The Money We Value | The Heartfelt Value of Our Earnings

When we emerge from the womb, we don’t possess a clear idea of what financial ‘success’ means. The first few decades of our sojourn on earth is spent accumulating knowledge. We’re usually in our 20s before we gain meaningful employment.

Upon graduation, we have several options that are available to us as we begin our financial journey. We can choose do what we love. We can choose to find a job that pays the bills. Or we can get married and choose to rely on our spouses to provide. These are all viable options.

Many of the top leaders–whether in government, entertainment or business–did not necessarily commence their careers with a specific vision or goal that included the accumulation of wealth or power. The spouses of famous people often say the same. They did not expect that anything like this would ever have happened to them as a family unit.

Life is, indeed, full of surprises.

In the midst of all the uncertainty that life can bring, the individuals who do reach the pinnacles of success have one thing in common. They possess a crystal clear clarity of what they don’t want–even in their early years.

I was determined not to live a life of disappointment. Whatever shape my life took, I told myself, there wasn’t a chance in the world that I was going to toil in frustration and lack fulfillment.

Robert Iger “The Ride of a Lifetime.”

The ability to undertake risks is the foundation stone of creating future exponential returns. To take on these risks, courage is a vital factor. In the very earliest days of our career, when we leave the education system, the job description we need to stand by is pretty much the same–regardless of which field you’re in.

Show up. Be there when needed. Do what is asked of you and do it well. If you mess up, try again till you get it right.

I personally don’t know of anyone who has skipped this job description and ‘done well’ for themselves. Whether they enjoyed the job or not is entirely irrelevant. It is in sticking things out that they realise that they have moulded themselves and gifted themselves with a solid foundation of real world experience for the future.

Over the years, I’ve had many jobs in many different industries. Some paid more, others less. Some made me happy, others had me filled with dread at the thought of heading into work each day. Was there a relationship between the jobs that paid well and how unhappy they made me? For me, the answer is no. I have yet to discover, for myself at least, the correlation between a high salary and misery. I’ve been perfectly miserable in jobs that paid peanuts.

For me, money made that was in alignment with my values felt right. Money made or earned that was out of alignment with my values just felt wrong.

People can be deeply corrupt regardless of the amount of money that is on the table.

Not too long ago, I got into a Grab and as I was alighting, I noticed that the driver had charged me a dollar extra on the App. I was no stranger to this route, having taken it nearly everyday. He had shamelessly dared to sneak in a charge that shouldn’t have been there. A dollar probably wouldn’t have put too big a dent in my pocket, but he didn’t deserve it. The notion that someone could be so deeply dishonest over a dollar has always taught me that it is never about the amount of money that’s on the table.

There’s some unspoken internal programming that allows this individual’s inner compass to point him in a direction that will lead him astray. This is the kind of risk-taking that is never rewarded in the long run. Sure, it’s just a dollar, and it really is not a big deal; but over a period of time, the risks that this individual takes will get bigger and bigger till one day it becomes unsurmountable and unsupportable.

True integrity—a sense of knowing who you are and being guided by your own clear sense of right and wrong—is a kind of secret weapon. They trusted in their own instincts, they treated people with respect, and over time the company came to represent the values they lived by.

Robert Iger. “The Ride of a Lifetime.”

So many people succumb to the false notion that a shortcut will get them to their desired destination faster. Instead of developing the skills they need to succeed in their careers, they get distracted by the art of managing impressions and how they can swindle people–even over a dollar.

Others stay away from the topic of money at all costs. They think it is ‘dirty’ and therefore it is someone else’s job. If you try and open the conversation about money with them, they can grow uncomfortable or become highly secretive.

Some societies are more materialistic than others. How a society expresses its materialism has a lot to do with a society’s values. Think about your own personal values and the values of the society around you. What is the pattern that you notice?

How many of those values have you picked up from your environment? Who or what have you been taking cues from? Whose job do you think it is to provide?

Ask the questions and the answers will find you.

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