“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.” – John D. Rockefeller
This may seem like a pretty strange thing to say, that the desire for money leads to being broke, but it’s true and I’ll explain why. Not only from anecdotal experience but also from the experience of others that I’ve witnessed over the years.
Like many people, after years of being let’s say “financially-challenged,” the desire to make large sums of money hit me. After being bitten by the success bug, I then dabbled in lots of different businesses for the purpose of accumulating my fortune. I dabbled in Real Estate, Internet Marketing, Retail, Graphic Design, Book Writing, and probably a few more that I don’t remember at this time. Needless to say, none of it worked out…at least not permanently. I’d experience some financial success and end up losing whatever I’d made. It took me some years to realize that it was my desire for money alone that caused me to meet with temporary defeat so often.
You may now be wondering how does the desire for money lead to being broke and I’ll tell you why by simply stating — the desire to make money alone is an emotional decision which leads one to view money as an end in itself instead of as a means to an end. Therefore, the desire to make money leads to one having an emotional attachment to money. Whenever someone is emotionally attached to money, their chances for acquiring it is slim to none. That is because their emotions won’t allow them to task the risk that is needed in order to make the money they claim to want. Any entrepreneur will tell you that losing money is inevitable in business, and the average person knows this as well. But because they have an emotional attachment to money, they become deathly afraid to take any risk out of fear of losing money. Their primary focus is not on the potential reward, but on the potential for loss. Even if you were to approach such a person with a proposition in which the reward is 10 times bigger than the risk, they’ll refuse that proposition because their mind is on the risk.
Alongside the emotional attachment which comes with the desire for money alone, there is also the the tendency of one to make irrational decisions in their quest to make a fortune. Because this person is eager to make a lot of money, they’re willing to try anything without even weighing the facts. This is precisely why sellers of get rich quick material are so successful, because they understand that most people who buy such materials are not viewing money from a logical perspective. They understand that these people are seeking wealth for emotional purposes — and they know full well how to cater to those type of people. When you look at it, the emotional attachment to money on one hand leads to focusing too much the potential for loss. But on the other hand, it leads to a person not focusing on the risk at all and being reckless. In my own quest for wealth, I used to let people talk me into schemes that made absolutely no sense. But because I’d view the scheme in question as a wonderful opportunity to make money, I’d unconsciously blind myself and bypass the performing of any research.
Lastly, the desire for money alone usually causes a person to desire something for nothing. I’ve been there myself and I’ve witnessed plenty others as well, so I understand this tendency pretty well. A person will engage in all sort of things, in any haphazard way in order to make money, without giving any thought as to which endeavor is best for them. It’s not unusual to find a person trying to dabble in multiple businesses at once simply because they believe that by throwing multiple things against the wall, SOMETHING will stick. Because there isn’t any focus on a particular idea, none of their ideas are able to receive 100% of their effort and they therefore fail at every single endeavor. On top of that, the businesses in which this person was engaged were simply endeavors that didn’t interest them to begin with — they were blinded by the quest for riches.
I’m pretty sure someone is now wondering if there is a way to lose their emotional attachment to money, and the answer is yes. I’m gonna give you the same method I used. Instead of viewing money as an end in itself, once should view money as a means to an end. More clearly stated: money should be viewed as a medium that will get you to where you really want to be in life. But more importantly, money should be viewed as a way of keeping score. A few years ago, to my surprise, I saw that many wealthy people didn’t view money the way that your average person views money. I thought that surely they possess a grand desire for lots of money but that turned out to be false. I’d always hear them refer to money as a way of keeping score. It took me a while to understand it but I’m glad that I did. It’s like this — Life is a game and money is what we use to keep score. The amount of money we possess tells us how well we’re playing the game, or how well we aren’t playing the game.
When viewed from that standpoint, you approach life just as you would any other game. You understand that in other games that the way to increase your score is by forming goals and plans that are based on logical decision making. You also understand that the score itself is simply an indicator of who’s winning or losing…which means that the score is an indicator and not a thing in itself. In other words, the score is a medium, just as money is only a medium of exchange and nothing of value in itself. When we’re desiring large sums of money, it’s not the money itself that we are after, what we are after are the things that money can do for us. Similarly, when you play a sport, you don’t care so much about the exact score that you put up, you’re only concerned with whether that score makes you a winner of that game. That’s the same way that one has to view life and the pursuit of money. Instead of focusing on making money, focus on winning at the game of life! This applies also to entering a business. You wouldn’t enter a business for the purpose of making money alone, but for the purpose of winning. Focus on winning and the money comes automatically if you’re a winner in your endeavor.
Sean T. Carter is an experienced investor, entrepreneur, research and writer for The Opulent Group, a company formed to serve the needs of up and coming entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars who wish to reach opulent goals and stay consciously afloat in these fast changing times.