I was walking back from the swimming pool today when I had a realization about why people pursue money, and especially why people with enough money to last several lifetimes continue to pursue money, sometimes in dishonest ways. I’m sure you’ve seen/heard it in the news.
Now the most natural reaction is that they’re greedy. This is part of the answer, but I actually think it goes beyond that. People who’ve made a lot of money are successful. They’re very driven and hard working, no doubt. Money, to them and to others, indicates success.
Where do they instinctively look as they set their next goal to reach, their next milestone of success? More money, of course. It’s a vicious cycle, and it gives them a sense of purpose in life. With money comes status symbols to prove their success – nice cars, multiple homes, model wives, etc. etc. These symbols lead to the desire for even more symbols of success, and oftentimes leads to complications and problems.
But here’s another thought. What if we took that money = success vicious cycle and instead emphasized other things to indicate success and elicit a sense of accomplishment and purpose? Things that lead to a virtuous cycle and truly bring meaning and improvement to one’s own life and to others’ lives? A purely what-if scenario, because I don’t see it likely to happen anytime soon.
Still, bear with me. Some examples that I’m thinking of:
Success = the number of people you’ve helped through your business, career, or outside-work time
Success = making quality products that actually help people address a need in their lives
Success = developing genuine and lasting relationships with co-workers, customers, bosses, family members
Keep in mind that this is just another random late-night rambling, and I’m not passing judgment on rich people or hating on them. Just some things that I’m keeping in mind as I continue to figure out the world and grow.
You can also read my post on careers and money from some time back.