“A wise man should have money in his head, but not in his heart.” – Jonathan Swift
In many ways, it seems like our culture drives on money. Yet, it might be one of the least reflected-on aspects of modern life. Hated? Yes. Obsessed over? Certainly. Hoarded? All too often. But how often do we reflect on what money is supposed to mean?
As entrepreneurs, money is going to be something we talk, think and deal with constantly. It’s important we put it in its place. If you love money or you hate it – either extreme – you are allowing money to have too much credit and influence on your life.
When viewed in the clear light of day, money is neither as beautiful or as horrible as we make it out to be.
I want to propose an active view of money. In other words, we should see money as potential energy, as opportunity. I want to help others see money for what it really is – a resource, but never something that can bring satisfaction in and of itself.
End Your Love/Hate Relationship with Money:
1. Never disconnect your dollar from what you want to do with it.
“…and [back] then, when you ran out of money, you just go, ‘well I can’t do any more things now, I can’t do any more things’… that was it.” – Comedian Louis CK
A friend showed me this comedian’s skit on money. What I like about this quote is the simplicity of his perspective. Money is just something we can use to do things. One of the best ways to keep money from taking control of our lives is to give it a job to do.
Money that sits around purposelessly is wasted potential.
What I don’t mean is that you should spend every dollar that comes your way. Saving money long-term is wise. Building a safety net of funds is wise. But every dollar we set aside should have a purpose. If we’re building a stockpile out of fear, or just out of habit, the money has mastery over us.
2. Make sure your value system and your budget match up.
“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” –Joe Biden
Another way to make money work for us is to let it reflect to us what our own priorities are. Take a look at what you spend, both personally and in your business. Does it reflect your values and goals as an entrepreneur, or does it tell a different story?
We can give plenty of justifications for our decisions, but the numbers won’t lie to you. Make your bank statement reflect your heart, not just your circumstances and fears.
3. Pass it on.
“I’d like to live as a poor man with lots of money.” – Pablo Picasso
Money doesn’t determine who you are. It’s not part of your identity. Why should having more make you act like a different person? Live your life sincerely, and learn to use money in a way that sustains that.
I believe this wisdom is worth passing on, because our obsession with money is hurting our ability to live meaningful and productive lives. Investors and entrepreneurs should be at the forefront of thought on money, and have the loudest voice about its role. Let’s think sustainability. In line with the old proverb, teaching someone to view and use money wisely is teaching them to fish, not giving them fish for a day.
Spend some time thinking through your relationship with money. Do you have a plan for your bank account? What are you valuing? Are you giving money freely?
All in all, where do you stand with money? This is an important conversation to have with yourself. Have it often.
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