Money is important. But those who truly succeed in life are those who recognise that whilst it has its place, money is not everything!
If you chase after money, it will elude you. This is the most basic mistake that so many people make.
When you focus on the more important issues of life *and* be intelligent about your handling of money, you will not only prosper, you will maintain an ongoing sense of achievement and fulfillment in life.
So, what is more important then money? Let's list a few essential things that money can't buy, issues that money does nothing to help resolve:
Class - Money can allow one to have the trappings of wealth, but that person will never rise above their humble (or unsavory as the case may be) beginnings or character. Some would consider a person to be stuck in their social class even if their hard work (or luck - such as lottery or lawsuit winners) provides them the economic means to live a higher quality of life. The 'nature or nurture' discussion applies here. Most Americans still admire the 'self-made man,' though they would say that that such a man or woman who is now wealthy, may present himself or herself as being in a lower class. If anyone tells you the US is a ‘classless’ society, don’t believe it. A simple test is this: Class is definable by recognizing those who don't have it.
Prestige - This is the knowledge of what others think about a person. Do they respect her or him? Do they acknowledge his or her achievements as being good, beneficial, or admirable? Prestige also seems to imply a sense-of-self (or self-awareness) that others are acknowledging oneself.
Reputation - In its purest form, reputation cannot be bought. One can buy millions of followers on social media but they would all be 'fake' and therefore degrade one's reputation. A company can purchase reviewers to rate their products on Amazon or give great reviews on Yelp, but eventually, through sheer numbers and quality of reviews, the truth will come out. Your reputation is build from the values that you consistently demonstrate; these are the things that stick in people's minds.
Sincerity - Groucho Marx highlighted this issue very comically: "The most important thing in life is sincerity and if you can fake that, you got it made!" If someone is engaging another in their native language and they are of the same education level, they can each generally tell when one is being insincere. Factors of sincerity are tone, demeanor, posture, facial expressions, kinetics, and others. Insincerity is a complete turnoff. Also note that caring is similar sincerity, as fraudulent caring is easy to identify.
Knowledge and wisdom - These go hand-in-hand in terms of their attainment. Neither can be purchased, however, they are different. The classic learning pyramid has information at its base; on the next level is the synthesis of that information into knowledge — meaning something practical — while at the top is wisdom. This latter one can definitely not be self-acquired through purchase; wisdom comes from all levels of the pyramid working together and implies the application of good judgement. I have heard Nassim Taleb in his book “Antifragile” say that above wisdom is foresight, prediction, which is a very powerful concept. Faux wisdom is as easily debunked as is insincerity.
Peace - Having money does not bring you peace of mind. Whilst poverty doesn't do it either (!) it's essential to realise that peace is not produced by wealth. An overflowing wallet does not equal an abundant heart - and peace is a heart matter.
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