We look at the part that spirituality plays if any, in the pursuit of financial gain. We chat to the self-proclaimed author, educator, business consultant leadership expert and Founder of the Demartini Institute, Dr. Demartini.
How would you define spirituality?
That which inspires each individual – what is most meaningful, most purposeful, most fulfilling in their lives. I like to think that every human being lives by a set of priorities and set of values – things that are most important and least important in their lives. Whenever they’re doing things that are congruent with their highest values they’re spontaneously inspired from within.
Our spirituality is an expression of what is most meaningful, most purposeful, what’s highest on our values. It’s the contribution that we make to our own lives and other people’s live that is most inspired to us. If you’re dedicated to raising a family, you’re inspiration and spirituality will be an expression of being a mother and helping your beautiful children. If your highest value is raising a business, then your persistence and commitment to building a business and serving people will be your spiritual expression.
“The thing you can’t wait to get up in the morning to do, the thing you feel called to do – that’s your form of spirituality.”
In the pursuit of financial wealth and success, how important are spirituality and positive thinking?
It goes back to what I said before; when you’re living by your highest values you have the greatest self-worth because if you are spontaneously inspired from within, you’re more likely to take action, to persist and to achieve things, which brings up your self-worth. It also gives you a feeling that you can be of service to others and you can tackle challenges and solve problems for other people, which means that you care about humanity and you want to make a difference and this is necessary for success and achievement.
“When you’re ruled by your highest values and inspired to be of service to other people, you increase the probability of what some people call success – I call it achievement and fulfilment.”
Can an individual find financial wealth without finding personal wealth and fulfilment? Is there a hierarchy of what needs to be done before one can become rich?
The hierarchy of your values dictates your financial destiny, if you don’t have a true value on wealth building and have a higher value on spending money and living the lifestyle of the rich and famous – without actually earning it – the second you get money you’re going to spend it according to your values and you won’t get ahead. You’ll spend your life working for money instead of having money work its life for you.
“If you have a higher value on saving and investing your money, and buying true assets – you’re on your way to wealth.”
Is the pursuit of financial wealth a worthwhile pursuit for a fulfilled existence?
I think there are seven areas of life: you have a spiritual quest, a mental quest, a business quest, a financial quest, a family, love and intimacy quest, a social leadership quest and a physical health and wellbeing quest.
In my personal opinion, I think all of them are essential for a fulfilling existence and I can’t imagine having a fulfilling existence without also having financial wellbeing because if you don’t have financial wellbeing you are being distracted by having to go and make a living instead of having it actually work for you. I’m very grateful that I have financial independence today because I now do things because I love to, not because I have to.
For many people, success is defined exclusively in financial terms, what is your definition of real success? Can a person be rich without being successful and vice versa?
Well without a doubt, people can have success in many different forms. It’s whatever is highest on their value system. I say fulfilling your highest values in whatever form they are is the key to fulfilment and success but I think every human being wants to expand in the seven areas of life. I don’t know anybody who gets up and wants to be less aware and less knowledgeable. I don’t know anyone who gets up and wants to be a failure in business. I believe everybody has a desire to expand in each of these areas and any area of your life that you don’t empower, people will overpower. I believe you’re designed to empower all seven areas of your life, it is not limited to financial terms, although that is the most universal.
A successful life requires a successful attitude. Would you agree? If so, how does one cultivate a successful attitude?
Every time you set a goal that is aligned with your highest values, where you have the highest probability of achieving, your attitude goes up. You have a gratitude attitude because you achieve what you say, you walk your talk. Every time you set a goal not aligned with your highest values, you’re going to end up beating yourself up because you’re not yourself. Your own identity revolves around what’s highest on your values and whatever is highest on your values is where you’re most accountable because everyone is dedicated to fulfilling their highest values.
The more congruent you are, the more you’ll have this attitude and this is how you cultivate it: by prioritizing your daily actions and doing things that are most meaningful to you every day.
The saying goes, you can’t pray to win the lottery if you haven’t bought a ticket. Many people pray for riches and yet do not change their behaviour. What is the role of prayer in the pursuit of self-improvement?
Well I always believe that the highest of prayers is the prayer of gratitude “thank you” – being in a state of gratitude for the way it is and your ability to achieve and be rewarded – that’s the key and it’s not praying for some outside entity to do that, it’s actually taking command of your life and being accountable and serving other people.
If you serve enough people and help them to get what they want then you’re on your way to what you want. The key is making sure you take command of your priorities and don’t let the world on the outside dictate your destiny.
I said in the movie “The Secret” when the voice and vision on the inside is louder than all the opinions on the outside – you’ve begun to master your life.
The moment you value you, the world will value you.
Is prayer purely a religious exercise or can non-religious people employ prayer as a means to achieve deeper meaning in their life?
I’m not a believer in going around and praying for things that I’m not willing to do. But I am a believer that the highest form of prayer is gratitude for the opportunity to be of service. Gratitude for the opportunity of what’s happening in our lives, our life is filled with opportunities when we’re living by our highest values.
In order to impact positive change, how do you change your ingrained thinking if your life remains unchanged?
“Baby steps make big dreams.”
Every single day you need to prioritize your daily actions and the things that are most meaningful, most productive, most inspiring and start serving people. In your day you want to make a list of everything that you do and after you’ve listed this exhaustive list of everything you do in your typical day, you then want to write next to it in another column, ask “how much does it produce per hour, per minute?” and then in another column next to that you want to ask “how much would it cost to replace you with somebody to do this same action?” and the next column after that “how much meaning does it give you on a scale of one to seven?” and final column should ask “how much time do you spend?”
Any time you’re doing low priority actions that are not meaningful, that don’t produce – you’re not going to create the greatest change you can in your life.
With regards to the pursuit of financial wealth, if you could offer the world only one piece of advice, what would it be?
Go out of your way to care enough about humanity to serve vast numbers of people and see if you can’t serve more effectively and efficiently as many people as you can in between now and the time you leave the planet. Take a portion of your income and save it and invest it right away and build up a cash cushion so that you’re not volatile and emotional. Once you learn how to start making money work for you, you’ll have a different life. It doesn’t matter how much you make, it matters how you manage what you make. The hierarchy of your values will determine how you manage it.