Imagine you’ve just won the big lottery. Not a little bitty lottery that could help you pay your bills, but the big lottery that would provide enough money to do anything you can imagine — for as long as you can imagine. Now, take sixty seconds and write down the first three things you would do with that money. Seriously, don’t read on until you’ve written down the first three things you would do with your winnings. I’ll wait.
Money is a top priority for a lot of people. Many love the idea of winning the big lottery because they believe they will finally be happy in life. However, research conducted at the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center doesn’t indicate it would. According to their research, disposable income for the average American has grown about 80% since 1972, but the percentage of respondents describing themselves as “very happy” (approximately one-third) has hardly budged over the years.
Money is a complicated thing. Most people have convinced themselves that more money will make them happy, so they spend a lifetime trying to make as much as possible. Ironically, those who actually accumulate bucket loads of money seldom claim that money alone made them happy (in fact, it just brings on a whole different set of problems). Regardless of what anyone says, most people need to find out for themselves if money will make them happy.
In my book Living for the Weekday, I identify finance as one of the five areas of our life that needs our focus because money is important. Money allows us to provide the basic necessities in life. Money gives us options in life. Money allows us to take care of our loved ones. Money allows us time to focus on what is really important. And most importantly, money allows us the opportunity to take care of others who can’t take care of themselves through various charities and causes. Without question, money has its place in our lives.
Some people believe that money is the root of all evil. Those people are wrong. Money is not the root of all evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. Years ago I came across a great quote regarding money. Author and speaker Dan Millman wrote, “Money is neither my God nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving.”
With that in mind, take a look at the list of the first three things you would do with the money you won in the big lottery. How many of the things on your list focus on loving on those around you (either people you know or those less fortunate)? And how many of the things on your list focus on you? It’s been said that money can change a person, and I suppose I have thought that a time or two. But maybe it doesn’t change us at all. Maybe Dan Millman’s thought is right … it tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it’s greedy or loving. What does your list say about you?
© 2015 Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can enhance employee engagement in your organization, please visit www.verbalocity.com, or contact him directly firstname.lastname@example.org.