Archive for September 2013

Wealth and Poverty Employ the Same Traits

September 12, 2013


It takes strength to tolerate intolerable circumstances. But, poverty can be a trap!

As an administrator of a non-profit corporation, I work with many brilliant people who have become entrapped by poverty. Don’t misunderstand me. Not all of the people I work with are brilliant, strong, passionate, and ethical. However, many are. And these same people can become entrapped.

Poverty can be a trap because the traits required to endure and survive poverty are many of the same strengths others employ to attract wealth. Discipline is an example. When one is poor, it requires inordinate amounts of discipline to engage the social situations that are required to solve basic problems. Put simply, solving basic problems with no money requires more raw strength by far than solving the same problems with sufficient cash. Furthermore, doing so with optimism, grace and kindness requires a certain degree of self-restraint even denial. For, one must push aside thoughts of guilt, despair, and fear.

Organization is another strength many apply to attract wealth. I find that people who live their lives on a fixed income are some of the most organized people. They have to be! If you only have a little money (and you know there isn’t any more where that money came from), you have to make what money you have stretch! People get good at that. Many times, the same degree of organization that is required to manage great wealth is also required to manage relative scarcity.

Many poor people are energetic (well, some of the time). Poverty is an energy sucker! When one has to employ extreme discipline, organization and restraint simply in order to survive, many times one has to segregate the uses of metabolic energy. You push yourself really hard one day, and then recover the next. I find that poor people can be very energetic, but in the “hidden times” they often feel extreme exhaustion.

Why am I writing about this? The key reason is that by tolerating poverty, our society is wasting some of our most valuable people.

Especially today, many poor people could become much more effective contributors to society, were they not to have to utilize their best personality traits for sheer survival.

If you are rich, consider this: One of the best investments of your resources may be to invest in the success of a talented and highly motivated person.

If you are poor—if you see yourself in what I’ve written—consider putting aside survival periodically and simply pretending you are rich. What would you be doing if you didn’t have to worry? Those are the things you should invest your time, energy and focus in now. (Well, some of your time, energy and focus.)

My point is this; your best talents were designed to be used within a society managed so that everybody has optimum resources for their full expression. Imagine such a context for yourself. When you have that image in your mind, focus on how you act within that situation. Do some of that—even a just a little bit of that—now! By consistently being the kind of person you envision, you will begin to attract the necessary context of abundance to enter your life!


Money is a Metric

September 4, 2013


Money is a metric.  Indeed, in my mind, money is only a metric.  What is the real-world utility of this mental model of finance?  Most importantly, viewing money as a metric enables the business executive to create systems around money in the same way he or she does with any other metric.  Take this blog, for example.  The number of page views is a metric.  I am able to measure the relative success of each post, and with this information I am able to build systems around my activities that are designed to yield specific results.

It’s all about relationships.  This is not just a philosophical ideal.  If you make it about money—about the bottom line—and decentralize your focus on relationships, you will quickly lose the essential links that make everything work.  The ancient proverb, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” is very often misunderstood.  This statement is not about money; it’s about love.  If you don’t love people, your business won’t work.  That’s what it means.  If you focus your passion, your interest, your emotion on a metric . . . well, that just doesn’t make any sense.  Why would someone do that?  It’s just a metric!

Love is a two way street.  Love is a relationship.  The exchange flows in two directions naturally.  That’s the nature of relationships.  If you try to form a “relationship” with a metric—if you try to fall in love with money—you are trying to connect with something that is incapable of connecting back with you.  This stops the flow of energy.  I won’t say that’s downright evil.  I will, with a laugh, say that’s just probably misguided.

So, how does one build an effective system around a financial metric?  I’ve found that the fluidity of the system is important.  The executive and his or her team must respond to changing conditions.  This requires flexibility.  Yet structure is also important.  Structures hold form; and form is necessary for things to function properly.

Imagination is key.  You must be able to visualize how the entire system will work at various thresholds as cash flow increases.  Likewise, you must know exactly which system is most appropriate as cash flow contracts.  Developing a working matrix of functional financial systems—each with working parts—is a good place to begin in functionally activating the concept that money is a metric.