My friend Peter Thomson has a saying that “Money is the silent applause for a job well done”.
What does this mean?
I believe it’s an enlightened way of looking at money and how we use it.
Instead of believing that we have to have money in order to ‘pay’ for the things we want, and seeing ‘having to part with our hard earned cash’ as some sort of penalty for obtaining the basic needs of life or the additional ‘upgrades’ that we desire, this way of looking at money it that it is an expression of appreciation for the provision of those things from someone else.
So when you and I pay our phone bill it’s not a ‘cost’ or a ‘penalty’ but an appreciation for the service provided by the phone company. And of course if we’re not happy that the ‘job has been well done’ then you and I always have the option to change our phone provider.
This feeling that money is essential to our lives or that our lives are dominated by the need to obtain money in order to get the things we want isn’t helped by the way that most people obtain money.
Most people ‘work for a living’. Most people give up their time (something that can never be recovered) in exchange for a wage or salary – money.
The odd thing is that most people are not paid so much for what they do, but for the time they spend doing it.
Some people are paid for the quality of their work or for the volume of product they produce but this is not the norm and by some people it is even considered, to say the least, ‘unfair’.
The focus at most levels of society is on the ‘hours’ people spend ‘at work’ rather than doing the things they were actually employed to do. You and I live in a ‘time for money’ culture even though, if you are reading this, you probably don’t subscribe to that philosophy.
Because the majority of people have to sacrifice their time so that they can obtain the money required to purchase the things that they need or desire, their emotions become attached to money itself rather than the bargain they have made to give up some of their life time doing things that they possibly don’t really want to do in order to send the rest of their life time doing stuff they really do want to do.
There is also a great need for some people to accumulate money ‘just in case’. Money then becomes and end in itself.
But the thing is, money itself has no use whatever, you and I cannot eat money, we can’t use it to keep ourselves warm and we can’t use it to travel in. This is even more true in these days when money in tangible form is rapidly ceasing to exist.
Most ‘money’ is virtual. It’s a ‘balance’ in an ‘account’ of some sort. You and I rarely carry around more than a very small amount of tangible money.
People give money an emotional value. They talk about being ‘rich’ or ‘poor’ in relation to their access to money but in reality this emotional attachment is about them, not money, because money is entirely neutral.
Even when people ‘owe money’ or are ‘owed’ it, it’s not about the money, but more perhaps about whether the ‘job’ was ‘well done’ or not, or even about our opinion as to whether the ‘silent applause’ was loud enough!
Money only ever does one thing and this is the fundamental reason why you and I use it. It circulates.
Money moves from one person to another (usually virtually) ideally (but not usually!) as ‘silent applause for a job well done’.
The circulation however is never ‘smooth’. You and I don’t all have the same access to the same amounts of money at the same time. It’s extremely rate that the same amount of money goes out of our ‘accounts’ every day or week or month as the amount that comes in.
There are peaks and troughs and at any given time very few people have exactly the same amounts flowing into and out of their accounts.
Some claim this is ‘unfair’ and that all money should be distributed ‘equally’, but the result of that would be that, think about it, everything would grind to a halt.
Like blood, money has to circulate around the world’s economies and between individuals.
If it didn’t, everything would stagnate, fall over and expire. Circulation of money, like blood, is key to our survival, as individuals and as humanity.
I’m afraid that Gene Roddenberry’s theory in Star Trek of a society without money just doesn’t stand up. Pity.
Again like blood, the more easily money flows around the fitter and more active we become. We can do without any blockages in the circulatory system or any slowing down of the flow.
I’m off to boost my circulation, how about you