Estimated reading time: 16 minutes, 51 seconds
As a friend of mine often says, "it's all about the coin". Money plays an important role in our life. As much as we would like to not admit it, it really does. Money influences us in many different ways. Whether we work for it or whether it's given to us, the majority of us have a finite amount of money. What you do with the finite amount of money you are given dictates every aspect of your life: from the car you drive, the home you live in, the friends you hang out with and even person whom you fall in love. Money is involved with everything we do, say or have. It influences every aspect of our life. So it's no surprise that it has a lot to do with our happiness.
I often wonder what it would be like to have an infinite amount of money. Would it make me happy? Would it make me more compassionate? How would it effect me? How would it effect the average person? How would it effect you? How would it effect you as a human being?
I shouldn't say an infinite amount of money, because that's not the cards a typical person is dealt in life. Some people are born into a life of luxury, yes, but you will often find their life is not as "nice" or pleasant as you would have thought. Sometimes it takes experiencing lack in order to create an appreciation for having an abundance. That's why you often see people who have tremendous wealth be more conservative in showing it, rather than someone who was born into money, who oftentimes flaunt it. Warren Buffett still lives in the same house that he had decades before he became a billionaire. Do you think he flaunts his wealth? I'm not saying that people should not have nice things simply because they are afraid of being labeled as snobbish or flamboyant in showing people they have money. I'm simply saying, that wise people (as I see it) should follow the Maslow's hierarchy of financial health BEFORE they spend an outlandish amount of money on creating the illusion they have wealth, when they actually do not.
Now, Maslow's hierarchy of financial health does not exist, but it is a tool I use (Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) to model the financial paradigm I subscribe to. The top level of the pyramid is what I like to think of as the point when you don't have to go to a JOB to live whatever lifestyle you want to live... self actualization. Many people experience this only when they retire, I'm telling you that it is possible now, and waiting 30 or more years is foolish. This concept is not new, Tim Ferris based his book "The Four Hour Work Week" around this principle . He calls this class of citizens the "new rich". I urge you to read it, if you haven't done so. I agree with most of his points but I insert one thing into my belief system that he does not, something which I will discuss later.
I question whether a person can truly be self actualized if they are worrying about going to a job they hate, just because bills need to be paid and kids have to be fed. I'm not by any means saying you should not have children, they are a gift from God, the Universe, or whatever deity you may answer to. But you truly can have it all... a job, extra money, kids, happiness,just everything.. eternal bliss.
Our goal as humans is to be self actualized, isn't it? Self actualization is the top tier on Maslow's pyramid for a reason. It's at the top because it's as high as you can go in our human spectrum of needs. It's the final destination in our pursuit of happiness as us humans know it. It comes after we've satisfied the most basic of needs. It's also how I personally measure my overall health; mentally, physically and even financially.
However, as simple as it sounds, many find self actualization difficult to achieve and many clearly never reach the top. Why? It is hard to be self actualized when you are struggling to pay for the Mercedes that you couldn't afford. It's hard to be self actualized when you don't know when you'll be able to feed your children next. On a micro level, and often buried in our subconscious; love and money or the lack of either, is the root of many of life's ailments. They are the root of our problems; the depression, disappointment, jealousy and all the other negative emotions. Does this sound familiar? I am in the process of still discovering how love and money can help (or keep) me from living the life I want. I am telling you what I have learned thus far.
There are people who make 500K or more a year, beholding to their jobs, because they have debt that was created based on their going into work every day to repay it. This is referred to as linear income. I dont want to live a life that most linear income workers live. I'd rather be poor and happy than rich and miserable. Does that make sense? Trading your life in to buy "junk" and giving a free loan to Uncle Sam every month? How can self actualization be your reality when acting as a drone/zombie at your job? How can it be a reality when your moments of joy are but a fleeting moment on the weekends. How can it be your reality when your job consumes a major portion of your life?
It sucks to think some people are stuck in that cycle. A cycle with fleeting moments of happiness. They go to school, get a high paying job, spend money based on their future earnings, have kids, then die. All the time in between going to a job they hate, doing what they are told, worrying about their future. They worry.. just live life worrying. They worry about their family, their wife, husband or partner. It's time to release the worry and let it go.
