Everybody would like to have money; but who enjoys giving it away? Now more than ever, I notice confusion of the actual role of money; lots of people dread spending money. Rarely do I notice a person appreciating the process of exchanging money for things; as if money itself is wealth.
More often than not, we’re people who are more focused on the bill, than what we’ve purchased. Instead of expressing gratitude for the roof over our head that we’re able to afford, we get upset that it’s time to exchange the numbers we’ve collected in our bank computer for it; like the paper is worth more than the warm, dry, peaceful living space.
We don’t give much attention to the role of money in our lives, yet we always want more. Neglecting our real riches, we view the world coming from a place of lack and limitation – our problems become money problems.
From my own life’s situations, I’ve learned that we change our experience with something when we change the way we look at it. I’m no expert, but my logic tells me appreciating the role of money-spender can potentially change our experience with money. Even if it doesn’t stop us from wanting more, it could help us appreciate what we have even more.
As our income increases, so does the significance of the role of money, and the power of our spending habits; and that’s what governs how much we have left over.
So, if we want to become wealthy, financially independent, or even financially free, we need to become financially educated.
The Role of Money in Daily Life
In the way the world works today, financial education is one of the most powerful types of education there is.
Unfortunately, it’s not properly taught in our school systems, and barely any of us have the knowledge passed down from earlier generations.
So, because we have a completely different idea of money’s true function, we put its place in life on a pedestal.
It’s so widespread through our culture that it even drives some of us to a point where we’d trade even more precious things for it; like our time, health, friends, family, or even integrity. Like selling our car for gas, we exchange things finite – our real riches, and we call it an even trade.
At some level, we have to understand that money is an illusion; a series of numbers in a computer at the bank, not even backed by gold anymore.
Although money can undoubtedly be a tool used to turn dreams into reality, it DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT determine our sense of security, freedom, and feeling of empowerment. Moreover, money shouldn’t govern our feeling of being alive and sense of worth.
With or without it, we always have a choice and an ability to contribute to help those we love, and those in need.
My intuition tells me that once the role of money is put in its proper place, it’ll be much easier to learn the rules to the game, and then play them better than we ever used to before.
How Money Comes
Money comes from an exchange of value.
The way people earn their money (wages or profits) is by trading something else of value for it. Whether it be through a product or a service, value is transferred from one end to the other. Money is just a consequence of this transition.
Take for example the cashier at a supermarket, looking to gain a position as manager. He can’t just fulfill his responsibilities as a cashier, and expect to one day be a manager of the store. Instead, he has to increase his knowledge of the operations in the store, and actively put it to use; he has to work his job as a cashier, help the guy bagging the items, guide the newbie stocking the shelves, and even be willing to clean the floors when there is a spill; most importantly, he has to maintain a patient and positive attitude throughout the entire process.
It would be like the genuine efforts of a bee, gathering for honey; the cashier would have to work for something bigger than himself, and the position.
The bee doesn’t think about the honey; if it thinks at all, it thinks about its service; not the consequence of its service.
From what I’ve seen, there’s two major types of attitudes on this effort. One is that held by the individual who is completely happy about what they’re doing. They work with actual desire to work, and gain a feeling of significance from seeing the good work done. They achieve a true sense of fulfillment because they lose themselves in their effort – working wholeheartedly.
…The best way the second attitude can be described, is to sum it up, in total, as a sacrifice – clock in/clock out, all for the love of the great illusion – money.
Honor What You Earned
A great way to appreciate the rewards from honest work, is to have rewards left over to appreciate.
Many of us are solid, hard-working people, trying to create a good life for ourselves and those we love. Sometimes though, while we’re exerting our efforts on the challenges to do so, we lose sight of the impact of our spending habits.
The role of money becomes unsettled, and we start spending in ways we normally wouldn’t. Thirsty, and dehydrated, in a hurry to drink some water, we spill some from the sides of the cup. We’ve all splurged at one point or another.
Sure – there’s a certain price we have to pay to live. We make money in order to spend it; and if we don’t use the money it’s just as good as paper; but even paper can be wasted and put to good use.
The way in which we spend money can really boil down to the way we do anything else; it’s the choices we make.
We make decisions based off of a pain/pleasure system – our decisions are purposely made to avoid pain and increase pleasure. This is why when we want to survive, we first pay for our housing, warmth, and food. This is also why when we’re feeling down, and need a pick me up, we buy something we probably don’t need.
We all have things in mind that we would like to enjoy – our Starbucks or Jamba Juice fix, new clothes, new technology, new car, or even an upgrade to our living place.
It’s acceptable; we want to add to our conveniences, and make our circumstances more comfortable. If we are making money, and we’re able to afford these things, we should show ourselves a good time; we deserve it.
However, just like how we prioritize our spending when it comes to survival, we should prioritize our spending when it comes to growth and entertainment.
The joy we feel from having more stuff is based on external things; and so the happiness it brings is very short lived.
From my experiences, a much better way to appreciate money we’ve earned is to invest it to bring more money; and further, into creating pleasant experiences and memories.
To sum it all up, our perspective for the role of money in our lives will govern how we behave with it. Our education of finance should be just like our education of ourselves – never-ending.
We created the idea of money, and we are in control of it; it should never be a determining factor for the quality of our lives.
If at any point we want to earn more, all we need to do is increase our output of value; and whenever we feel like we don’t have enough, we just need to adjust our focus on life’s real pleasures and pains.
It’s time we drop the illusion we think we want, and find out what it is we actually crave.
Question: What does money truly do for you?
When the role of money isn’t in its proper place, more of it doesn’t rectify our problems; it intensifies them.