Today I was mugged for the first time in my life. It is quite symbolic that, after traveling to 35 countries and facing many near-death experiences (alright, let’s be fair, only two near-death experiences!), I would have the misfortune of being assaulted in the same country that saw me grown from child to man: Mexico.

As some of you already know, I am a Mexican traveler who is very grateful of the opportunities that life has offered. If I had to summarize my life in one sentence it would probably be Fitzgerald’s legendary quote of: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had”.

Yes, I am angry that I lost the few pesos that I had in my wallet and yes, I am extremely sad by the fact that such wallet was a birthday present from one of my best friends. And yet, I feel extremely rich as I always do. Why is that? Let me tell you.

The value of hard work

The value of hard work

A long time ago…

Money comes and money goes. That’s one of the few constants of life. The lack of money does not make you poor and the accumulation of money does not make you rich. What separates this world and its citizens into poor and rich is only thing: The right mentality.

Yes, I’m totally serious.

A few years ago, I had a very poor mentality. I had a big student debt (which I still have to this day, yay!), I didn’t have a lot of money to spare on social outings (I still don’t!) and most importantly, I wrongly believed that my goal in life should be to study hard to get straight A’s, obtain a high-paying job after graduation and eventually become a rich person, solving everybody’s problems from above.

Today I cannot help but laugh and see the error of my way of thinking. Years ago, I was already very rich, I just didn’t know it yet. Why? Because I focused on the things I didn’t have instead of appreciating the fact that all of my needs were already fulfilled.

Follow your own dream

Follow your own dream

You are richer than you think

If you’re reading this, that surely means that you have either a computer, laptop, smart phone or at least, access to an internet cafe. If you weren’t born in the English-speaking world, that means that you mastered the English language in addition to your local one. You have also a big passion for reading, after all, you’re here. And, since this is a blog that focuses on traveling, you have probably already traveled outside of your country or at least you’re planning on doing it.

Sure, life can be hard sometimes, debts are crushing you, responsibilities begin to creep in and you start to feel trapped in your job/studies but guess what? You should be happy that you have a job! You should be happy that you have student debts!

Are you starting to feel a little-bit privileged? You should! Why? Because you are, we all are. If you’re reading this, you are already richer than 95% of the World’s Population.

The real value of things

You don’t need to own a house to be rich, you don’t need to have a high-paying job, you don’t need to buy new clothes every few months, you don’t need to travel the world, you don’t need to eat out every single day, you don’t need to own a car, you don’t need to have a college degree. You get what I’m saying?

People with poor mentality believes that wealth lies in the money, people with rich mentality believes that wealth lies in the individual. If you start to focus on what you don’t need instead of focusing in what you don’t have, you’ll start to behave in a very rich manner. I know I did.

So, going back full circle to the burglar who robbed me. Well, I don’t blame him.

I blame his mentality.

I blame the fact that his upbringing told him that there was no choice to be made.

I’m telling you, there IS a choice. You can either complain about your daily life and deny the fact that you’re richer than you think or embrace your richness and put it to good use.

So tell me, which kind of mentality have you decided to embrace?

:)

It's better to be poor than being dishonest

It’s better to be poor than being dishonest

39 Responses

  1. curioustourist13

    Great post. Sometimes it also takes being a position that leaves you feeling vulnerable and helpless to really take stock of the things you have – health, family, friends – the immaterial things that really make up the fabric of our happiness. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Journeys By Jill

    Well said. I’m happy you weren’t physically hurt but know that can shake your sense of well being. Getting ripped off is not fun but you’ve turned it into a great life lesson.

    Even when I am between jobs I am still much richer than many in this world. As I get older, I find that I need less things but crave more experiences. I know I am lucky to have been born where I was and to have a multitude of opportunities. My passport gives me great freedom that people, by chance of birth, don’t have. I wish everyone could know this joy.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Exactly, even tough people from my country have some restrictions for visas, we are lucky enough to live in a free country that doesn’t prohibit its citizens to travel abroad…or even within their same country (yes, North Korea, I’m looking at you) :(

  3. sleeprrr

    Thanks for these words, I needed to hear them today of all days, to remind myself of what I have to be thankful for.

  4. Shelley @Travel-Stained

    The funny thing is that when you have a “rich” mentality, the money suddenly starts appearing. I spent much of my life with a poor mindset (finally ending up $60,000 in debt), but the second I started changing my mindset to one based on abundance, all started flowing. Gratitude truly is the key to everything.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Money comes and money goes, indeed! I would rather have debts than hoard money just for the sake of having money. And ironically, the sooner one stops worrying about money, the easier it becomes to actually obtain it!

  5. timperkins1

    Enjoyed reading your post. Good that you were able to get something positive out of the experience and a good reminder that we should be grateful for what we have

  6. lolkin

    Reminded me of Louis CK’s Everything Is Amazing (look it up if you have not seen it). You are right, sorry about your mugging :(

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      I’ll look up as soon as I can! It’s alright, it was only a few pesos after all, as I said in one of my previous articles, I always distribute my money in a lot of places (a good travel habit I picked up), leaving as little as possible in the wallet itself :)

      • lolkin

        good strategy. i like to think about these things as ‘bigger crisis averted’. i.e. Universe may be exposing us to smaller unpleasant things like this rather than one big nasty event. you are alive, you are not hurt, these are important things… have a nice day!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Yes, I admit that sometimes I’ve been guilty of things like complaining to the hotel staff about the lack of wi-fi in the rooms and then I realize that sadly, most of the employees don’t even own a computer at home…

  7. lcrilley

    Great post! To live a life of abundance it’s important to focus on what you HAVE, not what you lack. Glad you are ok after your mugging.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Yes, I still cannot believe how many friends of mine are buried in debts because society “forced” them to buy a car…even tough they can easily walk to their daily jobs. One of the keys to a better live consists in turning deaf ears to the social pressure.

  8. Kristin

    Bien dicho. Love it that you got something positive out of what would otherwise just have been a very annoying experience. And luckily, you were not hurt, for as we both know there are some people here who don’t treat you very gently when they want your money…!
    Great post!

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Thank you very much, Kristin. Yes, I can agree that I was lucky that it was in broad daylight, I cannot imagine what might have happened if it was during the darker hours of the night (although the hero in me would like to believe that I would have ended up doing a Batman voice impression in order to scare the burglar :o )

  9. The Miss Adventure Journals

    Glad you are OK and were not hurt. What a good heart you have. Most people would hate the people that did this. I feel the same way, when I have stuff stolen I always think the person must need it more than me. LIke you said, it is important that we always stay grateful for all that we have. Very interesting

  10. Keri Kight

    There are happy poor people and there are depressed rich people in this world. It all comes down to what we focus on and what we think to be important. Everyone has the same opportunities, even if some are closer to the particular opportunities. Just look around us and see all the beauty that surrounds us. It’s truly amazing. :)

  11. Charlotte Hoather

    Great post.
    I’ve never been mugged but I had a special necklace my Mum gave me of hers for my 16th birthday that I left in the jewellery box in dance class at college (I didn’t normally wear it for school but I forgot one Monday) and someone took it.

    • Raphael Alexander Zoren

      Too bad to hear about your necklace, Charlotte. I hope you can remember the good times you spent with your necklace as I’m sure those memories are very special, indeed :)

  12. Sharry

    Great article! It’s good to remind ourselves now and again how lucky we are how we are now, with what we have now.

  13. wisemonkeysabroad

    What beautiful and true words! Everything you say resonates with us and thank you for sharing! We believe the same things as you.
    Regardless, sorry that you were mugged! But its wonderful that you have it in your heart to look at it with such a positive outlook :-)