Let’s talk about money, whether we like it or not but money plays a big role in our lives. To a certain degree, this is normal as we all need money to provide for ourselves, have a roof above our head and put food on the table. This post is not to say that money is irrelevant in life because we all know it isn’t. I want to talk about another aspect of money, money is motivation and why I think that this is the worst decision you could ever make.
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing thing you don’t like doing, which is stupid.”
– Alan W. Watts
The Late Alan Watts was a British philosopher that had a very distinct opinion about the value of money, now many years later his words still strike sense. In our society, it is expected that we live our lives conform our social norms and values. This mostly means that we should get a good education, find a stable job, buy a house we most likely can’t really afford so that we can start a family and teach our children to do the same. But does that make sense?
Given a number of articles you can read about on any business website or even professional platforms such as LinkedIn, you will notice that many people are not happy in their job. But why do we do this, why do we limit our happiness and ultimately the quality of our life.
Money as a constraint
We work to earn money; we need money to live. That is a simple truth. But often there is a very strong emphasis on earning money, often so strong that it influences all our decision and eliminates the rational behavior. In the end, no matter how you look at it, money does not determine if you had a happy life.
Our constant obsession with money causes us to put a too big focus on the accrual of money. We are always busy to get more, have more as if our worth or success is directly related to the things we have. Money also causes us to lose focus on what we really want if money itself becomes a goal instead of a tool to realize a goal.
How many people stick to a job just because they need the paycheck every month, how many of these people are truly happy with their life. I for one was one of those people, I put boundaries to my personal ambitions because I thought that the security of a paycheck every month was too important.
Another important aspect is that somehow we all adapt to having more money available, thus the difficulty to live without a certain numbers becomes instantly greater. We all know that feeling of getting a long anticipated raise, finally some more financial freedom. But for some reason we all find a way to spend the extra money regardless. Maybe we finally get a bigger car, we renovate parts of our house or we take that exclusive membership, the point is we don’t enjoy more financial freedom but actually less.
Join the new rich
We all fantasize about having a substantial income, for us to finally have the freedom to do what we want. However, in most cases, as we also saw above, more money does not equal more freedom. Let’s assume that you are a lawyer at a fancy law firm in a city like New York or London. You probably make a very decent salary and could have a very decent life. But what about the ‘costs’ that make it possible for you to earn such money. You can’t be a half decent lawyer in a big city without spending a substantial amount on the side. You probably enjoyed a very expensive education for which you need to pay off debt. Your general life expenses are most likely higher than that of someone who works in a smaller city and company. After you paid for expensive condo, suits, dinners and other various expenses, you might not earn that much more than other who have a less fancy job.
Tim Ferriss talks a great deal about this in his book ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’, he argues that in a lot of these cases associated costs to earn a high income often offset the significance of extra income. What Tim sees as the future is what he calls the new rich, no high number of fixed costs per month and more financial freedom. In most cases to achieve financial freedom, takes less money than we would often think. Financial freedom is not only achieved by having a lot of money but also by not being a constraint to have a lot of financial obligations.
Let’s assume the following. You are going to the moon and back at your current job and times couldn’t be any better, your boss decides to give you a fat promotion and bonus. As you have always wanted to buy an Aston Martin you decide that this is the right time to buy one. But what happens if you lose your momentum at your job and your new car is suddenly out of your budget, this will only bring more stress in your life and limits your freedom. Maybe you only like to drive your Aston Martin during the summer months so why not rent one for the time that you actually use it and if your situation allows it you can rent an even nicer one next year.
A final note
Money is important in life and you should care about it, no money is a problem but always wanting more is an even bigger problem. You should define your passion without looking with how you can earn money with it, that is a concern for later. As soon as you do something that you enjoy, other people will notice how much you enjoy it and they want to stick close to you. The moment you start to bring value to other people’s life, money will follow eventually.
It is the time we stop doing things we don’t like so that we can spend money on things we don’t need. Take control of your own life and use money merely as a tool, don’t let it dictate you finding your own passion.
So what do you think, what is your passion and how do you plan to add value to the people relevant to your field? I am looking forward to your comments and stay awesome!