TIB #30: What is mental wealth anyway?

Written by Arno Jansen

Mental Wealth means having a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity. Mental wealth is about confidence, belief and resiliency. Being able to develop and nurture these, is paramount for creators and entrepreneurs if they want to succeed long term.

Many creators/solopreneurs/bootstrappers/ etc,  are constantly focussed on income. On their financial life aspects. Especially in the early stages of a business, project, product or new idea. A healthy business means (in part) that it is profitable. So, the focus on money is important. But that should not be the only focus. 

Many creators start their businesses not with a focus on money, but to work on their own terms. Creating a positive impact in the world. Do work they are passionate about and that aligns with their personal values. Being mentally wealthy is paramount to give yourself the best possible odds to deal with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

Making money is important, because money is to your life what fuel is to a car: to keep doing what it was made to do. Bills need to be paid, mouths need to be fed. Building your mental wealth will not only help you make progress towards your long term goals, it also helps to deal with the many challenges ahead.

Physical Health vs Mental Health

There is something weird going on with the way we look at health. When talking about physical health, we usually think of exercising, healthy eating habits and so forth.

The World Health Organisation defines mental health (with an H) as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” 

Yet, when we talk about mental health, a much more negative image arises. We immediately think of mental health issues or even mental illnesses. Stress, anxiety, and depression, etc come to mind.

That is why I prefer the term “Mental Wealth” instead when it comes to the activities that have a positive impact on your personal beliefs, resiliency, and confidence.

Health is not the absence of illness

Health is not the lack of disease or illness; health is the ability to adapt well to stressors and maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis means maintaining balance within our body systems. We are all born with some level of homeostatic imbalance, but if we can learn how to manage this, we can live longer healthier lives.

The first step toward achieving better health is understanding what causes us harm. With respect to physical health, we know that what we eat and drink, how often we exercise, whether we smoke cigarettes, how much alcohol we consume, and how many hours we spend sitting each day are just a few examples of things we may want to consider. 

The habits and activities for mental wealth are not as obvious to most people.

Why is mental wealth important for creators and entrepreneurs?

Creators and entrepreneurs need to be mentally wealthy so they can focus on their work without being distracted by outside and inside influences. Mental wealth also helps them stay motivated when things get tough.

The things that can cause us to fail, loose focus or simply walk away, are plentiful. I am not talking about notifications from your smartphone, but about making unfair comparisons between yourself and your online heroes. The cesspool of self-doubt. Imposter syndrome. That stuff.

Mental Wealth is an essential part of success. It helps you focus on what matters most. You need to be mentally strong to create something new or build a business. If you are not mentally prepared, you will lose motivation and energy and the chances that your idea’s will improve somebody else’s life in any way, reduce to zero.

Mental Wealth is also an essential component of creativity. Creativity requires a lot of energy, focus, and concentration. If you are not mentally prepared, you will be unable to perform at your best.

Your mental wealth assets: values, mind, emotions, thoughts

The words “wealth” and “assets” are usually not thought of in a mental health context. Most people associate “wealth” with having lots of money. While having money may help ease the mind on financial stress, it does not cure all your problems. I advocate that you look at your values, mind, thoughts and emotions as assets to invest in.

Investing in these assets, like any asset, means you are putting in resources such as time and money, to make those assets more valuable. 

The currencies of mental wealth are confidence, belief and resiliency.

Your Values

The word “values” is often used interchangeably with beliefs, morals, and virtues. But there are some important distinctions between these words. Values are personal; you hold them inside yourself. They’re what guide your behavior. Beliefs are external; they exist outside of you. Morals are rules; they govern how people behave. And virtues are actions; they reflect what you do.

If you are able to live in alignment with your values, your beliefs, morals and virtues are derived from your personal values.

Recommended reading: How to find your personal values list

Your mind

Your mind is how you think. It is the way you process information, learn, remember, and solve problems. If your mind is weak, you won’t be able to find solutions to complex challenges. Investing in your mind can take many different forms: critical thinking, forming opinions, articulating ideas through writing or speaking. All of these help you strengthen your mind.

