Part 2 of a multipart series (part 1 here)
So what if the flow stops flowing? Can you say it has ever been flowing? Ask yourself the tough question, because if the answer is no, then it is quite possible that you aren’t living according to your values. Huh? Yeah…it really isn’t that uncommon, people living according to someone else’s values, or even to what they think their values should be.
Take money for example: I have yet to met a Westerner who has said he or she doesn’t want it; that he or she, in fact, renounces wealth. Uh uh… In fact, if you were to ask a roomful of Americans, Canadians, Brits, Australians or other European or South American people whether or not they would love to be wealthy, I am certain that 99.9999999% of them would say, “Yes definitely!”
But how many people actually do what it takes to be wealthy? Sure, sure, we all think of the mega-superstar, multi-platinum performing artist—the Jay-Zs, the Calvin Harris’s, the Kardashians (or insert any superstar in your industry)—and think that is the way to riches, and that it just might happen for us too. Yeah right. Sorry but those people are not even the 1% (.05% by one calculation).
No to become wealthy requires saving, accumulating and earning interest (or capital gains or profit). And only when people value money do they actually do this. Most people, in my observation, value what they can buy with money. In other words, it’s something other than the money they truly value, even though money is the means by which they acquire it.
I know a man who epitomizes true wealth valuing. This man rarely spends money. He wears old tattered tee-shirts. He always looks for bargains. If he has to pay a fine or a ticket of some sort, he nearly has a heart attack. And this man is rich—filthy, stinkin’ rich—he can afford it, but that’s besides the point to him. He drives the cheapest car he can find; he doesn’t care. If you explained ‘bling’ to him, he’d laugh, guaranteed. Bling is for people who don’t really value money—they value bling. And they often don’t keep their money for very long either. That is reality.
Nonetheless, ask most Westerners if they would love to be wealthy, and most will say yes. But why, then, are so few people monetarily rich? Simply put: because in reality, most people only think they value wealth—or even more accurately, they think they are supposed to value wealth. We are so inundated with the concept of bling in the Western world, and the illusions of wealth put forth by the popular media, that people create a fantasy that they, too, want bling.
Think of all the stuff one could buy, or do, or the power, or the girls, or the guys, or whatever… And when one’s current reality doesn’t live up to one’s created fantasy, then the inevitable happens: one beats oneself up…and says their flow is not flowing.
Yes this is the quintessential example of living by someone else’s values. Observing the illusions of the outer world and desiring them without doing what it takes to truly achieve them. Sorry but here’s a wake up call: If you want Donald Trump money, then you gotta act, think and breathe like The Donald. But if you aren’t thinking, living, or breathing money 24/7; if you aren’t saving more than you are spending, and if you aren’t sacrificing your consumerist urges to watch your bank account grow, then well…keep dreaming.
But not just money that people mistakenly think they value: also success, relationships, children, a particular career can all be false drives when a person thinks those things are virtuous and should be valued. However, if I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times: No values are more virtuous than any others! You love art, fashion, music, sports, physical intimacy, animals, math, scuba diving—then indulge in them. You are not required to value money, a particular profession, children, or anything else. In fact trying to do so, outside of your true values, is the quickest way to frustration, and ultimately to depression.
So when you think that the flow has stopped flowing, just ask yourself: what is my criteria? Is it financial gain, recognition, helping people, or creating something? And is your criteria aligned with your values? Because if you are only using finances as your criteria, and you don’t actually value money, but instead value what it affords you, then you will have a hard time seeing any flow other than outflow: from your bank account to your vendors.
A better approach, then, would be to be honest about what you really value—let’s say, helping people—and if you are doing it, then your flow is flowing, simple as that. However, we all know how important money is to survival, and because of this people think they must value it. Just remember that earning money and accumulating money are two very different things (ask Mike Tyson). So you can connect your earning potential to your true values very simply, but that is an entirely different subject—one I can help you with if you contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next time I will discuss the very real scenario of decreased money flow despite money being a true value.