I have never been particuarly interested in money. For a long time this was great - it meant that I learned to enjoy things for the sake of themselves rather than for some arbitrary financial reward. I was able to discover the joy of pursuing a passion rather than pursuing a number.
I hope to retain the essence of this mentality with me forever but a couple years ago, after I dropped out of college, I realized that the whole, "I don't care about money" jibe had run its course in my life.
It was time to care about money.
Admitting that scared me, probably more than much else. It felt like a submission of my innocence, like giving up on a dream. Shunning money has been such a part of me, I worried about who I might become if I shifted my focus to it.
And that's why I knew I had to do it. I replaced my fear with curiosity. I had to re-examine what money meant to me and realize that, if I allow it, it can be a tool that helps me achieve my dreams rather than act as the destroyer of them.
I began journaling about it and the following are 3 revelations that completely shifted the way I felt about earning money. This new mindset finally allowed me to begin supporting myself doing what I love.
Money is Survival
I'd come to believe that money is somehow inherently synonymous with greed as if food were inherently synonymous with obesity. No - I'm able to recognize that food is a vital and incredibly pleasurable part of life, worth celebrating. Is money so different?
Perhaps not at all. In fact, it is a man-made representation of the very same thing. Food is first something necessary for survival, second a source of pleasure and, last, an opportunity for over-indulgence.
There's a stage in life where money is an issue of survival, period.
If I were starving and worked for nothing but to acquire food, I wouldn't think, "But what if I get obese?" Why is it that with money we allow ourselves to be so afraid of step 3 when we haven't even made it past step 1 (especially doing something we love)?
Until we have the necessities of life under control - food, shelter, clothing and more - it's hard to think about long-term happiness or large-scale impact.
In fact, I've come to believe that one of the incredible benefits of the societies that humans have created is that they use currency to consolidate all of our basic human needs into just one: money.
Money allows us to focus on our strengths and passions in exchange for survival instead of hunting for food and building shelters individually. What an incredible gift that I'd been overlooking for so long.
Money is Water
Blaming money for the troubles of the world is like seeing a painting that offends you and blaming the paint rather than the artist.
Except that currency comes from the word currere, meaning to run or flow, in latin. It is a medium in flow - currents of money running everywhere.
Rivers of money crossing borders, lakes of it flowing into each other, oceans of it being collected. Waves of money both propelling great ventures and pummeling others into the rocks.
And, ultimately, like water, money itself is indifferent. It's all around you whether you like it or not and it behaves however its environment dictates it to.
If you want to influence the behavior of money, if you want to do some good with it, then you have a responsibility to tap into that flow and create an environment that uses that elemental power for good.
Money is a Magnifying Glass
Money magnifies the qualities of the person who has it.
For me to fear who I am with money is to say I fear who I am without it.
Becoming comfortable with larger amounts of money is an act in self-trust and learning that you're as good as you are rich as you are poor and poor as you are rich.
The very people who would often be the best stewards and magnifiers of money are the ones who fear it the most - what's missing for them is just trust.
One of the greatest motivations for me to earn more money came when I realized that money is one of the most powerful ways to help shape the world I want to live in.
What Happened When I Accepted These Beliefs
These ideas came from 2 journal entries I wrote while living at a friends house in November 2010 called 'What I love about money' and 'What I hate about money (barriers to remove)'.
By January 2011, I was earning enough to afford my own apartment and my income has risen since.
No doubt, it took more than journaling and a lot of hard work was involved - but I had been working hard for a long time! What changed is that suddenly I allowed myself to actually channel that effort into something valuable to myself and other people.
What I hope is that in reading this article you've come to learn more than just 3 new perspectives on money but also that diving into your beliefs can be the key you need to unlock the life you want.
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