Don’t Think Money – Think Life
By Gilbert Ross
We all think about money some time or another don’t we? When a mail-blitz of bills hit our mailbox or our financial planner software shows us that we are going to scrape it very, very thin till next paycheck, we sit back, take a deep breath and get carried away by an inundation of worrisome thoughts or daydreams about an alternative life in which money comes down thick and fast from a tap.
This takes us down a narrow road in our mind in which we get locked by thoughts of money scarcity rather than solutions.
In the below points I would like to expose some truths but also some false assumptions about money and how it affects our perspective on life:
1. Money is just a means to an end
You’ve heard it a hundred times I know but it’s a truth that can’t be overstated. When we daydream about a better, comfortable life with more means and better standards of living we inevitably bring in money into the equation since we obviously reason out that we need more of the green stuff in our hands to step up our lifestyle. The problem is that we get stuck on the money bit and forget that it is just a stepping stone (see point 4). This flattens our goals
2. Money can’t buy me love…or health or Happiness
Another piece of folk wisdom you’ve heard a lot. Do we entrench it enough in our conscious living? I doubt it. There is a Native American saying which says: “Only when the last tree has withered, the last fish has been caught, and the last river has been poisoned, will you realize you cannot eat money.” In a similar vein I’d say “Only when your health has been exhausted and your happiness traded in, you remember that money has served no real end.”
3. Money is not linked with happiness as some research shows
Scientific research has shown a very interesting fact about happiness. It shows that when you move from sub-standard income close to the poverty line towards a point where basic commodities are met and life is sufficiently comfortable, happiness increases accordingly. However, beyond this point no matter how income and wealth increases, happiness does not increase accordingly.
4. Money is the wrong focus point of success
As already point out in 1., when we focus on money rather than on our real goals in life such as having opportunities for broader experiences, traveling, comfort and better standards of living we are focusing on the wrong target. We divert our energies, planning and strategies off track. We think that money will get us more stuff and only when that stage is reached we can be happy. This is false reasoning that we all fall into.
5. Money is a short-lived motivation
Sometimes when financial demands are hard and we are in need of some extra cash more than usual, we get distracted into the thought of making money or at least improving our income. This of course is not a bad thing per se. The problem comes from having it as your main motivation for improving your life in general. It is easy to fall for it. You put your main mission in life on the backburner to start off a side-project which could earn you some extra bucks on the way. This becomes a burning motivation which is very short-lived. Some time down the road you might realize that the benefit did not justify the fact that it got you off your main path and hence wasted precious time in the process.
6. Wealth is a mindset not an accumulation of resources
We naturally think of wealth as an abundance of stuff. Partly correct. Yet wealth is not solely possessions but also a mindset and having the right qualities and predispositions to live your purpose with enthusiasm and power, creating an abundance of innovative ideas and materializing your goals under any circumstances.