The Nation's Pulse

Gratitude Is Wealth

Reflections from the driving range.

By 3.13.07

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Because I have a tiny bit of knowledge about investing, people are always asking me what the secret is to becoming rich quickly. Where money is concerned, I assure you I have no idea of how to get rich quick (although I know exactly how to get rich slowly).

But I do know how to get rich quick in the most meaningful way: feeling rich. A few days ago, I was driving golf balls in my usual pitiful way, all by myself on the driving range, when suddenly a warm breeze came out of nowhere and washed me in common sense. I am here on this beautiful grass, I suddenly thought. The sky is azure blue. The palm fronds are rustling nearby. No one is trying to kill me. I've just had a great lunch. My health is decent.

I am a happy, happy guy. I am grateful, and that is riches. Gratitude is wealth.

I finished with some pitiful iron shots and went into the clubhouse. The halls were empty. The average age of the members at this club is 72 and many are older. How many men and women walk along these halls every day, I thought, with memories of long-time wives or husbands who are now on the other side? How many of them walk down this hall and then go home alone to a solitary meal and an afternoon and night of watching TV alone, with only memories of when they had a wife or husband or kids that watched TV with them?

But I had my wife waiting for me at home, and our dogs, and I knew I would not be alone that night. I was grateful. At that moment, realizing I had my wifey lying on her couch reading her mystery, waiting for me, I was as rich as Bill Gates and far richer than any Hollywood playboy.

Gratitude for what you have right now. Gratitude especially for what you have now that so many people would die for, gratitude for what you have now that won't last. That's what makes you rich quick. And no tax at all. That's the secret. As to the money... Stop thinking about it for this morning and just tell your wife you love her.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.