8 Intangible Sources of Wealth in a Person’s Life

A stone castle in Fenghuang.

Intangible wealth is found all around us — in our surroundings, our heritage, breathtaking scenery, birdsongs...The ancient town of Fenghuang has over 300 culture heritages spanning 1300 years, such as Huang Si Qiao Castle, the best preserved stone castle that was built in the Tang Dynasty (year 687). (Image: dagang128 via Pixabay)

In life, there are myriad intangible sources of wealth and blessings. It is really a matter of realizing that we have so many sources of wealth and learning where to find them. Many of them are very obvious. For the many others, identifying them may take a little effort on our part, but it will be well worth it.

Most people probably only look to the tangible and material sources of wealth, while ignoring intangible wealth.

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Here, we look at some of the intangible sources of wealth. When you are able to use these and many other intangible sources of wealth, your life will always be full, rich, and dignified.

8 intangible sources of wealth

1. Sense of shame

Feeling a sense of shame and guilt after you do something wrong will help you correct your ways in the future. Feeling shame leads to self-reflection. It is also a protective mechanism and helps you from going to extremes.

Feeling guilty and having a sense of shame are good motivating powers that will help you correct your errors and ways. If an individual has no sense of shame, or guilt, and does not introspect after wrong-doing and committing bad deeds, then such an individual may well continue going down a wrong and dangerous path in life.

2. Being grateful

Some people just wish to keep taking from others. That indicates a poor outlook on life. There is much to be grateful for. When you feel grateful at heart and just want to give to others, that shows you are truly rich.

Traditional Chinese culture places a strong emphasis on being filial. To be filial, the first thing to know is how to honor and be thankful to your parents. A person who knows how to be grateful and respectful toward their parents will naturally conduct themselves with kindly behavior toward others as well. People in ancient times were grateful to their parents, so as to avoid harming themselves.

3. Flexibility

It was said in the book Dao De Jing: “The strong are those who die, and the weak are those who live.” No matter whether it is vegetation or as human beings, when they’re alive they are all soft and flexible, and after death, they become stiff and hard.

The Chinese sage Lao Zi told us that as a human being you need to be soft and flexible, and need to understand the ways of being weak. Lao Zi said that when a man turns old, his hard teeth fall out, yet his soft tongue is still there.

Being soft surpasses being hard; a person needs to be soft and flexible. We need to learn the right moment when to keep an appropriate lowly stance, to know when to yield and when to hold firm.

4. Cherish blessings

In a lifetime, there are many opportunities that come our way to change our fortune. So we need to cherish those opportunities. Don’t waste anything, like your savings in the bank. Don’t spend it all at will; don’t overspend your daily allowance. This requires strong discipline.

Nowadays, all people know that having savings is also a way of leading to wealth. But most people still don’t cherish the blessings that they have. How many of us actually know how to cherish the lives that we now live and all that we have.

5. Giving and sharing

When at times we really need help, we all wish that others could lend a helping hand; in turn, you should consider others and see what it is like to be in their shoes at those times. When others need help, you will be more willing to lend a hand.

Friends studying and sharing around a table in a library.
Sources of wealth — the joys of making new friends. (Image: Rawpixelimages via Dreamstime)

Enjoying helping others is not seeking something in return. To have empathy for others is being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Of course, a person who enjoys and is willing to help others, in return finds other people enjoy helping him or her.

So sharing and helping others is rewarding in itself.

7. Wisdom is wealth

Wisdom is wealth. It grows from your experiences. It outweighs any kind of material wealth. Wisdom is wealth that cannot be stolen away by others. A person with wisdom does not look for temporary fortune, and does not seek for their own gain and interest, but instead, a person with wisdom is the only one who can truly be selfless and unselfish.

A person with wisdom knows how to let go when the need arises, knows when to advance and when to retreat, and knows what should be done and what should not be done.

8. Encourage good destiny

Praise others generously and appropriately, and the reward can far exceed the few good words that you have shared. Genuine compliments are uplifting and may inadvertently help someone else achieve their goals. The intangible rewards for the other person may be incalculable. Forming good friendships with others will be repaid with good accomplishments in return.

There is a folk tale about the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Ming Taizu, also called Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. He went out in plain clothes to travel and see the cities, pretending to be a commoner. He visited an old temple. When he was very thirsty, a kindly farmer saw this and offered the Emperor a cup of tea. The Emperor was very grateful and gave orders to grant the farmer the title of a county magistrate.

A local scholar learned about this and was deeply unsettled inside. So he wrote a poem at the old temple: “Studying hard alone with 10 years gone by, but all this is not even worth a cup of tea.”

In the second year, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang revisited this old temple and saw the poem that was written by the scholar. The emperor replied. He wrote: “The farmer is not as talented as you, but your fortune in life is not as great as his.”

Trees and flowers in full bloom.
Intangible sources of wealth, both spiritual and physical, are all around us. (Image: Umarin Nakamura via Dreamstime)

This story tells us that developing good karma is very important for building a bright destiny. When you behave like a decent and noble human being, you will enjoy a good destiny. Those who make good destinies will enjoy good luck.

Translated by Eric Chao

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