START HERE: The Wealth Letters Manifesto
The story, vision, and goals of The Wealth Letters
Don’t want to read? No problem! You can listen to me reading the article to you by clicking the play button above.
Welcome to The Wealth Letters, a collection of insights from people of all walks of life (the everyday unknowns to the Titans of success) on the pursuit of wealth, wisdom, and meaning.
Objectives / Overview:
What The Wealth Letters will aim to accomplish (the who, what, and why)
How The Wealth Letters will help you navigate building wealth & finding true happiness
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This is the Manifesto of The Wealth Letters. The vision. The goal of this project. The Wealth Letters will utilize “The Wisdom of Crowds” to uncover universal recipes for a life of wealth & true happiness.
This theory is based on Surowiecki’s book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. Minson & DeWees of The Harvard Business Review distills Surowiecki’s findings down to:
“Asking many people for their opinions and suggestions, and then combining them to form the best overall decision. Evidence suggests that the combination of multiple, independent judgments is often more accurate than even an expert’s individual judgment.” - Minson & DeWees
For The Wealth Letters to truly be a universal collection of insights from all walks of life, we must ensure this project is credible & reliable by following Surowiecki’s characteristics of a “wise crowd” from his book which states:
1. The crowd should be able to have a diversity of opinions.
2. One person’s opinion should remain independent of those around them (and should not be influenced by anyone else).
3. Anyone taking part in the crowd should be able to make their own opinion based on their individual knowledge.
4. The crowd should be able to aggregate individual opinions into one collective decision.
Surowiecki’s book goes into much further detail on The Wisdom of Crowds, and I highly advise one to read it in full.
So then, who is the “crowd” going to be? This collection will, of course, include the writings from the well-knowns, the high earners, high-esteemed titans of success we have come to know.
But, it will also include the lesser-knowns, the unknowns, the every-day people quietly building or have built a life of wealth (i.e. all walks of life).
The purpose is to document and showcase universal keys to finding a wealthy life that we can emulate; that we can take pieces of and apply to our own unique lives to create our own “wealth.”
Notice that wealth is in quotes. Yes, this will include money, of course, because that's what we all think of when we think of wealth! But, it also will include other areas of life that will encompass a picture of true wealth (physical, emotional, social, spiritual).
Although these letters & essays may not be written directly to us in their original form, I challenge readers & listeners (you) to frame them as though you are the recipient. The insights shared are universal. They do not discriminate. Not everything in every letter or essay will be able to be directly applied to your life, but there will be pieces in every writing that can be.
Harry Duran, podcaster and writer at A Life Worth Living, makes a point on taking insights & suggestions from others when he says:
“Take what resonates, and discard the rest. It's a reminder that not every message is meant for you at this exact moment. Some need to sit in your consciousness for a few days, months or even years.”
Charlie Munger, famous investor and right-hand man to Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet has found success through reading and distilling from those who have already figured it out:
“It was slow going at first, but after a number of years, and thousands of books read, I started to see how different areas of knowledge interplay with each other, and how knowledge, like money, can compound; making one more aware of the world in which he or she lives.” - Charlie Munger
My takeaways from the above statements is that we should take in information from others and then mix that with the things that are unique about our unique selves. Michael Jordan said that he imitated Dr. J. Kobe Bryant said that he studied and imitated Jordan. But, they mixed in their own uniqueness and put in the work....that's the intention with these insights. Copy and download from others, but you have to put in the work.
This project looks to provide the information from those who have done it, or are doing it. Then, it is up to you and me to take the information and apply it to our unique selves.
I believe most everyone on this planet struggles with the same thing if we are truly honest with ourselves; that thing we struggle with is the feeling of complete contentment. The feeling of waking up in the morning and being able to take a deep breath and say, “I am good…I am calm…I am content.”
This project forces me to think beyond myself; to examine my logic. And, to be real, I feel called to make a difference, to help, to educate (it could be the past teacher and basketball coach in me). As a small business owner who cleans windows by day, I know that I can make a difference by brightening people's day (pun intended), but I do feel called to do more and truly help others find contentment…I hope this collection will do just that.
Who is this for?
This project was originally started for my two baby girls, but has quickly expanded beyond just my daughters. I want this project to reach not only myself, my daughters, my family & friends; but maybe even beyond my closest sphere.
My aim is that this diverse collection of letters can be dissected, fact-checked, emulated, and applied to our lives to find true wealth. I think that upon reading the collection, you will realize that wealth is something we all are pursuing, and that it likely is slightly different for each one of us.
We are human beings…our DNA is wired to want more: More money. More possessions. More success. More knowledge. More happiness. More wealth. I want all of these things!
