Frank Clark, a nineteenth-century lawyer and congressman said, "Many folks think they aren't good at earning money when what they don't know is how to use it." A contemporary pundit, Dave Ramsey puts it this way, "You will either learn to manage money or the lack of it will manage you."
The Truth About Money, this program's purpose is to give you a new perspective, a better understanding of money – what it is, what it represents, and how to make it – so that you can master it, rather than allow money to master you.
We left off in our last session with the realization, the revelation really, that making money is all about creating or adding value; about helping people get what they want. We're all in the people business. Making money is as simple as creating or adding value and helping people get what they want.
If you were sitting in a business school class and were to ask the question: what is the purpose of the business? You'd likely get the simple answer: to make a profit. In most people's minds; make a profit equates to make money. I'm asking you to consider making a profit or making money from another perspective. Generating profits or making money is a function of creating value; doing something which adds value. Profits come from creating new or excess value. Making money is a creative, life-enhancing process.
We mentioned earlier in this program that money possesses an allure. What is it about money that arouses such emotion, such desire to have it?
People are ultimately after feelings. What feeling does having money give people?
A feeling of power. Power. People want to feel powerful.
Maslow through his hierarchy of needs surmised: we first seek to survive – a full belly and comfortable surroundings; we then seek safety and security; then belongingness and love; then esteem and status.
We are social beings. Wanting to feel, people have any number of ways to invoke feelings. What people want – the stuff or things or circumstance is: whatever others have. People want or think they want whatever the people around them have. We really do strive to keep up with the Jones's.
If status and power are popular, more people want status and power.
Money gives us power. But power over what?
When we think of wealth or amassing or having wealth from a material sense we think of stuff or assets: physical resources, land, buildings, vehicles, machinery, and financial assets we can convert into physical stuff. Being wealthy is having control over or ownership of things.
The value of all assets – tangible stuff in the United States, plus financial assets which could be converted into tangible stuff – totals on the order of one hundred trillion dollars. If we were to distribute this wealth evenly, every man, woman, and child would control three hundred thousand dollars worth of wealth. We know, however, neither assets, what I'm referring to as wealth, nor income are evenly distributed.
Remember we said an economy is comprised of four components: physical resources, labor, ideas, and rules of the game. We also determined the common denominator between these elements of an economy is people – people doing things. An economy is built on a foundation of, is comprised of, is people doing things.
Circling back to wanting or craving power, and acquiring money to secure power; we ultimately seek to control or secure power over people's time. Really people's time, energy, and talent applied to doing something we value.
Money, when reduced to its most fundamental meaning represents human being's, your and my, time.
Money is a social construct built on trust solely with the purpose of managing and manipulating people's time.
For all the money in the world – the dollars, the euros, the yen, the pesos, the yuan – for all the physical assets everything can be reduced to and represents people's time. Money represents our time.
Time is the most valuable thing in the world. Time is life. As Christopher Rice pointed out, "Every day is a bank account, and time is our currency… no one is poor, we've got 24 hours each."
Regardless of how much money you have, you are neither rich nor poor, you are alive. Time is your asset. Combining your skills, ability, and imagination – your energy and effort, over time, determine what you feel.
If what you want to feel requires money – in different words, requires the time, energy, and effort of other people – then how do you make money?
By creating or adding value for someone else. Help someone else get what they want and they will pay you in a currency of trust you convert to other people's time – the grocer's, the barber's, the mechanic's, the chef's. Making and employing money are all about managing time.
Your talents, your skills and abilities, your imagination, and your motivation applied over time make the difference.
Three critical, unbreakable laws of life or rules of the game apply to making money. I say unbreakable in that you can't go forward, make progress, or grow – you can't make money – without conforming to these laws. The three essential laws of life are:
Life intends to grow.
Thoughts become things.
And effort before the reward.
Life intends to grow means; all living things seek to increase and expand. You are here to express life; to grow, become, to fulfill your potential. Making money – as opposed to taking money; which we'll talk about in the next segment – making money is fundamentally value-adding. When you create value, you grow.
The second law – thoughts become things – means, from a practical standpoint; everything around you was first conceived in thought before it was created in reality. And thought or thinking is your most valuable tool to navigate life. Thought bridges the gap between you and the ultimate, infinite source. Scarcity does not exist; our thinking is lacking.
And finally, effort before reward means you have to sow to reap. You must give before you can expect to get. You must give your time, energy, and talent first before you will ever receive.
To make money you must obey the law.
I'll introduce one more helpful concept before we move onto the subject of taking money.
Have you ever heard of the Pareto Principle? It's often referred to as the 80-20 rule.
The 80-20 rule simply means that not all things matter equally. Most things are inconsequential; they have little impact and little affect; but a few things, a few things that you focus on, think about, or do have a disproportionate affect.
Look for, focus on, think about, and do the things that have a disproportionately positive effect. Look for and employ levers in every aspect of living and in making a living. We'll talk more about employing levers in the final segment, Lesson 8 of this program.
We'll turn next to taking money.