending less and owing less than I earn, and investing the rest (and being responsible for maintaining a lifestyle within which this paradigm works) is one definition ie is one pragmatic  definition of what it is to be exceptionally rich. There's also another definition of what it is to be exceptionally rich. And my second definition of what it is to be exceptionally rich doesn't have anything at all to do with money. It's this:

Being exceptionally rich is being whole, complete, and full - which is to say being exceptionally rich is inventing the possibility  of being whole, complete, and full. Being exceptionally rich as being whole, complete, and full, isn't so much having the wealth to buy  and acquire  anything I want, as much as it's a declaration of being  anything and everything I want - which is to say being whole, complete, and full. Listen (I really want you to get this): it's a function of being extraordinarily  successful when I have the wealth to buy and acquire anything and everything I want. But that's nothing  (it's less than nothing, actually: it's insignificant)  when compared to, when stacked up against the courage  it is, the heart  it is, the stand  it is, and the commitment  it is to be  anything and everything I want.

Be careful! When I refer to the courage it is, the heart it is, the stand it is, and the commitment it is to be anything and everything I want, I don't mean to be anything and everything I want someday. I don't mean to be anything and everything I want soon. I don't mean to be anything and everything I want eventually. I mean to be anything and everything I want right now  with nothing more than this, with nothing more than this what I got right now (and, for that matter, with nothing more than this what I don't  got right now). This is it! This is enough. This is whole and perfect. It's complete and I'm satisfied.

Being social network founder rich, being telecommunications behemoth chairman rich (OK, including being mega millions lottery winner rich here too, is good enough for jazz), is to be extraordinarily successful, for which all the appropriate kudos  can and should be lauded. But to be exceptionally rich is to be whole, complete, and full - which is to say being exceptionally rich is inventing the possibility of being whole, complete, and full. And inventing the possibility of being whole, complete, and full, doesn't have anything at all to do with money. It's a declaration.

When you can have it that just being alive is enough because you say so, when you can have it that Life itself  is enough, when you got it  (which is to say when you got it all), when you can live day after day after day after day after day coming from  and recreating this space, this is what it is to be exceptionally rich.



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