I had some fun last week being involved in a short film shoot at my home. Actors and videographers transformed my place into a film set – with lights, cameras, and plenty of shouts of “action!”.
There were two young boys, aged 11 and 7, who I had various entertaining conversations with during the intervals when new sections of the house were set up with cameras and lights for the next scene. These conversations were nothing to do with money problems however they did illustrate a related concept. Here’s a collection of their comments that amused me:
• “Wow – this is a big house. Are you rich?”
• “How much did this place cost?”
• “You’re so lucky.”
• “Could you please give this place to us?”
Aren’t kids fantastic in their openness and transparency?!
The Single Biggest Cause of Financial Loss
I flipped open a book recently as I began some new research, to the chapter called “The Single Biggest Cause of Financial Loss”. Intriguing heading isn’t it?
What do you think that cause might be?
I’ve seen this phenomenon played out many times now, and even experienced it myself. Recently I’ve had conversations with people who have had either no investment experience at all, or have experienced failed projects incurring significant loss which lead to severe money problems, and now they want to jump into advanced property development schemes because they perceive there to be a high profit margin – lots of money to be made.
Why do they want to jump from the start line, or behind the start line, to the finish line – without running the marathon that lies between?
It’s because of a strong, deep, urgent, emotionally charged sense of wanting something.
There is a word for this, and here are some dictionary definitions of that word:
• a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed – merriam-webster.com
• an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth – www.thefreedictionary.com
• an excessive, extreme desire for something,often more than one’s proper share; avid desire for gain or wealth – www.dictionary.com
• the overwhelming urge to have more of something, usually more than you really need – www.vocabulary.com
• intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food – www.oxforddictionaries.com
As you have realised by now the word is – greed.
Greed is the source of many of our money problems.
Greed is an emotion and when we are emotional, our rational brain shuts down. We overlook the risks, and the probable negative consequences due to the intensity of that feeling. These include ignoring our credit card balance, or our debt to equity ratio, the welfare of our loved ones, the numerous pitfalls of the scheme we just signed on for that are outside of our control, and even our own conscience at times.
Marketeers stimulate our greed glands by talk of projected profits, and complete omission of risks. I’ve watched the people rush to the back of the room to sign up and just shaken my head at times.
I recently listened to a presentation of an investment scheme and asked lots of questions, to which the presenter said “You’re different Glenda. Most people want to know how and where the money is made, but you’re asking such different questions!” (I was asking all about the riskiness of each investment sub-type within the whole scheme –I could easily see where the money was being made!).
The 3 VERY IMPORTANT G’s.
Don’t get me wrong. A sense of want is the foundation for achievement. Without it we have no drive, no purpose, and no passion. I totally believe in the power of dreams, and the process of turning some of those dreams into goals (this is what we do in my Life Designer Program).
The crucial piece of the puzzle (of how to create our desired level of wealth without getting sucked in to the destructive vortex of greed) is creating emotional detachment from our desired outcomes.
We know what we want. We ask for it. We move ahead and do what we know could lead to those outcomes. We keep our eyes out for opportunities, and we leave the rest up to providence.
And – we exercise the power of the three other G’s
These are Gratefulness, Generosity and Goals.
Being grateful for what we already have, and what we believe we will have one day is a powerful antidote for greed. When we focus on what we have and are deliberately thankful for that, this fills up any sense of lack that creates greed. I encourage the practice of keeping a gratitude journal, at least for a short time, in order to get into the habit of gratefulness.
Being generous is the other powerful antidote for greed and its associated money problems. When we have a high value on purposeful generosity, there is little fuel for greed to co-exist. Being mindful to give away a portion of our time, energy, or money propels us to be naturally careful about what is ours to use, and what we are happy to give away. This means we have to consider what we need and don’t need, and therefore doesn’t leave any room for hankering after that which we don’t need.
Having a well-defined goal also knocks out greed. By this I mean a goal that has been made after a careful consideration of what we want and why we want it, and how that fits into our purpose and values profile. (This is what we do in my Life Designer Program.) When we have a well thought out financial goal, we don’t need any more than that goal. That is our goal, for a whole bunch of good reasons. So we work towards achieving that, and we don’t need the emotion of greed to come and move the goal posts, because the goal posts have been put where they are for very well thought out, rational reasons.
The questions my young visitors asked were amusing in their naivety and shamelessness. They were simply noticing something they liked, were impressed by, and wanted. (And they hoped to get it really easily!!) This is natural for all of us. If we let these feelings consume us and gravitate to greed, we may be in for a rocky ride of money problems we certainly did not want! So for a financial health measure, I recommend taking the supplements of gratefulness, generosity, and goals, to reach your desired financial outcomes in a more satisfying way!