Money is taboo. It ranks up there with religion, politics, and sex. It is not mentioned in polite conversation. This means money – how much you make, spend and have – is shrouded in mystery. By keeping the topic of money in the dark, society has created a monster that is a source of stress, anxiety, and depression. The time has come to have an honest conversation about money.
Money is powerful – more powerful than many people think. However, it is not powerful in the way that many people think. To understand the power of money, you need to know FIVE important things.
1) You will NEVER have Enough
There are two different kinds of money people – those that want to have enough to survive and those that are obsessed with making it. In the first group, “enough” money is that amount that covers basic physiological needs. For the second group, money is an eternal pursuit - if you have a million, you want another million. If you have a billion, you what another billion. For the super-rich, money is a game and a measure of who is winning. The rich want to be honoured and revered. Wealth and honour have become intertwined in the modern world. This is a hollow and vain pursuit.
2) Money will not Cure your Insecurities
We are all insecure about something. We question our intellect – are we smart enough to contribute to the conversation? In our relationships, we may be unwilling to trust the other person. We worry about what we look like and are self-conscious about our bodies. In our jobs, we are afraid that we don’t have the necessary skills to perform and that we will be fired. Guess what – money will not make any of these insecurities go away. Money is physical and these insecurities are emotional – they do not exist in the same realm which means that one cannot meaningfully impact the other.
3) Money and Wealth are not the Same Things
Wealth is defined as an abundance of valuable possessions or money. That is the overly simplified definition. If you were stuck on a barren and deserted island with 1 billion dollars, you may be rich, but would you be wealthy? There is no food and water on this island and you will die in 3 days. What is that money worth if there is nothing you can do with it. You cannot spend it or enjoy it. The same is true if you are a billionaire plugged into a life support machine where the only thing between you and death is the flick of a switch. Wealth is more than money – it also relates to the quality of life and your mental and physical health.
4) Money can Make You Hated
Society tends to venerate the rich. Lately, however, there has been an uprising in anti-capitalist sentiment. Sir Angus Deaton, the Nobel prize-winning economist said: "There is this feeling that contemporary capitalism is not working for everybody". He adds that "We've created this meritocratic aristocracy and people who didn't make it are pissed off." As economic inequality grows around the world, don’t be surprised if your financial success is met with enmity rather than veneration.
5) Money should not be your Why
Henry Ford said that a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. Pursue excellence and the money will find you. Money should not be your goal – instead, it should be the byproduct of a higher and more noble aim.
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