Your Thoughts

Thoughts are ideas that flow into your head. You might think about a problem or situation, and it becomes part of your thought stream. Thinking is often subconscious; however, you can consciously choose to change your thinking. The ability to be aware of your thoughts and to consciously choose how to deal with them, is a great investment in your mental wealth, because your thoughts affect your emotions.

When we think of distractions, we often think about the notifications on our computers or smartphones. But I find that most of the distractions come from my own mind. Thoughts and feelings pop into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. It is so easy to engage with those thoughts without realising it. And voila: distracted.

The distracting mind is not a new phenomenon, as seen by this 1925 invention by science-fiction writer Hugo Gernsback:

Mental Wealth is also about the ability to focus and regain focus after being distracted.
Science-fiction writer Hugo Gernsback invented “The Isolator” helmet in 1925, in an attempt to reduce distractions. He understood pretty quickly though, that his mind was the biggest distraction of all.

Your Emotions

Emotion is the feeling you experience when something happens. Emotional intelligence helps us understand ourselves and others better. When we’re emotionally intelligent, we know how to manage our feelings and express them appropriately. Similar to thoughts, it is an important skill to be aware of our emotions and be able to consciously deal with them. You are not (only) your thoughts or your emotions.

Recommended reading: 6 mental mantras for a tougher mind

How to grow your mental wealth assets

In my experience, there are three key areas where we can improve our mental wealth. They are planning, goal setting, and productivity. These three things are interrelated, and you cannot do one without doing the others. Let’s take a look at each of them.


Planning: Planning is essential because it helps us understand what we want out of life, how we want to live, and what we want to achieve. We must plan our lives to ensure we don’t waste precious resources on activities that aren’t aligned with our goals. If we don’t know where we’re heading, we won’t know whether we’ve achieved anything worthwhile. I prefer to set an OMG, or One Major Goal for direction and work backwards from that to make a plan.

Recommended reading: How to choose your One Major Goal

Goal setting

Goal Setting: Goal setting is another important part of planning. Without goals, we’ll never reach our potential. Goals give purpose to our actions and help us focus on what matters most. When we set clear, measurable goals, we become better able to prioritize tasks and make decisions.

Recommended reading: Goals are better when they’re L.O.F.T.Y.


Productivity is about making sure we use our time efficiently in an effort to make progress towards our bigger goals. This includes being efficient with our thoughts, words, and actions. By improving our productivity, we increase our ability to accomplish more in less time.

Recommended reading: Use these 5 P’s for Peak Productivity to Prevent Poor Performance


Mindset can be explained as “the stories we tell ourselves”. This too is important to master. Being aware of the stories we tell ourselves, and changing those stories if necessary, is a foundational step towards improving your mental resiliency. A positive mindset makes a lot more possible.

If you believe you can accomplish anything, you will be able to figure out many more challenges along the way, with greater ease. There is still no guarantee of succes, but if you tell yourself you can’t do something, you will never start.

Your mindset shapes your thoughts. Your thoughts affect your emotions. And your emotions determine your actions. So invest in your mindset.


If mindset is “the story we tell ourselves”, communication is “the stories we tell others”. We often assume that others will understand us. But the truth is, many people won’t. And even if they do, the way you communicate is just as important as the message you are trying to get across. Mastering different communication (and thus behaviour) models and methods, is important to build your relationships, both in business as well as in other areas of your life. Having meaningful, healthy, and generally positive relationships is vital for your mental wealth, because nothing good is created in a vacuum.

Ok, so now what?

Now you know what mental wealth is. What’s next? Well, you could start by reading one of the many articles on this site the tagline of this site is “Mental wealth for creators and entrepreneurs” after all. 

My personal experience on a daily basis has been that investing in mental wealth has proven to be the key factor in my succes on this journey of independence. And “succes” does not mean “lots of money”, but the fact that I am still here able to work on my own terms on the things that are important to me, so that I can help other people on their journey.

Please let me know what your biggest challenge is with respect to mental wealth. I am in the process of developing several ideas for courses, coaching and services and I would love to hear from you how I can help you with that.

Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

Join my free Focus Finder email course to transform yourself from deeply distracted to fully focused.

    Looking to get more productive, focused, and resilient?

    Join my free Focus Finder course and go from deeply distracted to fully focused.

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