Money. What is it, anyway? Why is it such a preoccupation in our lives? We go to work and toil under the delusion that it will soothe our woes. When we don’t have it–and don’t possess the means to acquire it–it has the power to make us feel deeply depressed.
At the same time, we all know that the pursuit of money is not the route to solving all our woes and worries. It can provide us with a moment of pleasure, but not eternal happiness.
What a conundrum!
We humans are completely irrational when it comes to money matters. The fluctuations that we see in the stock market point to the trend of how our emotional highs and lows drive the ups and downs of the market.
From savers to spenders to misers; money has the potential to bring out the best and the worst parts of ourselves.
Talking honestly and openly about money isn’t easy either. It is full of trap doors, societal taboos and hidden rules. In some cases, it can even be a source of embarrassment and grief. In some societies, talking about money is a strong social taboo; while in other societies, that’s all people seem to talk about.
The values and attitudes we have about money come mainly from four sources.
1. Childhood: How our family viewed money leaves a significant impression regarding how we view our finances.
2. Education: How our educators taught us to view money also plays a big role in how we view work and its relationship to money.
3. Social Circle: How we view ourselves in relation to our peers also plays a big role in how we view our own self-worth.
4. Economy: Economic factors such as war, economic booms and busts also influence the way a society views and manages its finances on a macro level.
Through these four sources, we end up with very mixed messages about what money is, what it means to be wealthy, and where we should spend or not spend our money.
Day in and day out, we are bombarded with messaging on abundance and scarcity; on equity-based wealth distribution as well as fairness and tit-for-tat wealth measurement criteria.
At the heart of all this conditioning then, is the very simple yet complex question which asks: what is money worth to you and what are you willing to do for it?