There is a way to break out of what Robert Kiyosaki called "the rat race" .... you can work for the man and accumulate large sums of cash in the process. No that was not a typo. There are many doing just that, so my lecture doesn't apply to you. There are many people who go to work for the joy of it... and that's it. I read an article recently where a janitor left his 6M dollar fortune to a library and hospital... do you think he needed to work as a janitor? Do you think he liked his job? What did he do differently than the rest of us? He obviously leveraged his job. He used his linear income to make himself fabulously wealthy. He was wise and invested in the stock market, where he made his 6M dollar fortune... He most certainly didn't make it through the years working as a janitor. Even a well paid doctor would have a hard time accumulating that sum of money after the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) "penalty" they endure... I'm sure there are exceptions, but are there?? I'd much rather be a janitor and spend/invest my money wisely than be a stressed out doctor anyday... wouldn't you??
So really, you need a couple of things to make it big in this world...and live the life of your dreams. You never know where anyone stands or what they are doing.. so its important to never judge, it's negative. As you will learn, any negative feelings, no matter their source, only returns to the source, YOU. We all just want to experience true happiness, right? We all need the confidence that our current station in life isn't a permanent one. If you are happy with your life, then GO YOU! That statement isnt applicable to you.
It's all about being happy.. isn't it? There are people with tons of money who aren't happy. So money isn't a means to an end. You have to be happy first! So for me, it isn't "all about the coin", it's all about being happy. As Rhonda Byrne once said "You have to be happy FIRST to receive happy things" That's how important being happy is.... You can't receive anything in life when you aren't happy about it. I'm not implying you have to be happy about not having money... or be happy about not having a partner. Or be content with your status quo. I'm just saying being disappointed that you don't have money or whatever it is that you want only pushes those things further away. ANY negativity towards something you want only pushes it that much further away from yourself. It really is that simple. It is so simple I said it twice. 🙂
So anyway, I'm not speaking to those of you who are happy... if you are ecstatic most of the time, keep doing what you're doing. But if you need some improvement in your life, a lack of love and money is often at the root of it.. "money is the root of all evil" as the old adage wisely tells us.
So where do you start? STOP spending money you don't have. START being happy. Sounds easy, right? If you can't pay cash for it, then don't buy it. As far as being happy goes, you can always find something that makes you happy. Think of your favorite person, someone that makes you laugh, just anything. When I am in a bad mood I often think of funny things people say or do, especially things from people I care about.
Back to money, you also need something to leverage so more money can pour into your life. That could be a job, money that was loaned to you or something you sell on ebay. In this day and age, you can get money, it's easier than ever . But what you do with the money you get makes all the difference in the world. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made, promises broken.. and new ones established.. but there is a way out of the rat race and there is a way to experience the joy of being happy most of the time.
So what else do you need to live a happy life, free from the problems that plague so many? You need LOVE.. money is only a tool for you to live the life you want to live. But love needs to be the ruling force in your life if you want to experience true bliss. If you don't have love in your heart, there is not much I can do to help you, or anyone else for that matter. You have to want a great life, you have to feel it, you have to be willing to let go of the excuses, the disappointments and everything elses that distances from the life you deserve. All the negativity only serves to keep happiness dangling over your head... keeping it out of your reach into perpetuity.
Happiness is a byproduct of love... You show love in many different ways... but you have to show it. Equally important, Karma is a byproduct of NOT showing love. If you do something negative, you can count on its return. It may not come back as you expect... but most assuredly it will come back. It returns to you clothed in the circumstances of your life. As I'm sure you've heard, "Karma is a bitch...." but karma is a very simple process.... it's the Universe giving back to you exactly what you gave. Not giving love (through negativity) is just as important in your life as giving love... so mind what you are giving to others or karma will surely pay you a visit. It's a universal law that none of us will ever escape. Have you tried to escape gravity lately? It really is that simple... don't be cruel and don't be mean. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." -Galatians 5:14” What that means for you and your life is, what you give out, you receive back.
