How To Enjoy Money And Life At The Same Time
What Your Money Is Trying To Tell You
The truth about money is that money is a thing. The leaves left in your gutters could have more value and worth if we all agreed they do. Money is just paper, metal or virtual credit in a computer. The truth about money is that if you think you will feel more fulfilled and happier with life only when you have a lot of money, you will be very disappointed.
Now you may be kind of bummed reading that, but I’ve got some good news. Money can be wonderful. In my life I’ve had times where I lived on nickels in my pocket and I’ve lived with plenty in the bank. I’d rather have money because money gives you options. But unless you cultivate internal prosperity, you won’t be smart about how you use those options or you won’t see them in the first place. Further- more, you won’t hang on to that money for very long. So let’s look at what you need to start down the road to internal prosperity, now that you know the truth about money.
It’s easy to look wealthy
If you want to project an image of wealth, all you need to do is project the illusion that you have credit, money or things others value.
Most people measure wealth in terms of the amount of things they have that others want, and the typical unit of measure for wealth is your local currency.
Here, in the United States, it’s the good old U.S. dollar. The dollar is no more than an agreed-upon unit of exchange. It’s only valuable because we believe it to be valuable. It’s a thing. It’s not you.
“Wealth begins at work; prosperity begins at home.”
Take a Lap on the Gerbil Wheel of Debt
Think of debt as that annoying squeak in the back seat that you hear as you drive alone in the car. The squeak distracts you from the beauty of the scenery, and be- fore you know it, you are only worried about the squeak. I knew a guy that bought his dream car, a brand new Volvo, and was enjoying showing it off to everyone. About a week after he bought it, it was totaled. He was driving with the windows down, just enjoying the day, and a bee flew in the window. He was so focused on getting rid of the bee that he ran off the road and hit a bridge support post. He just lost focus on what was most important. The good news is that he survived without major injuries and the bee vanished. The bad news is that his insurance did not cover the entire new loan on his car and he was unable to buy another dream car.
When you are in debt, you are mortgaging your future. What you are doing is promising to generate money in the future to pay off what you have in your hands today. Too much debt means your future is locked down. It robs you of options and flexibility. It means that you become a slave to your creditors and have to work at some job, even if you hate it, to make enough money to pay off what you owe. If you wake up in the morning and you are thinking about how much you hate going to work, you’re clutched in the mouth of the monster of debt. You’ve got saliva dripping off your feet, and in a minute or two you are going down the gullet, never to be heard from again.
It doesn’t have to be that way. You can break free. It is possible for you to wake up almost every morning and look forward to the day with childish glee and anticipation. I’d say I feel that way most of the time because I love what I do and I’m thankful for any day I’m not dead. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a good day.
Why Money Doesn’t Make You Happy
If you’ve nodded your head a few times reading the first three chapters of this book, get ready: I’m going to introduce you to a program which, if you stick to it, will help you to be happy and have money.
First, consider that part of what has been blocking your path to happiness and wealth is a pretty powerful set of perceptions that, if you don’t shake them, will bog you down and make you unhappy. In America, a major underlying perception appears to be that people with a lot of money are happy and fulfilled. The perception of money is “if only.” If only I had more money, my life would be more fun. If only I had more money, I would be happier. If only we had more money, our relationship would be better.
Education is not necessarily the ticket out of the swamp created by the perceptions I just described. Have you ever been taught at home or at school how to manage money? So many people hang their hat on financial education as a treatment for consumer credit and debt problems. People also believe that if only they had learned about finances in school they wouldn’t be in a jam today. They believe they are victims of the educational system, victims of their creditors and victims of life. In fact, even if they had been taught, they probably would not be better off financially because what most people are taught is how to be a money technician, not a money steward.
Many people believe that simply because they are aware of where their money goes, that they really understand the impact money has on their life, both good and bad. This is incorrect.
If You Had a Million Rats, Would You Be Successful?
You achieve true financial success when your internal prosperity expresses itself in your having enough money to meet obligations and to spend. You will be hap- pier with the money you have and make if you can lead a more balanced life. What is financial success? If you can’t identify what it is for you, you’ll never know when it arrives. If you only attempt to seek happiness and inner peace from the accumulation of money alone, you will still feel empty.
Focusing on just the accumulation of money to achieve financial success with- out developing the inner you is like waiting for good friends to pick you up for dinner. If you get distracted, then delayed, and aren’t home when they arrive, you’ll miss out on more than just another dinner out. You’ll miss out on the fun and experiences you would have shared with good friends.
How do you define financial success?
Financial success for many is the number of trailing zeros on the account statement. Look into your crystal ball for a moment and imagine that you had 10 million dollars in the bank. (A lonely one million dollars just isn’t what it used to be so we have to dream bigger.) Take a few moments and daydream about the following for a few minutes. Close your eyes as you visualize your answers. Picture your new life as if you had those 10 million dollars. Hey, if you are reading this book on the bus, kick in that blank soft focused stare instead of closing your eyes. People will think you are being contemplative.
If I had ten million dollars in the bank…