A good question I thought when it first came up at one of my coaching groups. At first it seems obvious and it’s something we take for granted. We do a ‘job’ for someone making use of our energy, skills, knowledge and experience and they give us payment, usually in the form of money, in return.
We also get paid when we sell something, transfer ownership of something, to another individual or other entity such as a business. This is the common understanding: payment follows an exchange of something from one to another.
Most people would be satisfied with this answer – payment is the result of some transaction or exchange – a singular event. But there’s more to it than this.
There are lots of ‘sayings’ which apply here ranging from Newton’s Third Law, summarised as “every action has an equal and opposite reaction” to Tina Turner’s “What you give is what you get”, “Givers Gain”® from Dr Ivan Meisner, “what goes around comes around”, the Law of Reciprocity (an amalgam of a few of the ‘Laws of the Universe’ described by Raymond Holliwell – including the Law of Attraction) and last but not least “Money makes the world go around” from the musical ‘Cabaret’
And there it is, the idea of circulation, the ‘circle of life’ which leads back to the fundamental: energy can neither be created or destroyed, only transformed. Combine this with the understanding everything is energy and the idea of getting paid for what we do is just another transformation of energy – our ‘work’ into money, or whatever form of energy we receive in return for the form of energy we put in to the ‘transaction’.
There is however something missing from this simplistic explanation, two things in fact, the idea of circulation and the concept of value which is how we work out or understand the meaning of ‘equal and opposite’.
For the universe to ‘work’ it has to be in continuous motion. When we stop or slow down the circulation of energy in whatever way thing start to go wrong. In particular we don’t get the results we might be looking for, things slow down and we may find ourselves ‘stuck’ in some way.
If we aren’t taking action or aren’t taking the ‘right’ action or level of action we won’t get the results we want. After all, we can’t expect the payback – the reaction – if we don’t take the action in the first place. And, if we take the ‘wrong’ action it’s inevitable we’ll get a ‘reaction’ we probably don’t want, which brings me to the concept of ‘value’.
The actuality is people see different things (different energy frameworks) having different value. What may be valuable to one may be worthless to another, but we do tend to the idea if we find some form of energy valuable then everyone else will, which is why money can be useful although we continue to disagree on the amount of money involved.
Why do we get paid? It’s a law of the universe. We get ‘paid’ through the equal and opposite reaction to the action we take. The trick is to determine, prior to the action being taken, what the ‘reaction’ will be and to agree it will be equal and opposite’ in terms of value. Our action must be equal in value, though not necessarily the ‘same’ to the value of the reaction we obtain – the value of whatever we get paid.
If we stop taking action – if we don’t ‘do’ anything, then we don’t get paid, but we also need to remember this relationship isn’t necessarily direct. We make spend a lot of energy taking actions for which we don’t get paid at the time – although we will get a ‘reaction’ in some other way. The result of this ‘original’ work will reach maturity after many other actions have ben taken sometimes by other ‘agents’ and then we will be rewarded for the ‘original’ action.
It’s not a series of sequential ‘closed system’ events but a much more complex extended process which never actually ‘completes’ If it did the universe would end which, because the universe is infinite, is not possible.