You may be asking, how can love have anything to do with money and whether I'm happy or not? How can the love I show or don't show to others impact my life and effect my happiness? It's really simple, and I don't mean love as in the mushy kind you feel for your lover, your grandmother or even your pets. I mean love as the positive force of life. I mean the kind of love that propels you to get up in the morning and live your life. The kind of love that makes you do good things. The kind of love that inspires you to help the ones you care about. The love you feel when you do your favorite things or watch your favorite shows. Love will push you to your limits if you let it, but you have to be receptive to the forces it plays out in your life. You have to be receptive to the lessons it teaches you. You have to be willing to turn away from the negativity that appears in your life. Some people call it the devil, some call it evil.. but anything negative is simply a lack of love. There is no other force in life, there is only one force, that force is love. What you do with this force and how you understand it will ultimately determine your destiny.
You can't express love by being negative all the time. You don't express love by stealing, being dishonest or vindictive. You don't express love by blaming, making excuses, sending negativity to someone or any negative feeling or action. You express love by being a positive force. You express love by turning away from negativity. You express love by being a good person. You express love by giving love. This doesn't mean you let people use and abuse you, this isn't love either. Love is tough and we learn and grow through its law. As part of that learning we suffer consequences. So it is not love for someone to use or abuse you. The answer is to get yourself on the highest frequency you can and the bad situation will resolve itself for you.
There are many ways to be a positive force in life, I don't feel the need to discuss them... but think about it. Are you being a positive force by whining, complaining or blaming? Take responsibility for your actions, lighten up and never say never. Throw negative words out of your vocabulary, I have. My aim is for you to understand how both love and the love for money can coexist in harmony giving you the life you deserve. I'm still working on it for myself, but have learned so much. I would love to share it with you. 🙂
I have suffered from depression as far back as I can remember. There was a time during my youth I didn't know what was wrong with me. Sometimes it was all I could do to get out of bed. I felt hopeless. I did well in school, it wasn't that. But I worried all the time and I didn't have anyone to talk to. It was chronic and damaging to my mental health. I was tired all the time and felt exhausted at the end of each day.I always felt I couldnt be my true self. I overthought everything... I worried myself sick over people I cared about.. Figuratively, I often saw things that weren't there.. I was awkard and lonely. I felt noone wanted me. I'm sure this sounds familiar to so many of you.
I really had to push myself through the years....I had to push myself harder than the average person, but it's something I've always done... sometimes I fail... and I forgive myself for it, and it's usually difficult. I'm not sure what drives me.. but I honestly feel it is the joy I get from making another person's life better because I exist. It is the feeling I get when I see someone happy. It's the feeling I get by striving to be the best person I can be. I am hurt when I can't "fix" someone I care about.. I get so wrapped up in trying to improve their life that sometimes I neglect my own mental hygiene. I neglect doing and thinking the thoughts that make ME happy.
I have flaws, of course, depression being one of my biggest demons... I get determined to go all the way or I don't bother starting... I do this for many reasons... If I don't completely commit, I know what will happen, it won't happen. I try so hard to not let depression take control of my life. Because I know once it does, it's harder than hell to escape its mighty grip.
When I did work a regular job, I worked 6 days a week, 14 hours a day... that was with 2 jobs. I did this because I knew if I didn't the risk of falling back into my state of depression was more likely. Bad moods and feelings begat more of the same... so I stayed busy and didn't have time to think about it. Thankfully, I didn't have the distractions I do today... texting, facebooking, phone calls etc.
I have to be vigilant in who I let into my life... because I know what will happen... one of us will end up getting hurt. Because of this I have only a few people I'm close to and interact with regularly. I find myself caring deeply for certain people.. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing.. but it can be exhausting, especially if the concern you have is not returned.
Sometimes I miss the structure of work, the forcefulness that required me to get out of bed. So for me, when I found my freedom, it was the biggest gift and the biggest curse at the same time. I also have the curse of losing interest quickly so I am very careful in the projects I get involved in or the people I let in my life... because I realized a long time ago... that people get hurt easier than I ever imagined. It hurts me when I hurt others, so I am very careful to keep my distance. I keep my distance in many different ways. I do this to sustain my peace of mind. I do this for my selfish need to be happy.
I tell you this because maybe there is someone out there who has a similar issue. I feel you may need to approach and recognize your own demons before you set off on the path to true self actualization.. as I've defined it.
I will discuss how it's possible to escape the rat race next time and discover happiness using the force of love to your advantage. I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject since my escape 15 years ago.... though I don't consider myself an expert on love, I do have a few opinions on the matter. 🙂
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Maslow's pyramid courtesy of BetterWorks.com