I believe that if every single one of us are to be brutally honest with ourselves, we all would agree that we are on a continuous search for that “something” in our lives, and that continuous search can be daunting; exhausting.
I don’t want my daughters, wife, self, family, friends, or anyone reading or listening to the collection (that’s you) to have to grapple with this constant searching!
I find myself wanting material things, comparing to what others have, and attaching my self worth to my net worth (this sucks for me being that my investment portfolio has lost a considerable sum recently, as of the end of 2022. To add salt to the wound and a punch to my pride, a chunk of that could have been avoided; more on that in the letter from The Wealthy Window Washer).
It can be a dark place when focusing one's personal worth and emotions with monetary wealth, especially being a Christian and knowing that money and material things on this earth are exactly what is not to be coveted. Yet, that is what I still find myself doing at times.
The Bible says, in Mathew 6:19-21:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
There is nothing wrong with money or possessions or experiences. There is nothing wrong with being in a high paying job or a position of status; but if these things drive the heart, this is where we have the potential to be swallowed by this world...by our own selves. This is a struggle I want my daughters to forgo; my friends and family, and the other eyes and ears that will be reading and listening.
What makes me credible enough to be giving wealth advice to my daughters and others? I mean come on, I am a past eBay reseller who got scammed (more on that in my letter), trucking company dispatcher, co-owner of a women's apparel store, collegiate basketball coach, k-12 teacher, turned ...... window washer.
Yup, I am a small business owner doing the glamorous work of cleaning glass (you would think I wrote Katy Perry's song Hot & Cold with my working journey).
As a child growing up, did I ever dream of:
Scrubbing spider, bug, squirrel, and dog droppings off of glass? (Yes, dog poop).
Cleaning in 105 degree and 25 below weather? (Yes, businesses in the north tundra do get their windows cleaned, even in the winter).
Smelling like a...how did a fellow window cleaner put it..."dirty diaper” all day long?
Not in the slightest. Especially coming from a background of being a 4-sport athlete, top of the class, expected by my peers and superiors to be a doctor or lawyer or some other high profile job (I guess my elementary teacher was right when she told me as a 2nd grader that I should think about having a backup plan to being a professional basketball player).
Imagine what they all will think if they knew I turned out to be a window washer! “What on earth happened to Jordan? I remember him in school and I thought he would end up being much "better" than that!” How can I possibly have any credibility on wealth as a window washer?
That's the beauty of wealth...it comes in different forms ... different packages. Wealth comes from all walks of life. From high-income earners to minimum wage employees, male and female, young and old. Wealth does not discriminate. Am I wealthy? Well that depends on what I define as being wealthy.
What is wealth? That is the question! We are using The Wisdom of Crowds to build a recipe book for finding true wealth; to put together the puzzle of what it means and what it takes to build wealth & find true happiness.
And as a bonus for me, this project will be a testament as to why my wife wonders why I spend so much time in my "office" (she wonders if I have a serious going problem and that I should go get checked out). Call me weird, but my best thinking is done in this office of mine, but I do need to be more aware that I probably have spent a little too much time in my office when my legs go numb.
Alas, onward with the project! A good place to start would be reading the letter from the Wealthy Window Washer. You can access all letters of the collection from people of all walks of life in the archive.
The TLDR/L (Too long, didn’t read / listen):
The Wealth Letters will utilize The Wisdom of Crowds theory to create a recipe book for building wealth and finding true happiness.
We all are on the search for wealth, meaning, and happiness. We will learn from those of past and present through the lens and experiences of people from all walks of life on what true wealth and happiness looks like.
Wealth and happiness comes in different forms for each person. It is likely that each individual has a unique perspective on what wealth and happiness means.
Thank You for Your Support!
Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and/or read this edition of The Wealth Letters!
In order for this project to succeed and have the greatest reach, I need your help.
Will you provide your wealth insights to the collection? Will you help to make this project bigger than ourselves?
How can you contribute?
Write a Wealth Letter and provide as much or as little as you feel called on what wealth is to you…Direct your letter to yourself, to someone in your own life, or a much wider audience. Stay anonymous, or tell the world who you are!
Send your wealth letter to firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story!
Not ready to write a Wealth Letter? That’s okay too…you can still help!
Share this project with your friends & family, or someone you think could benefit.
Share this project with the people you would LOVE to learn from and maybe they would be willing to write a Wealth Letter (I know for me, having Warren Buffet write a wealth letter for this project would be amazing for all of us…Mr. Buffet, what do you think?).
Your ideas and feedback for this project are always welcome!
Please reach out via email: email@example.com
or by commenting on this post.
I look forward to hearing from you,
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Great idea for a substack. Sharing with friends