1. $10,000,000 Dollars Would Probably Destroy You Right Now.
One of the bitterest truths about money is that more money won’t solve your problems.
Actually, more money only magnifies your current habits. And if you have bad money habits, a lot of money could actually destroy you.
Darren Hardy, best-selling author and former editor-in-chief of SUCCESS Magazine, once told a story about how he made a fortune selling real estate…and almost went to jail for it.
Hardy was doing very well for a young realtor in his 20s. He was quickly making tens, then hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But as his income went up, so did his taxes. And when he went to his accountant, Hardy was told some devastating news: he owed nearly $100,000 dollars in taxes — money he had already spent.
Hardy spent most of the following year’s income paying the previous year’s taxes. It was a lesson he’d never forget — unpaid taxes of that amount meant serious jail time.
Think about how much you make right now. Now, think about how much you pay in taxes.
Want 10x your current income? Well, you’re going to have at least 10x your taxes, probably more. Right now, you could probably manage paying a few extra thousand dollars in taxes. But could you manage a $100,000 tax bill? Could you sleep at night knowing that’s how much you owe?
Your money problems will only become magnified with more money.
As George S. Clason wrote in The Richest Man in Babylon:
“This is the process by which wealth is accumulated; first in small sums, then in larger ones as a man learns and becomes more capable.”
Be careful wishing for more money without fixing your financial problems first. There’s a reason it takes a long time to build a fortune. Be sure you’re learning along the way.
Don’t wish for more money; first, focus on becoming someone who could handle a lot of money.
2. When You’re Generous, You Get More Money. When You’re Tight-Fisted, You Get Nothing.
One day when I was a kid, my mom told me to open my palm.
She handed me a $5 bill. “When your hand it open, God can give you money,” she explained to me.
Then she had me make a fist, trapping the bill inside. First, she tried taking the bill away — she couldn’t. It was held safely in my fist.
But then she tried putting a second $5 bill in my hand, but couldn’t. I couldn’t receive it.
“If your hand is closed,” she said, “You can’t get any more money.”
I never forgot that lesson.
When you’re generous with your time and money, you’ll receive generosity in return. The world values bottom-line profits at any cost — generosity is a rare and valuable trait that most people don’t have. Generosity will draw people to you, and in turn, more connections and opportunities.
Peter Diamandis, serial entrepreneur and engineer with a net worth of $200 million dollars, once said, “If you want a billion dollars, help a billion people.”
Making money isn’t about squeezing out every last drop our of the people around you, it’s about helping people solve their problems. Want more money? Help more people. Help a lot of people.
It could make you millions.
3. The Lottery — and Any Other “Jackpots” — are Total B.S. and Won’t Help You
People are like containers. Sometimes they are literally too small to absorb true success.
Even if they tried, things would spill over and create a mess.
This is why lottery ticket winners often experience terrible upheaval in their lives, blowing all their money in a few years as they watch their lives disintegrate.
This is why young athletes, music artists, and rock stars find themselves bankrupt and depressed only a few years after signing a contract for tens of millions of dollars.
If you are not ready for the money, it can destroy you.
A winning lottery ticket or an inheritance won’t solve your problems. Even if you get the money, you haven’t changed. And you’re the heart of the issue. You’re still you with your same money behaviors.
My therapist once told me about an alcoholic who was fantasizing about moving to Antarctica, where he could live alone, finally free from the temptations of alcohol. My therapist told him that he would still be an alcoholic with unresolved personal issues, no matter where he moved.
You can’t escape yourself. As Arthur Golden, best-selling author of Memoirs of a Geisha once wrote, “We can never flee the misery that is within us.”
Stop wasting time hoping to win the jackpot, and start working on yourself. Then, when money comes, it won’t be able to destroy you like it’s destroyed so many lottery winners and inheritors of large fortunes.
4. You Need to Take Extreme Ownership Of Your Money Situation.
In his TEDx Talk, former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink told a story about a time when some of his own troops accidentally killed an Iraqi ally and wounded two more in a chaotic firefight. It was disastrous, to say the least.
Willink was put on notice — someone was going to pay hell for this. He was ordered to give an account of what happened.
There were many people to blame, people he could incriminate with guilt. He wanted to. The punishment was going to be severe.
But instead, he took full responsibility. He took extreme ownership of his role: he was the one in charge of the operation. He was the boss. And it happened on his watch.
Like it or not, you are the commanding officer for your life. You’re the CEO and the president and the board of directors. You can let others run your life, and blame them for when things go wrong. Many people do. But in the end, it was you who allowed them to lead you astray.
This is extreme ownership. It’s a tough and bitter pill to swallow. But it’s the truth. And nothing good ever came from ignoring the truth.
If you don’t take responsibility for your money habits, it will become harder and harder to respect yourself. Deep down, beneath your ego and image and reputation, you’ll know you don’t have integrity. You know blaming others for your own mistakes is wrong. You’ll know you’re not stepping up in your life when you should.
And that will eventually destroy you.
But taking extreme ownership always upgrades you to new ways of thinking. You become more competent, capable, and wise. You see solutions you never considered before.
To his shock, Willink wasn’t punished. His superiors were expecting excuses and finger-pointing. But since Willink took ownership of the situation, his superiors trusted and respected him even more. They knew he wouldn’t shirk responsibility. They knew he learned from this more than anyone else, making him the perfect leader for the team. His team trusted and respected him more, too. They knew they could count on him.
If you don’t take ownership of your problems, they’ll never get solved. Take extreme ownership over your financial situation, and you’ll be rewarded with extreme clarity and momentum in the right direction.
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” -Sheryl Sandberg
5. Don’t Focus on Getting More Money, Focus on Being Someone Who’s OK Without It
“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” -Seneca
You will have good years and bad years, but everything will be OK in the end.
I’ve read over 100+ books on money, finance, and personal growth. I saw my parents go bankrupt and lose our family business, our cars, and our house. I vowed I’d never end up like that.
But in the end, there are many factors out of your control. You’ll have good months and bad months, rich years and lean years. It’s the natural cycle of life — up and down, like the tide of the ocean.
Some people are so upset by these bad times, they destroy themselves with anxiety, panic, frustration, and fear from unmet expectations.
Frankly, I’m prone to this behavior — fortunately, my wife isn’t. I’m blessed beyond belief to have a partner who helps me laugh at myself, to not take myself so seriously. I had a string of lean months a while back, and I told my wife how much anxiety and fear I was feeling. She helped me calm down by reminding me that no matter what our money situation looked like, we’d be OK.
And we’re OK because we’ve become people who are OK without a lot of money.
Money and fortune will come and go. Life has its up and downs, and it’s your job to ride them, not spend countless hours staring at the ceiling in anxiety as you lie awake as night. As Frank Sinatra once sang:
That’s life, that’s what all the people say
You’re riding high in April
Shot down in May
But I know I’m gonna change that tune
When I’m back on top, back on top in June
Don’t wish you had more; focus on being strong enough to survive with less.
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This article originally appeared on Medium.