A few weeks ago, the news made rounds about Alex, a 20-year-old trader who committed suicide because he recorded a loss of $730,000, trading options. He wanted to make some money trading on an investment app. Then things went bad. His account was recording $730,000 in a negative value. He didn’t have concrete knowledge of how the whole thing worked, so he assumed he had incurred $730,000 in debt. He felt his future was over and decided to take his own life…
On the other news, a famous Instagram celebrity, popular for his flamboyant display of luxury and wealthy lifestyle, recently got arrested in Dubai with his colleagues after duping over 1.9 million people to the tune of $450 million.
With so many show of flamboyance and promise of easy and quick money all over the media, there is a lot of pressure on young people; or I’ll dare say, young people, put a lot of pressure on themselves to try to ‘make it’. We need to slow down and take a deep breath.
I stumbled on this quote a long time ago. I can’t remember the original author, but I find it particularly profound,
“As we toil and labor through life in search of whatever it is we think we want in life, at the end you realize that all you’ve ever needed is not more money, big houses, or any of those luxuries. But the courage to pursue every one of your dreams in spite of your fears”.
You don’t need a truckload of money to have a rich life. You need the will to live courageously and to thrive in spite of your fears.
So what is the money mistake you most avoid at all cost?
…STOP CHASING AFTER MONEY
Instead, start chasing after value.
You see, most of your money problem will be taken care of if you’ll focus on developing skills and adding value.
There is a pandemic of ‘making it at all cost’. People resort to crime, corruption, fraud, and scam to make money. People fall for different kinds of scams and get rich quick schemes. It just seems like we are caught up in this web of money slavery that people will go to any length to make money, even if it means hurting 1.9 million people. I can agree that bad things also happen to good people. Even when you are struggling to do the right thing to survive, misfortune happens. But hey, nobody told us life was going to be easy. Life is a struggle for survival; this is even more so when you live in developing regions like Africa. It is the courage to get up from every misfortune and keep pushing forward that gives us the pride to identify as victors. It is what gives us stories to tell with pride.
Money is only a fraction of your life
Money can buy you a lot of good things in life. It can make your life more comfortable. It can buy you the things you need and things you don’t need. Money is good. It solves problems and gives freedom of choice. It is important to make money. Look, I have been poor. I mean so poor that we could barely afford a meal a day. I’ve also been financially comfortable. I will choose the latter over the former any day any time, but never at the expense of peace of mind. Money is just one of four important parts of our life. In fact, it ranks number four in the order of importance.
- Physical health
If you have ever been in a bad health condition that you could hardly do what most healthy people do, the last thing on your mind will be to make more money. It’s not a cliché to say that health is wealth. When you are healthy, you already have the basic foundation of wealth. Never sacrifice your health for money.
- Mental health
You don’t have to look too hard to see highly successful people who are depressed, even to the point of taking their own life. Recently, a famous Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, who had achieved what most people older than him could only dream of, took his own life. He had all the money, the fame. Yet he felt living wasn’t worth it. Your mental well-being is more important than chasing money and fame. Your ability to think clearly and relate with people around you is a gift we often take for granted. We are social animals, and a healthy relationship is a natural remedy for mental wellness. In fact, the most common thing people wish for on their death bed is not more money or more work, but more time invested in relationships.
- Spiritual health
This is about having a higher purpose in life; a reason to live that transcends our being. It is about seeing ourselves as part of a grand plan of God’s creation. It is what gives our toil and labor in life meaning and purpose. It is where we find order in the midst of the chaos.
- Financial health
It is only when these three are right that money takes a meaningful place. If you are not physically, mentally and spiritually sound, more money will only make more mess of life.
According to a study, there is an average amount of money you need to be happier, but anything beyond that will not make you any happier. Making enough money to solve your financial needs eliminates financial anxiety, which can make you happier for the moment. But when you are obsessed with making more, you never know when you’ve had enough.
Studies have also shown that money can only buy happiness when spent on memorable experiences. But these have to experience you truly enjoy and not what society believes to be a valuable experience. Buying expensive wears and posting pictures on Instagram is not one of those rewarding experiences money can buy. You do not need all the money to create amazing experiences.
Giving with the right intention can also create memorable experiences. Giving when we can afford to, not just of money, but of skill, knowledge and time can make life more meaningful.
Start chasing value
As I said earlier, much of the money problem can be solved if we focused on developing relevant skills and adding value to people. As Jim Rohn puts it, “You can get all you want from life if you can help as many people get what they want”. It may take longer, but if you spend more time developing skills people are willing to pay for than envying what other people have, the money will follow. Lack of money is no longer an excuse. You can learn a lot just from watching videos on YouTube or taking online courses.
If you already have a skill and don’t have a job, offer to add value to someone’s business for free. This is something I have done myself. So I’m not asking you to do what I haven’t done. From helping someone with your skill, you improve your knowledge and experience, as well as your client portfolio. Treat the work like you will treat a paid job. You can grow from them.
If you think this is too slow, listen. You never really make it. There is no making it. You never arrive. We have all experienced that feeling. Maybe it was when you graduated from the university, got your first job, got married, had your first child, got your masters or PhD degree. At the time, this achievement made you feel successful at least compared to people who haven’t achieved what you have. Then after a few months, the euphoria dies off and you wonder, “What now?”
This is because there is no destination. It’s all about the journey. There will always be another ‘what next?’ And if for any reason you jump to the destination, then what next? So why the rush? Where you are right now, is where the rest of your journey begins. Start from there. The greatest value of creating wealth is not the money you make but who you become and the capacity you develop in the process. Relish your progress no matter how little. Your little progress is worth more than a thousand pieces of the progress of someone else.
Life somehow distributes sufferings among men. Even those you think have a fulfilled life had their stories of darkness and danger. So don’t pray for hard times to go away. Pray for the strength and courage to live through them victoriously. In the end, it is the courage to pursue every of your dreams in spite of your fears that matter.