There’s a reason why good people fall in love with money.
I think it’s time to have the “I just think we should be friends” chat with money.
Money is great to have around, but you don’t want to be in love with it. But so many of us are, and most of us don’t even realise it.
Remember that the biblical saying is not that money is the root of all evil. But it is the love of money that is the root of all evil.
That is, money is just some shiny bit of metal and paper… and some ones and zeros on a computer.
It doesn’t have a personality. It doesn’t have intent, let alone evil intent.
But humans on the other hand… we’re a different story. And when we let ourselves fall in love with money, well we go a little crazy and are liable to do all sort of silly, even evil, things.
But why does anyone ever fall in love with money? Why are so many of us in love with money? How did that happen?
I mean, money is just a means. I can understand falling in love with cars or jewellery or status or power or whatever it is that money can get you. But why do people fall in love with the tool?
Who falls in love with a hammer?
Here’s a secret. I actually think the world is geared up to make us fall in love with money.
Think of it this way.
Imagine someone working 9-5 at the widget factory. They spend most of their days making widgets, taking orders for someone they don’t really respect, pouring a bunch of energy into making devices they only have a passing interest in.
The job’s not a nightmare, but they certainly wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t need the money.
Now, ask this person why they’re working in this boring job. What do they say? Most likely they’ll say, “Because I need the money.”
But that’s not strictly true, is it? They don’t need money. They need the things you can buy with money – food, shelter, entertainment etc.
But they don’t say that because our list of needs is very long and changes day to day.
And so most of us just let money speak on behalf of our needs. We let money be our needs’ elected representative.
“I don’t like this job, but I need the money.”
“I’d prefer to spend more time at home with the kids, but it’s good money.”
“I wouldn’t do that even if you gave me a million bucks.”
So when this person rocks up to work every day, there is a subtle affirmation going on.
“I would rather not do this, but I am motivated by money. Therefore, money is what motivates me. Money is what drives me. Money is what I value above my own enjoyable experience of life.”
Unless we’re consciously separating money from the needs that money can satisfy (and seriously, who’s doing that?) over time, we cement the central role of money in our lives.
And I think cognitive dissonance forces us to take it on. It’s the inner dialogue that runs: “I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t get money for it. Therefore, I must really love money.”
Bit by bit, we are all pulled into a love affair with money.
And that can happen even if there is a part of our conscious mind that knows that money is a total distraction.
We are defined by our actions, much more than our thoughts. And if we end up trading our precious time for money, day after day, that becomes our reality.
“Wow. I really value money. I really love money.”
And if we are elevating money up the needs chain – the way elected representatives become “leaders” when they were only ever meant to represent – then we become vulnerable to temptation.
If money is the primary motivation in life – the PM – then if there’s an opportunity to do something a little ethically questionable but that makes good money – well, temptation can get the best of all of us.
The love of money is the root of all evil.
And so what’s the antidote to money’s evil love spell?
I would say it’s doing what you love. That’s a good start. If you can separate work from money, then you stop affirming money’s primary role on a daily basis.
If you rock up to work, simply because you love the work, then you are reclaiming your needs from the ‘representation’ of money.
The affirmation stops becoming “I will do anything for money” and rather becomes “my energies support the things that excite me.”
Over time, the love spell is broken, and a new one, a healthier one, is forged.
(And in my experience, there is a huge difference in the psyches of people who made money doing what they loved, and those who did it doing what they hated.)
So my advice is, as quickly as you can, organise your life so you’re able to do what you love.
And look, I’m a realist. I know that very few of us could just jump into an awesome new career just like that. Sometimes, you’ve got to spend time putting in the hard yards first.
But on the way, don’t fall into the trap of ‘working for money’. Work to enable your goals. Never forget that that’s what you’re doing.
And then let yourself fall out of love with money.
Do you have to ‘have the chat’ with money? Is it time to ‘Friend-Zone’ money?