Money Is Not the Villain
After everything that transpired last week, and based on numerous conversations I've had with friends in the industry, it's clear that money is a topic that we can't seem to stop talking about. "It always comes down to money" is a common phrase that I keep hearing. It's true that money seems to make people do crazy things, but this idea only scratches the surface.
I delved deeper into the psychological factors that make money a villain, and I discovered that money itself is not the culprit. The meaning we attach to money and what it represents is what matters.
It's possible to have all the wealth in the world and still operate from a scarcity mindset. This is what I mean: people often say that money makes people do bad things, but in truth, money doesn't have any agency. Money is just a tool, and its value is entirely based on the value we assign to it.
We all understand how money's value is established. It's not based on gold, sheep, or any physical commodity. Instead, it's based on our faith in the institutions that hold and manage our money. And the same applies to individuals.
You can be the wealthiest person in your circle, but if you believe that you need to have more money to feel adequate or to be called "the richest person in the world" to feel satisfied, then no amount of money will ever be enough. You'll always be in a state of deficiency, and the digits in your bank account will never hold any significance because you're defining your worth based on a constantly fluctuating number.
Yes, money is the root cause of many of the world's problems, but it's not solely responsible. The fundamental issue lies in people's mindset that equates money with power. They believe that having more money gives them more influence. However, this perspective is flawed, and people learn this lesson the hard way throughout their lives. They spend their entire lives striving to accumulate more wealth, thinking that the next financial milestone will give them the power they crave. Unfortunately, no amount of money will ever satisfy that hunger.
This mindset is what drives wars, market crashes, and family disputes. People place their self-worth in a number that they can never achieve. Every time they reach their desired financial goal, they move the bar higher. Thus, all of these conflicts and market fluctuations are driven by how broken we are on the inside. If we're afraid that we'll lose everything, we'll hastily move our money from one investment to another or from our retirement fund to our mattress. In reality, what we're afraid of is losing our sense of security and self-worth.
So what is the right way to perceive money? I'm not qualified to give financial advice or tell people what to do with their money. But if the scarcity mindset drives madness, then an abundance mindset should drive growth and prosperity.
If money is just a tool, we should view it as such. The more tools we have, the easier our lives become, and that's a beautiful thing. Tools are resources that help us achieve our goals, accomplish our missions, and create positive change. Nobody considers a person greedy for having too many hammers. However, if a person hoards hammers by stealing them or buying all the ones available, there's a problem. We wouldn't blame the hammers for this; we'd recognize that the person hoarding them has an issue. The same goes for money. When a few people hoard all the available money, the cost of everything goes up, and this causes problems for everyone else. I firmly believe that we can accomplish incredible things if we begin to view money as a tool rather than a finite resource that we must dedicate our lives to obtaining. I believe that the abundance of money arises from sharing it and using it to enhance the lives of others. By teaching everyone to build their own hammer, we can eliminate the need to hoard them, and we can all have as many hammers as we need to accomplish our goals.
So, let's apply this same principle to money. We should teach as many people as possible to view money as a tool and educate them on ways to generate money for themselves so that they never feel that it is a finite resource.
If we start by teaching children to think in terms of long-term returns rather than instant gratification, we may alter the outcome for future generations.
If we learn to think this way for ourselves--which shouldn't be difficult given that modern history has already demonstrated that this is how money works--then the next time there is a potential "crash," we will not harm the economy for everyone by frantically moving all of our assets. Instead, we will know that things will level out and go back up, as they always have. We will also recognize that the best time to invest is when the markets decline, so we should welcome those opportunities and deploy more tools, rather than hoarding them under our mattresses.
In conclusion, we must all do our part. We are a society, and when we point fingers and act out of fear, no one benefits from it. Not you, not the institutions, and certainly not the society that we, as educated and privileged people, are responsible for rebuilding and supporting.