In our capitalist system, money is a lot more desirable than having none at all. As our appetite for consumption increases each year, a seemingly never-ending supply of products packed with new and exciting technology appears on store shelves. Naturally, we want more so we can purchase further goods to satisfy our materialistic cravings. Money is what’s believed to be the solution to satisfying these wants and needs, but we forget what it truly is: a medium of exchange.

Money’s sole function is to solve the double coincidence of wants; a natural progression in monetary theory that’s transpired over centuries of trade and commerce, eliminating the need for a barter economy. If you need a personal computer but don’t have a practical way to transact, then you’ll need to find someone willing to trade you for something in your possession of similar value. If bartering was still prevalent today, then evidently the world economy would spiral out of control. Eliminating a primary medium of exchange makes valuing essential commodities an almost impossible task on an international scale; the speed at which we trade globally would decrease dramatically, resulting in a collapse of the pricing mechanism that holds worldwide markets together.

Therefore, money is clearly a necessity but is it something we should be aiming for in its primitive form? The answer is: no. It’s just an inconvenient illusion. We lust after everything that it can buy, however, money is just the result of one’s actions. We should be focusing on causation instead of being seduced by its lure. Seduction is a dangerous emotion induced by money but there are other feelings that cause even more harm, therefore, it’s good to identify a practical approach when facing them head-on.

Money Is Simply A Measure Of Ability

It’s human nature to want to succeed and feel important. Thinking that money — alone — is going to grant you these, is not the way to go, because how much you earn is solely the result of your efforts; a gauge of your ability and success. This can be witnessed all over the world, every minute of every day.

Forbes reported that in 2017, Rafael Nadal’s had total winnings of $31.5 million while Andy Murray’s had a mere $28.8 million. There are numerous reasons why Nadal earnt significantly more; not only had he been able to maintain a higher skill cap that year but as a result, Rafa drew in bigger crowds providing more exciting experiences for fans, therefore, sponsors paid out more in response. Nadal didn’t strive to become successful because he wanted the money, it was the reward for higher ability and success. The better you are at something, the greater your ability hence the reward in monetary terms is greater.

“Money comes naturally to those who are able.”

Therefore, when you remove the extremes and outliers like lottery winners and heirs to vast fortunes, sticking to the principle that money comes naturally to those who are able will serve you well in life. This doesn’t only pertain to sports stars, it’s applicable in every field; music, art, drama, you name it. If you’re the best in the business, then it’s reflected in your pay.

Aiming for money without a clear vision instead of focusing on your ability is a bad idea. “How do I become wealthy?” should be replaced with “How do I improve at what I do best?”. If you achieve greatness in your chosen field, society will pay you your fair share in return.

Money Has No Respect For You

When you look at a hundred dollar bill, what do you think? The default response is: “What can I buy with it?”. When you raise the amount to ten thousand, the value of the items you start thinking of increases. As an example, $100 buys a yearly membership to the gym, but $10,000 allows you to buy your own equipment. You may have noticed, when the value of money increases, you start to think more about it and what it can buy. Therein lies another provocative question: what does money think of you?

One of the biggest misconceptions about money is that it’s somehow alive; a living, breathing thing. However, money doesn’t think, act or communicate. It’s merely paper and ink and thinks nothing of you in return hence revealing an inconvenient truth: all the problems that we attribute to money, lie with ourselves; whether it be a lack thereof or a distaste for the capitalist system. Money has no soul, a sense of guilt or regret, but we do; it’s a harsh truth to face.

Money doesn’t think, act or communicate. It’s merely paper and ink and therefore thinks nothing of you.

There’s no denying that money has power in society, but that power comes from our interpretation of what it can give us; money has no conscious to influence our decision making, it’s all in our head. Consequently, you’re left with a dilemma: your feelings held towards money are strong but it couldn’t care less about you. It’s a loveless marriage but that’s the way it is.

The more you earn, the more you will come to respect money and understand why society rewarded you with it in the first place. Therefore, learning to be indifferent to money is paramount, because now you know that the respect you’ve shown will never be returned.

Positive Greed Does Exist

There are both types of greed; mostly good, but some bad. Negative greed hurts society as present day examples demonstrate, such as the Mafia. Nonetheless, positive greed is dominant, allowing entrepreneurs and businesses to use resources efficiently thereby producing products and services that improve everyone’s lives.

Capitalism, along with Socialism and Communism, all have positives and negatives but the world concluded that free-market economics was the best of the bunch. iPhones are good looking and technologically advanced because they were improved via a good type of greed which was allowed to prosper due to the technology market being relatively untouched by regulation.

Embracing Capitalism is the best way to be productive because in today’s society, if you don’t take part, you will get nothing in return. It isn’t perfect and it never will be, but it’s the best option available for money to function efficiently in a 21st-century economy. Unfortunately, it’s used as a scapegoat for the lack (or application) of knowledge and ability.

“Capitalism has worked very well. Anyone who wants to move to North Korea is welcome.” — Bill Gates

Iconic CEO’s like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates didn’t necessarily set out to achieve a large fortune, they recognized that Capitalism still is the superior way to go about making a difference. You can create a positive impact on society by embracing it as long as you don’t harm people and mother nature in the process.

Think About Money On An Absolute Basis

It’s human nature to conform when thinking about money, consequently, we are obsessed with comparing ourselves to others. Weighing your salary, assets or net worth against someone else will only make you think negatively towards money. The reason why you shouldn’t do this is simple: there’s nothing you can do about it. For instance, if a Russian billionaire gifts his fortune to younger generations of his family, there’s zero you can do to stop him.

Most affluent individuals — despite their bad notoriety in the press — are usually decent people who’ve worked hard for their money and usually give back to society through private charity. There are several well-known, savvy billionaires setting up foundations and funds to help people less fortunate than themselves; e.g. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.

It’s hard to dispute that the top 1% have a large piece of the pie, but refusing to hate people because they’re wealthy is a prolific rule to stick by. Instead, be inspired by their ability and success when they’ve earned it through hard work and discipline.

Five Principles To Take Away

  1. Respect money even though it won’t respect you back.
  2. Don’t love money, love the ways in which you can acquire it.
  3. Use your ability: money comes naturally to those who are able.
  4. Take part in the system: if you don’t, you will get nothing in return.
  5. Avoid comparing your salary, assets and net worth to others.

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