By Younas Chaudhary
I was raised in a middle-class family in Pakistan. We were land rich but cash poor and lived harvest to harvest during my childhood. I was able to move to the West, started businesses, and after many attempts and dismal failures in the 1980’s and 1990’s, I became wealthy. People often say that the richer you become, the more complicated your life gets but I’ve finally found the secrets to a simple life!
In June 2014, my wife was unexpectedly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. I had accumulated great wealth buying huge homes, ranches, fancy cars, and made investments in oil and gas, real estate and many other areas. But, none of this wealth could buy or find a cure for her debilitating disease.
Lesson number one: Health is wealth. Money can’t buy everything you desire, especially your health.
Living a simple life was ingrained in me from childhood, so these are not the confessions of a rich man. Leading a simple, peaceful life involves a consistent lifestyle, sacrifices, respect for natural resources, and value in sincere relationships. Not a week goes by without my children teasing me for owning the same number of shirts, shoes, and other stuff, most of which has not been replaced over the last nine years.
Before I buy something, I ask: “Do I really need it?” I should admit I am not a minimalist, but I use good common sense to keep my life simple.
Today, I live in a very large house in a desirable area in Houston. You won’t believe it when I tell you that I haven’t been to the second floor of my home for some time! A house can be very large, have several rooms but inner peace comes only within by living a simple life.
I still go to the cheapest gas station in town much to the chagrin of my children and grandchildren! I’ve really come to enjoy living an uncomplicated life where I prioritize the needs of others more than before. In my earlier days, I was aggressive, had the competitive flair, and the pursuit of money came first. But as the years have passed, I’ve learned that you cannot enjoy a simple life by focusing on making money.
I must add that regardless of your age, you should consistently work hard with dedication to make money for you, your family, and to help others. Staying busy and having purpose is important to being happy in life.
Here’s the awakening I’ve received trying to lead a simple life:
- Chasing the dollar will just keep you going endlessly. Instead, pause and reflect to understand the purpose of living.
- Trying to live a simple life has taught me empathy, to help others, and to think of another person’s perspective before jumping to conclusions.
- Money can buy you a lot of expensive toys and empty homes but the greatest joy is in helping others.
- My trips to high end shopping malls are over. Instead, I love a simple trip to one of our natural parks.
- And for those who think that this is the only life we have and we should enjoy it excessively, a simple, peaceful life is never for you.
This change in attitude did not come overnight. My wife’s diagnosis was a trigger. However, the internal joy that comes from living a simple, unadulterated life is something to be experienced. Stay blessed!
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.