Power, Wealth or Fame


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Power, Fame or Wealth

A friend recently asked me which I would prefer to be, very powerful, independently wealthy, or world famous.

I chose independently wealthy for a number of reasons.

First, George Bush is powerful but he can’t tell the French or Germans what to do.  His power, being overwhelming, must be used with care and is of little value against an elusive person who wishes to defy him.  Even his two main prey, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, are beyond his power.

Second, movie stars are famous but their fame is valueless unless they choose to use it for good.  Fame also gives them little credibility beyond acting.

A person who is independently wealthy has freedom, the freedom to move, to learn, to grow, to change the world in great and small ways.

Wealth allows a person to indulge his or her passion in ways the famous and powerful cannot do.  Wealth does not create instant fame.  Indeed most wealthy people are anonymous, unknown to the general public.  They prefer it that way, pursuing their passions in the background.

Wealth is a means, not an end.  Wealth is meaningless unless it is accompanied by action to better the world.

Heinrich Schliemann worked for decades to build the wealth needed to pursue his passion, finding the lost Greek city of Troy.  His wealth brought the world greater knowledge of its history and culture and a better understanding of the great epic poems of Homer.

To wield power or manage fame is an end in itself.  Great wealth is a means to a better end, a more rewarding end, and end that leads to a better life for many.




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