You’ve seen the commercials. He’s the “Cashman” or “Loan Arranger.” He gives you cash. Mullah. Bread. Money is the singular goal common to all people.
Money is immortalized in writings and songs. “Money makes the world go ‘round,” “money can’t buy me love,” “another day older and deeper in debt,” and “I am a material girl” are everyday catchphrases.
Yes, I know, it’s not breaking news. Money is the hub of our personal lives. It’s also the primary source of personal, national, and international wars. It’s the throne of power possessing its own obscure, complicated dynamics and language.
I agree. People want wealth as much as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman wanted money to fulfil his grandiose dreams. But money, as a cure-all or reward for performance, lacks durability and staying power. Money is just not enough.
There are more rewards on the line than the simple accumulation of capital. Take a lesson from an old comedian, Jack Benny. When confronted, in a skit, by a robber demanding, “Your money or your life,” Jack replied in defence, “I’m thinking about it.”
Is it possible to have too much money? I can’t answer that. However, I’m certain too much money raises issues spinning around matters of trust and purpose. You want to earn enough money to be secure, and perhaps achieve status but, thereafter, there’s got to be more.
Don’t you want to be part of something more than yourself? Don’t you want to be challenged? Don’t you want to be part of a legacy? We all need purpose in our lives, whether still working or retired.
Don’t recoil from money but supersede it. Focus, foster, appreciate, and applaud those moments, in yourself and others, of loyalty, trust, contribution, and a job well done. Set high standards and recognize accomplishments. Skip the criticisms. Make failures learning experiences. It’s so cliché, yet so true.
Perhaps the soundest advice that I can give that relegates money to its proper perspective is this: Don’t operate on an ‘if-then’ plane. If I do this, then I will get that. If you do this for me, then I will give you compensation. If I sell more, then I will make more. You get the idea.
In place of an ‘if-then’ modus operandi, plant a culture of contribution, celebration, and coolness (I wanted to say ‘fun’ but the alliteration overpowered me). Socially or professionally, don’t let money be your primary incentive. It’s really not about the money.