Having money can be one of the best things that will ever happen to you. It can provide you with food, security and added comfort. It can also be one of the worst things that can happen to you.
Money in itself will not solve your problems. Wise people through the ages have repeatedly learned and passed on the lesson that life is not so much about what happens to you, or your external circumstances, as it is about your reaction to your circumstances. Sadly most people will never figure this out. They may read about it, hear about it, see it written on a subway wall, or in the text of an ancient Stoic Philosopher, but just reading it or hearing it once or twice won’t help you internalize it. It won’t make it part of who you are and how you respond to situations. To do that takes a concerted effort over time. Frankly, most of us aren’t focused enough to ever do this.
There are many lessons that come with having money, and they can only be learned over time and through experience. There is no instant knowledge, no magic pill, that will give you what you need to know in a few minutes of reading. But here are 5 important lessons that you should take the time to learn if having a lot of money is one of your goals.
- You can lose it faster than you can make it. Surprisingly, this is something that doesn’t occur to a lot of people as they acquire their wealth. Having made money, they get a sense of “having arrived.” They think they’ve solved the puzzle and found the key to the magic kingdom. They are deluded into thinking that they are somehow smarter than others with less money. Money needs to be managed, and this is a significant skill in itself. It you don’t know how to manage money you won’t have it long. If you think you can hire someone trustworthy to manage it for you, you will have it for an even shorter time. If you make money, and want to keep it, you need to set a portion aside and learn how to shield it from risk. It must not be exposed where it can be lost if other ventures fail.
- It is just a tool to facilitate trade. Money in and of itself is of no use. It is just paper and metal. It is a representative article; something that can be traded for what you really want. Deciding what you want is not as simple as it seems. Ask most people what they want and you’ll get answers that betray their ignorance. Houses. Cars. Boats. Clothes. Toys. None of these things are what you truly want anymore than money is. It is what they represent, that is what you want. They need to spend time studying Maslows Hierarchy of Needs. What they truly want are things like Safety, Security, Self-esteem, and Self-Actualization. Understanding what you really want will help you to do the right things with money in order to have had a life worth living.
- After a point, more won’t make you happier. If some money made life better then more will make it even better right? Wrong. After satisfying your basic needs, more money is not going to make you happier. There are basic requirement you need in life to survive, but once you’ve attained these, there are other things like a sense of purpose, good friends, and a genuine sense of gratitude, that will make you wake up every morning and look forward to the day.
- You can hoard it, or you can use it to change the world. Let’s face it; this world of ours needs some work. Once your basic needs are secured, and a reasonable amount of resources is set aside for the future, a bigger investment account amounts to nothing more than hoarding. Examine your values and what is important too you, and do what you can to make the world a better place; before it’s too late.
- Having money means having a target on you. In case you haven’t thought about it, once you have money, there will be a lot of people trying to find a way of getting it from you. It’s sad and very, very unfortunate, but true. There are those who will do anything to get it away from you. Anything. Misguided souls who still think that money is the answer to everything. There is a reason that the wealthy have to hire security experts.
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TODAYS GRATITUDE LIST
On today’s gratitude list I’d like to say thanks to Dan Erickson. I don’t really know Dan, but we cross paths on Twitter. Dan sets an example by his consistency, and his “not to much, not too little” approach to posting, which keeps me inspired to do the same. Of course I also like that his posts are about helping other people lead happier lives, which is what I’m about too.