I recently had a conversation with my anonymous friend “Mahesh”. We collaborated on the book “The Hindu Way To Wealth“, in which I spoke with him about the fundamentals and philosophy of his culture’s perspective on wealth. He’s made a lot of money, and seems to do exactly the opposite of what I recommend in The Old Money Book. That is to say, he throws it around like a drunk lottery winner: spending on luxury items, spontaneous giving in every direction, spoiling family members and friends. It makes me cringe sometimes, but he keeps me laughing. He calls a couple of times a year, just to say hello.
He had made several big donations this year to help in relief efforts (Houston in particular), and he made a comment that stuck with me: “People say, Of course you should donate in times of trouble. You’re rich! But the funny thing they don’t understand is that I don’t give because I’m rich. I’m rich because I give.”
He went on talking a mile a minute after saying this, oblivious to his off-the-cuff wisdom, as he often is. Then he threw another fast-pitch at me with equal speed: “You know, if you look at people whose lives are going the most smoothly [his grammar, not mine] the thing you see is that the most smoothly, the most gratitude, the most ‘thank you’s’ in one day, the most ‘oh, I’m so lucky for that’ all the time. I’m not saying the richest are the most grateful. I’m saying the life that’s going the most smoothly is the one with the most gratitude. The people in the most need seem to say that the least and last when it should be the first and most frequent. Ask God to give you gratitude and you won’t have to ask Him for anything else because everything else will follow.”
When I asked him to slow down so I could write, he growled, “If you’re going to work now, I’m going to work. I’m not having you work more than me.” And then he said goodbye and hung up, laughing.
It’s been a good year for my friend from India. And he’s passed it right along to those who haven’t been as fortunate, and to those in his orbit who are just plain lucky. And probably grateful.