Children like sweet things. Parents try to control how much sweet stuff their children eat. They fight as they go past the sweets in the supermarket. Children kick and scream when they’re not allowed extra cake. They eat too much at parties and feel sick afterwards. They spend their pocket money on small sweet objects they can put in their mouths and chew or suck for no obvious reason whatsoever.
What is the appeal?
Adults like money. They can hoard it or waste it; chase it until it makes them sick; be jealous because of it; kill for it; destroy their families for the sake of it; work 16 hours a day 7 days a week or more to make sure it keeps coming to them; they rejoice when it comes in, regret when it goes out. They say money makes the world go round; most people spend most of their adult lives working for money.
What is the appeal?
Why are sweets so attractive to children and money to adults?
It’s funny that money and sweets both come in small round forms at their most basic level. They are like little counters – ways of measuring your worth in a small pile of objects. Children count their sweeties while adults count their cash.
Sweets are not real food. You cannot live long on them and get any nutrition from them. You cannot get any real benefit from eating them. And yet children eat them like crazy.
Money is also not real. It merely represents a value. You cannot do anything with money alone. It only has value when you exchange it for some product or services. It has no intrinsic value whatsoever. And yet adults want it and collect it like crazy.
You are focusing in the wrong direction. Money is like fuel. It’s necessary and it makes everything function but without a vehicle the fuel has no purpose; without a lifestyle money has no purpose too. When you own a car, the fuel is not what you focus on. You simply top it up from time to time and continue driving. Even the car is not as important as the journey itself. You can enjoy a nice car, but any old car will probably get you where you want to go, one way or another.
Money also needs to be topped up from time to time so you can keep moving forward on your life journey. It supports all your physical and mental needs along the way and allows you to buy whatever you want to make your journey more enjoyable. But it is not the journey; nor is it the vehicle. Your body is your vehicle, but your journey is the point.
A child who eats too many sweets gets sick. They have missed the point of the party. The adult who focuses too much on money will also get sick. They have missed the point of life.
Clarify the journey you want to make and then focus on that. Let the money follow your direction and support you to achieve what you want. Remember that the children who most enjoy the party play all the games and leave the sweeties in a bag at the side of the room. It’s the lonely or unhappy child who picks up other kids’ sweets and eats them while the others are playing.
When the sweets become too important the game is no fun any more and the party’s over.
Excerpt from my book, Love Money, Money Loves You