"Lack of money is the root of all evil."
George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist and Socialist
1856 - 1950
What is Your Mindset toward Money and Materialism?
Money Something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, or a means of payment; officially coined or stamped metal currency; a form or denomination of coin or paper money.
Materialism A preoccupation with or stress upon materials rather than intellectual or spiritual things; the focus and assumption that material items can fulfill an individualís soulful needs.
What do you believe about money and materialism?
I think much of our society has it wrong about money and materialism, including the positions taken by both the left- and right-wing agendas.
Before you judge any of my contrarian comments, please read the entire article. I will provide a roadmap for you to consider.
First, money is an inanimate object. It is neither good nor evil. Money is neutral. We need it to survive and thrive in our developed society.
The reality is that individuals are either honorable or evil -- not money.
Some erroneously link the accumulation of money or wealth to materialism but I contend you do not have to have money or things to be materialistic. Many who are poor are also materialistic.
The materialism mindset is independent of your monetary status.
On a recent TV show, the host was trying to link wealth to unhappiness and suggested that if we reduced our wealth, we all would be happier. I almost jumped through the screen, this host was so off-base. If his comments are taken literally, then Vancouverís Downtown Eastside -- the poorest area in Canada -- should contain the happiest people in the country. Of course that is not true.
So, Ken, if you are suggesting that money is not evil and materialism is independent of wealth, what does that really mean for me?
- It is materialism, not money, that is detrimental to our society.
- Wealthy people are not, by definition, "materialistic."
- Materialism, in its most basic premise, means that a human being is trying to fill his or her spiritual needs with external items. This is the person who believes that if he could only get that latest iPod, he would be happy -- but when thatís not enough, he needs a new cell phone, car, partner, and so on.
The pressure to become materialistic is all around us, but we can choose not to participate. (I need this message as a reminder, just as many of you do.)
If you are hooked on materialism, you will never be satisfied. It will never end. This pertains to teenagers who have become consumer junkies and adults craving the latest gadget. They are knowingly or unknowingly in the mindset that external items (materialism) will fulfill their deepest spiritual needs.
Here is where many people who are not wealthy become confused.
- How can you have a lot of wealth and not be materialistic?
- Because wealthy individuals who are grounded donít get their fulfillment or happiness from "stuff." Money is a reward for the fulfillment of their ambition and willingness to serve their purpose and causes.
Warren Buffet recently gave billions to The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warrenís billions did not make him materialistic. The opposite was true. Because of his money and wealth, he could do more for others. That hardly supports the ideology that money is evil.
In addition, we need to refute the position that the only path to soulful satisfaction is to have nothing and live communally. If that is what a person wants to do, great -- but suggesting that approach is the only way to live and be happy is erroneous.
Admittedly, although we all can cite examples of the negative impact of "money + materialism" -- Paris Hilton, Enron Executives, and WorldCom -- those examples have nothing to do with money itself, nor should they drive individuals to embrace a mindset that suggests money is corrupt.
Finally, another mistaken belief is that success or being wealthy can be achieved only by sacrificing your relationships, family, or health. Sorry, not true. Though there are examples to the contrary, in my experience the most successful individuals -- who are living on purpose -- are leading balanced and fulfilling lives. In reality, it is the person working 2 to 3 jobs -- barely making ends meet, or the small business owner working 24/7, who is out of balance -- literally bankrupting heart and soul to stay alive, with little daily enjoyment.
Recently, I had someone challenge CRGís goal to grow to a billion-dollar business. He said that was arrogant and materialistic. The opposite is actually true. What this person did not understand is that for CRG and many other enterprises that are on purpose, having a billion dollars is not about having a billion dollars.
The billion is simply a measure that we are making a significant impact in the world, transforming millions of lives through CRG resources. If we stayed small, it means we would have done little to Enrich Peopleís Lives.
You can read the Action Steps below to get a summary of a recommended mindset surrounding money and materialism.
- The objective is to become an individual who is grounded and centered in who you are, open to accepting and receiving money, yet mature enough to handle it without becoming materialistic.
Build your confidence and your ability to say Yes to Money and No to Materialism.
What is Your Mindset toward Money and Materialism?
1. Money in itself is neutral, like a rock. It is neither good nor evil. What is your belief about money?
2. Contrary to popular myth, the poor think about money more than the wealthy do. How often do you think about money?
3. Materialism is the act of trying to fulfill your spiritual needs with things and stuff. How true is that for you?
4. Materialism is not determined by your level of wealth; it is determined by your mindset. A personís wealth does not make him or her materialistic. Individuals who have nothing can be materialistic.
5. Stop believing that your deepest soulful needs can be fulfilled by more stuff. But donít buy into the lie that once you have stuff, you canít be soulful and happy.
6. Money does not bring happiness. Neither does poverty.
7. If you donít have enough money to survive, what is your attitude toward abundance? You must be open to receiving wealth and feel worthy of success, before the money will arrive. If you believe money is evil, you probably donít have much of it.
8. True happiness is independent of your level of wealth.
9. It is a myth that success (wealth) is achieved only at the cost of relationships, health, and your family.
10. To be successful yet not materialistic means you are grounded and centered in who you are. You do not require external validation in who you are or your personhood. You accept your soulful and spiritual nature and build your life from the inside out, not from the outside in.
11. The amount of money or success with which you are comfortable is personal. But letís be clear: it is your mindset toward money and materialism that is creating your reality. If you donít have what you want, check out your mindset.
12. The irony is that when you donít NEED material items to be happy, they tend to arrive. And when you acknowledge and embrace the idea that money is only a medium to fulfill your purpose and that it no longer controls you -- you control it -- money arrives.
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose,
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Ken Keis, MBA, CPC, is an internationally known author, speaker, and consultant. He is President and CEO of CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc., Many professionals herald CRG as the Number One global resource center for Personal and Professional Development.
For information on CRG Resources, please visit crgleader.com
For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit kenkeis.com
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