What does money mean to you?

by Jeff Cannon from Mind Body Green

Money is not good or bad or evil. Money simply is.

It’s a marker for the value that you created for someone else. It holds no power on its own. Without you it is nothing. With you it is simply an enabler. What you do with it is your choice, and it’s how you bestow whatever energy you want to on the money that is yours.

If you doubt this, just step back for a moment and think about the Tao of money. Money was not created thousands of years ago in some wild brainstorming session. It evolved out of human interaction, which started when people got tired of carrying pounds of grain to a market every time they wanted to buy some meat.

Today it’s no different. Jobs and products may have changed, but the system remains the same. I bring this up because so many people have an aversion to making it. It’s as if they believe they have lost their integrity once people are willing to pay for the value in what they do.

In the end, the only real question is not whether money is good or bad. 

The only question is what will you do with yours? 

You can do good and give your money to charities; Bill Gates does that in the billions. You can follow your ego and spend it on influence, although our political system is already weighed down with enough of that. You can invest it in a child’s education and watch them flourish or you can spend it on one-time indulgences and watch as they go out of style.

Whichever way you go, know that you get what you pay for. If carrying around a logo bag is your thing, go for it. Just know that when the next runway show comes along, your self-worth hinges on your ability to buy the next one some marketer has told you is the “must have” item.

You see, real wealth is not about carrying around someone else’s logo. Real wealth is about being able to create the life you want to live. It has nothing to do with the most expensive car or watch or house or vacation.

In fact, real wealth is not about money at all. 

Real wealth is being able to liberate your aspirations in your own way. It’s about slowing down your world and understanding who you are, so that you can bring your own aspirations to life and make your life as vibrantly authentic as possible. That is a luxury few people can afford no matter how much money they make.

You see, and here is a little secret, the more you buy, the more you lose your way. The more you let products define who you are, the less you’re able to do it yourself. In today’s world, finding a level of simplicity that works for you is the only thing that matters.

When you learn to look at an item and ask yourself, “will this help me create the life I was meant to live, or is it just a distraction that will prevent me from getting there?” That’s the point at which you just bought your life back.

Take the time to find where your own point of balance lies. Somewhere between austerity and the world is your authentic life. And that point is where your own personal wealth lies.

Next time you think about spending or splurging, don’t think about the money it will cost. Think about the time it will demand of you.

That includes the time it took you to pay for it, as well as the time it will demand of you as you cherish it, dote on it, worry about it; for that is time that could be spent creating real relationships with the real people in your life, like family, friends and yourself.

When you start looking at the objects in your life in terms of what it takes to attain and maintain, you’ll start to learn the value of a 20-minute nap. You’ll also understand what it costs you to be home so that you can hug your son or daughter. These are true luxuries in every sense of the word. Those are the real rewards that personal affluence affords.

You see, in the end, wealth is not about showing off the latest gadget. It’s about being able to simplify your own life so that you can afford the kinds of personal luxuries that truly matter. When you learn to simplify your life, you learn to the value of a minute, and only then can you make every minute count.

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