This weekend, I started re-reading Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think & Grow Rich.
I read the book for the first time several months ago at a time when I was interested more in consciousness-building and less in financial matters. Many of the essential concepts resonated within me – especially the connections between thoughts and “self-creation.”
In the last few weeks, my thoughts have turned more and more towards financial issues. I began to identify an important relationship between life success & financial success through consideration of time management. As Brian Tracy puts it, “managing time is really about managing your life – it’s not just time management, it’s life management.”
My current financial picture is quite good and one I think many people would find envious. Still, I don’t feel independent enough to make decisions freely. Financial freedom, as a fellow blogger has illustrated, can enable personal and spiritual freedom. Many modern societies have a confused relationship with money. Although capitalist economic systems make it quite clear that money talks, many people are raised to believe otherwise. Some even few money as the root of evil.
The Financial Comfort Zone
While in college, I opened up to progressive viewpoints and alternative ways of seeing the world. At some point, I internalized the belief that money corrupts. I wanted to live a life of meaning and help improve the world in some way. Of course, I didn’t want to be poor. Instead, I saw myself falling somewhere in the middle. This is a typical American paradigm: the bottom and the top are horrible places to be – good people fall somewhere in the middle. We have so much cultural anxiety about this issue that most people will identify themselves as “Middle Class,” applying the qualifiers low- and upper-middle to avoid taking on the label “rich” or “poor.”
The Middle Class represents America’s comfort zone. It is an average way of living life. It is typical. And, in my view, this financial comfort zone typically includes a comfort zone of values, lifestyle, personality, and even life purpose.
To challenge this common notion that money is not important, I have put together a list of reasons I believe money is important and should be considered an important component of success….
Enables personal freedom
There is no real security in working for someone else. Even if you’re earning a solid six-figure income as a successful leader or salesperson, your freedom is tied to a specific station (perhaps even a specific geographic location). Although I am a firm believer in the power of entrepreneurship, many people can find fulfillment in a traditional job. But freedom will only come when you have a high degree of flexibility because of an established savings and investment plan.
Provides opportunities to give
I have heard that the magic formula for creating wealth is 10 & 10. That’s 10% for saving and another 10% for donating. Others argue for 20 & 10 or 20 & 20. Either way, giving can be a wonderful way to support positive organizations, individuals, and institutions that bring real value to the world. While anyone can give with even a small income, the more you have the easier it is to give.
Enhances material experience
I heard once that “We’re not human beings having a spiritual experience – We’re spiritual beings having a human experience.” The material world around us is vastly abundant. One of the greatest joys in life is directly experiencing the material world through the senses. With sufficient resources, you can enable far more of these experiences than would otherwise be possible.
Expands self image
The whole point of Think & Grow Richis to challenge your assumptions about your own identity and the identity of the rich. If you open yourself up to acquiring wealth, you open up a new window of identity. You begin to see yourself as one with abundance and prosperity, not lack and poverty. Even the act of accepting money into your life can be a transformative process. When you allow riches into your reality, you recreate your ideas about what it means to be human.
As you can see, I view wealth as an enabler for personal growth and success – not as an end in itself. Plenty of rich people are unhappy. Likewise, plenty of poor people are quite happy. There is no guarantee either way. In the end, financial security will improve your state-of-mind and happiness if created with positive intention.
by Mindful Entrepreneur