If you didn’t recognize the pic, this is a shot from the popular show Breaking Bad where a terminally ill chemistry teacher starts selling meth to make millions of dollars to leave to his family before he dies and of course all kinds of chaos follows.
The main character thought that the money would take care of his family after his death and maybe even make his death easier to handle. Money clearly meant something so powerful to him that he started selling meth and sacrificed everything to get it for his family.
My question here is, what does money mean to you?
I specifically ask that because money has no inherent meaning. People disagree with me about this and tell me that money is evil, that money solves problems, and on and on. Which further makes my point. Money has no inherent meaning, it’s just the meaning you/they attach to it.
So why do I bring this up?
I ask because money is a large part of people’s lives and is widely misunderstood. It is one the most influential tools you can possess and determines to a large degree what you do or don’t do, have or don’t have.
Your view of money impacts everything in your life. It impacts the jobs you choose, how much money you have, how much you think is enough, what your view of greedy is, what your view of fair is, what your view of hard work is, what your view of poor people is and what your view of rich people is. It impacts everything.
I’m not saying it’s the determining factor of everything, but it does impact nearly everything.
If you have had the opportunity to travel around the world you probably have a much broader view of money and poverty. Did you know that the average person living below the poverty level in the U.S. has a smart phone, a flat screen tv, air conditioning and some type of gaming console? A far cry from what you see around the world where poverty means something much different.
The first thing you must get is that money is meaning-LESS! It’s not good or evil, it’s just a tool.
What YOU make that tool mean and how YOU use it determines it’s impact on YOUR life.
You don’t see construction workers getting crazy about hammers and debating whether they are good or evil, complaining about how hammers are ruing their lives, or getting into fights with their spouses about hammers.
When put in a different context, you can see the absurdity of the power we give money over ourselves.
Money is just a tool. It is just paper and coin that your government says carries a specific value.
This is also nothing new. We (humans) have always used some type of money since the beginning of civilization whether it was grain, silk or gold. Currencies have come and gone over time, and from the beginning, it has always been nothing for than a tool.
So I invite you to try this little thought experiment and see what you come up with. There’s no right answer and what you come up with will probably be consistent with what you care about and what matters to you.
Take a clean sheet of paper and put two large circles on it. Inside the first circle start writing down everything that money means to you. Do this for five minutes. You must do this for the entire five minutes. This will force your mind to think beyond whatever initial, surface answers you may have.
Keep asking yourself:
What does money mean in general? About me? About others?
What does having a lot of money mean? About me? About others?
What does having little money mean? About me? About others?
After you’ve done the thinking and the writing, tear the paper in half and place the clean circle on top of the messy one.
Now start brainstorming…
Consider that everything you just wrote down isn’t real, everything you wrote down is your opinion and is not the truth. And if that is the case, then you could create any meaning for money you choose.
Inside the clean circle start brainstorming:
What can you make the tool money mean for you?
What would you like to use that tool for?
What new ways of attaining that tool can you think of?
Now there’s nothing wrong with what you wrote in the first circle, but it’s most likely limiting and a default meaning for money that you wound up with based on your past.
Letting that go and thinking newly will open up the freedom and space for new ideas and things that you may have never thought possible before.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org