As a teacher who strives to help others embrace financial freedom, I’ve heard a lot of conceptions about the rich and money in general. Chief among them? The belief that money changes everything about a person — and usually for the worst. Most recently, this idea was brought up again by one of my students, so I thought I would address it today.
Busting the Myth That Money Changes Everything
What’s fun about being a teacher is that after you’ve literally guided thousands along their journeys, you really do get to see and hear it all. It’s especially interesting when some of the my students try to trick me with my own material!
For example, I had a student remind me of my advice to admire and model rich and successful people. He said, “You say to model rich and successful people, but many gangsters were very rich and successful in their field. What does the word successful mean to you?”
You see what just happened there? If not, you will shortly.
Defining Success for You
Before I explain how his question ties into the belief that money changes everything, let me say that I believe it’s crucial to define success. After all, success may look different for me than for you.
For example, I feel success means reaching the level that you intended to reach in any arena or achieving what you intended to achieve. However, no one is going to create your own definition of success. You have to discover that for yourself. Only once you’ve defined success in your eyes can you find role models to learn from.
Because of my beliefs about success, I say model people who have achieved financial success and people who are successful in any arena so you can learn from them. Then that’s what I do. I learn from them.
In contrast, most people learn from broke, unsuccessful people. How do I know? Because most people are broke and unsuccessful. Consequently, most people get their information about success and wealth from people who aren’t successful and wealthy. Then they act surprised when they find failure. If you want to avoid that, model and admire rich and successful people.
Replacing False Ideas
Now, back to my skeptical student. Of course I knew what he meant. He said, “There are many gangsters who are very rich and successful in their field.” What he was telling me was that he holds the same incorrect belief as 95% of people who are not finding success. These people believe that rich people are bad. They believe that money changes everything for the worse for people personally, even if more money is good financially. However, those people are wrong. Yes, money changes everything — but it changes it for the better.
I wanted to know who had planted this seed of doubt in my student’s mind, so I asked him, “Who told you that?”
“There are a lot of rich gangsters.,” he said. I began to counter him. Ae there not a lot of broke gangsters? Yes. In fact, I think there are more broke gangsters than rich gangsters.
Are there some rich people who are bad? Yes, there are some. Are there some rich people who are good? Yes, there are some. I hope I’m one of them. I know thousands of others who are good.
Are there some broke people who are bad? Yes, I guess there are. There are a lot of broke people who are bad in the same way. Are there some broke people who are good? Of course there are.
This should tell you that there’s no dividing line between poverty/wealth and good/evil. My student’s belief wasn’t based on any facts. Instead, it was based on some nonsense someone once told him about rich people being bad and greedy.
Kindness Leads to Wealth
How many rich people are good, caring, loving, family people? 95% of them. In fact, that’s how they got rich.
If you’re an a-hole and you do get rich, there’s a good chance you won’t keep it. Who would you rather do business with — people you hate and distrust or people you like and trust? In business, which is where most people make their money, you’re going to go to the store and take the services of people you trust.
If someone is a jerk and they screw you, are you going to continue to do business with them?
To prove my point, let’s look at the opposite of the jerk. Let’s start with somebody kind and generous in what they do for you. They do their job really well and help solve a problem for you. Are you going to go back to them for future services? Of course you are! You’re going to give them your money and tell everybody else about them.
Nice, good, kind, trustworthy people who are in high integrity finish first. Anybody else who tells you otherwise is freaking broke; broken mentally, emotionally and financially.
It has nothing to do with rich or poor. Some people are good and some people are not so good. Some people are kind and some are not so kind. Money changes everything only in that it intensifies everything. If you were kind, you’ll be kinder. If you were rude, you’ll be ruder.
Learning from Money
Money is a great teacher. If you find in your quest for money that you’re turning into a prick, the universe put that in front of you for you to notice. Now you have to make some changes and say, “This quest for money is not going to make me an unkind person. In fact, I’m going to choose to be a very good person who gets rich. I’m going to choose to let money change me for the better.”
Choose to be a good person who gets rich so you can be a good model for all those people who mistakenly believe that rich people are bad.
What lessons have money (or lack thereof) taught you along your journey? Did you used to believe that money changes everything about a person for the worse? Share your stories with us…we want to hear from you!
For Your Freedom,
Want to find out what other beliefs are holding you back? Then join me on one of my upcoming web classes, “Don’t Believe A Thought You Think“, as my guest.
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