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Show Me the Money – Or Maybe Not!

Show Me the Money – Or Maybe Not!

Like it or loath it, we all have a relationship with money. We don’t really have a choice; it’s somewhat of a necessity. Unless of course you’re a skilled hunter, gatherer, farmer, living entirely off the land in your own hand-built hut, wearing animal skins and residing in some remote, exotic location. Who happens to have Internet access. Of course.

Part of the human experience

Money

    Money means different things to different people. Or different things for the same people at different stages of their journey – stress, anxiety, freedom, choices, arguments, happiness, sadness, motivation, sleepless nights, elation and sadly things like crime, violence, deception, manipulation and even marital breakdown. Like it or not, money is a necessary part of the human experience; something which needs to be negotiated and managed virtually every day of our lives.

    What does money mean to us individually?

    When we really dumb it down and we take the emotion out of it (yes, some of us are very emotional – periodically irrational – about money), it’s kinda simple; money is a resource. It’s a resource that let’s us do stuff. Drive this car, live in that house, wear that dress or suit, fly to that country, enjoy this type of lifestyle; for some, pretty superficial and unimportant stuff, and for others, very significant stuff. On a certain level, things only have the meaning we give them and unfortunately, many of us seem to have handed over way to much power to the ‘almighty dollar’. And in doing so, we seem to have lost part of us.

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    Different things to different people

    For the majority, money is something to be used in a practical way to live our lives – pay bills, buy food, educate our kids, fix the broken fence and enjoy the annual holiday. While for others, it’s their life-force; it’s what gets them out of bed each day. It’s their obsession. While many see it for what it is (a resource), others make money their god; they worship it and they spend a lifetime being hopelessly enslaved to it. Usually at great personal expense.

    An identity?

    Sportscar

      For some people, their money is who they are. It’s the thing that gives them a sense of worth; their self esteem, their confidence – or arrogance. Take away their money and they feel worthless and insecure; they lose their identity and their power (or perceived power anyway). Rather than it being a necessary resource, it has become their reason for being. They are captivated by it, driven by it, addicted to it and ultimately destroyed by it. Ironically, their tireless pursuit of wealth at any cost invariably results in bankruptcy in every other area of their life. When we hand over our power to something which can be taken away in a second, we have a tendency to become very vulnerable and insecure. If not, paranoid and obsessed.

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      Wealth without the money

      What about the notion of being rich without having significant money or assets? Well, that depends on your definition of wealth. In my opinion, some of the wealthiest people don’t have much money at all and some of the poorest people are literally millionaires – it’s a matter of perception and definition isn’t it? While it’s not said too often or too loud in mainstream society (political correctness and all), the underlying message seems to be:

      Money = happiness
      More money = more happiness
      Most money = most happiness

      Having worked with some obscenely rich folk over the years, I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no universal correlation between increased material wealth and increased happiness. And no, financial wealth and happiness are not necessarily mutually exclusive either.

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      Anti-Money?

      At the other end of the scale we can find the anti-establishment, anti-material possession, anti-money brigade who see money as evil and the pursuit of it analogous to sin. This doesn’t seem to be a very practical, realistic or empowering paradigm to inhabit either. There’s nothing wrong with money. After all, money can’t be good or bad, it’s just a bunch of paper that’s been assigned a value by us! No, money only becomes bad or destructive when it comes to represent something that it shouldn’t.

      What do I think?

      Dollar sign

        Now before I get three hundred emails telling me that I’m a hypocrite because I charge companies thousands of dollars to work with them, don’t misinterpret my thoughts on money. Making money or being wealthy is not of itself, a bad thing. In fact, for the most part I admire people who succeed in business – as long as that success doesn’t come at the cost of their values, their health, their relationships, their integrity, their life, or their emotional, psychological and spiritual development. As long as we recognise and use money for what it is and don’t bow down before it, we should have a relatively healthy relationship with it. Do I have financial goals? Yep. Are they at the top of my list? Nope. Do I focus on, or obsess about, money? Nope. Have I ever struggled financially? Yep. In fact, for the majority of my adult life I have not earned a lot of money.

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        By the way, even with my business aspirations and goals I have never been driven by money. Of course it’s an issue and a challenge from time to time, but it’s not why I do what I do. If I was all about money, I wouldn’t be writing this article – I’d be doing something that I get paid for. I’ve been driven by a desire to do whatever I do with excellence, to have fun and to impact the lives of others in a positive way – I see my (moderate) financial success as a by-product of that pursuit.

        People often suggest that “money is the root of all evil”, which is actually a misquote of a scripture from the New Testament which says, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy, 6:10). See, even two thousand years ago they were talking about this stuff!

        Didn’t know I could be theological did you? Me either!

        Tell me about your relationship with, or thoughts on, money.

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        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on January 21, 2020

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

        Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

        your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

          Why You Need a Vision

          Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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          How to Create Your Life Vision

          Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

          What Do You Want?

          The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

          It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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          Some tips to guide you:

          • Remember to ask why you want certain things
          • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
          • Give yourself permission to dream.
          • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
          • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

          Some questions to start your exploration:

          • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
          • What would you like to have more of in your life?
          • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
          • What are your secret passions and dreams?
          • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
          • What do you want your relationships to be like?
          • What qualities would you like to develop?
          • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
          • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
          • What would you most like to accomplish?
          • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

          It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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          What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

          Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

          A few prompts to get you started:

          • What will you have accomplished already?
          • How will you feel about yourself?
          • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
          • What does your ideal day look like?
          • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
          • What would you be doing?
          • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
          • How are you dressed?
          • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
          • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
          • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

          It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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          Plan Backwards

          It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

          • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
          • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
          • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
          • What important actions would you have had to take?
          • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
          • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
          • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
          • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
          • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

          Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

          It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

          Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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