I had a bit of an interesting dream-like moment that I want to share with all of you. You see, I don’t just dream at night. I can let go of my mind sometimes during the day and things just float in. Sometimes it’s mental clutter that I have to brush aside, and sometimes it’s inspiration or ideas or just interesting dreamy things.
In this moment that I had, which I suppose was prompted by Snow White and the Huntsman being on TV, I was talking with a dwarf. His arms were clad in jewel-crusted gold bracers and his chest was adorned in more gold and jewels. He was obviously wealthy, and considered a leader and person of power.
I asked him: “What makes you the most powerful man among your kind?”
He gestured to his adornments, “I’m the wealthiest dwarf. I have a trove of gold and treasures!”
“So having the most wealth sets you higher than any other?”
“Of course!” he replied with a laugh.
“And what would you be without your wealth?” I queried.
“I’d be nothing!” he snorted. “I’d be just another peasant.”
“So your place of power doesn’t come from being the smartest, most clever, strongest, most skilled or kindest person.” I stated. He tilted his head and an odd look crossed his face. “Without your wealth, your possessions, you’d consider yourself nothing, and others would agree. Don’t you find that sad? Do you ever consider that your wealth is just an illusion, just a temporary thing that could be gone at any minute, leaving you helpless and vulnerable and at the mercy of whomever took the wealth? Wouldn’t you be a better leader, and a better man, if your value was based on your abilities and inner self, which can’t be taken from you, as opposed to something as fleeting and unpredictable as wealth?”
His face turned pale, I’d obviously hit him with a concept he’d never really considered before.
This little moment of dreaming and fantasy actually represents something our society is facing right now. People gain power through the acquisition of money and things. From the celebrities and CEOs right down to your own neighbors. How much money and how many things you possess determines what people think of you in society. We’ve lost sight of what really matters.
You’ve seen it plenty of times in the media, how someone has millions of dollars, mansions and cars and designer everything, then through some event, quite often a fault of their own, they lose that wealth. Suddenly they go from being respected and catered to and held in high regard to being little more than a commoner, looked down upon by those who still have wealth, and even by those who have none, but envied those who did. The person becomes nothing, and fades into obscurity.
If we were less media-driven and connected more to what makes us human, wealth would never mean so much. The respect given to a person would be based on who they are and what they do, not how many things they own. Just think of how many rich people treat others with disrespect and cruelty or act out in irresponsible and dangerous ways. We’d never accept that from someone in our own wealth-bracket, but we take it from those who have more money. It makes no sense. No amount of riches make you a better person, and all people, regardless of wealth, should be held to the same standards.
I think a true leader, a truly great person, is someone whose value comes from within, and exists whether they have all the money in the world or none at all. A great person is one whose sense of self comes from their thoughts, deeds and abilities rather than from the acquisition of money and things. They will be good and strong and steady, whether they are poor or rich, and they would never look down on those with less or be changed negatively by having more. In my opinion, that’s what we should strive to be. We should want to be good people with good character and qualities that aren’t dependent on our financial status.