Don't Wait for Wealth to Make a Difference

  • Posted on: 25 May 2007
  • By: mokshalom

I had an opportunity to see Michele Blood speak earlier in the week. She is the singing Australian self-help guru who has for years teamed up with Bob Proctor, one of the main guys on The Secret DVD. I enjoyed her talk, if just for the fact that she liked to throw the F-word in there a lot, and didn't seem to take herself too seriously.

What struck me was her comments on the issue of manifesting money. She mentioned briefly that sometimes she gets criticized for her focus on wealth. She said something along the lines of: "If you want to accomplish anything, you need the energy of money behind you, and so I don't apologize for that." (I am completely paraphrasing here.)

Hmm. Well, yes, I certainly would like more money, as it would make my life easier in many respects. But do we need to be wealthy in order to achieve anything?

What I immediately got, upon listening to her, was this sense that, yes, for her and for the people in her immediate circle, money = power. This is how she and others leverage their lives, using vast sums of money to create what they want to create. It's almost as if these folks were living in a bubble and have simply forgotten what it's like to be a normal person. For them, lots of money is essential, because they've forgotten how to make an impact without it.

No wonder they are sincerely trying to push materialism on everyone in the guise of self-help memes like The Secret.

I worked with a very rich woman recently, who seemed to think having oodles of money (mostly from her rich husband) gave her this immense power in the world. She was well-meaning, but it was obvious from how she constantly talked about her wealth that she thought she was better than other people because of this money.

Her online biographies would often go on about how many different homes she had. For her, her money seemed to be a major source of self-esteem.

It also made her very difficult to work with at times, because she gave off this aura of "I've got a lot of money and therefore you should be kowtowing to me because of it." Don't get me wrong, she was very generous and tried to make a difference with her money. But she truly seemed to think that her money made her better than others.

Yet, here was the kicker: Even though this woman had oodles of money to throw at various projects throughout the years, none of them ever seemed to take off. She'd even been on Oprah once. But nothing was taking off for her. As she said, she'd try to get things started, but other people wouldn't "buy into" the projects to keep them going.

So why weren't things flying for her? Well, I personally feel that she didn't create a sense of excitement and ownership in other people about her projects, precisely because of her unconscious attitude that her money made her better than everyone else. Who wants to support a project when you are made to feel like a loser just because you are an average person who didn't have the good fortune of marrying a man who was a millionaire?

It's in relating to some wealthy people that I think many of them are in a bubble and are so used to throwing money at things, that they are out of touch with other ways of having an impact on the world.

Now, I won't deny that having money to fund certain projects can be crucial. But throwing money at something will not guarantee its success. (Pardon me for being political for a moment, but just look at the mess in Iraq. Billions of dollars hasn't made that work!)

Money is not the only source of energy in the world. There are many spiritual leaders, activists, and visionaries who have accomplished many things without being personally wealthy.

What about Mother Teresa? Martin Luther King, Jr.? Ghandi? The Dalai Lama? Were they rich before they made a difference?

To assume that you need money to accomplish anything is to deny your spiritual power. Rosa Parks inspired the entire Civil Rights Movement simply by refusing to sit in the back of the bus. She was a nobody with no money and yet she revolutionized race relations in America by one brave action.

But you don't even need to impact the entire world. Just by showing an act of kindness to one person in need, you have made a difference. Thus, anonymous people, from the underpaid person working hard at a charity, to the poor African woman who rescued a baby even while running from genocide, are heroes.

Isn't that empowering? I find it very inspiring to remember that you can make a difference, no matter how poor or rich you are!

Thus, to wait until you are wealthy to create your vision is perhaps to put the cart before the horse. Get started now. Your vision is what's important - not your bank account. Just put it out there.

Finally, I will leave you with some words of the Dalai Lama:

We feel money and power can bring happiness and solve problems, but they are not definite causes of those desired states. If that were so, it would follow that those who have wealth would necessarily have happiness, and those who do not have wealth would always experience suffering. Money and power facilitate, but it is clear that they are not the primary causes of, happiness and solving our problems. It is justified for us to make material and financial development for building our nation and providing shelter, etc. for ourselves; we need to do that. But we also need to seek inner development. As we can see, there are many people who have wealth and power who remain unhappy, due to which their health declines, and they are always taking medicines. On the other hand, we find people who live like beggars but who always remain peaceful and happy.

Something, I think, the Wealthy Self-Help Gurus in a Bubble have forgotten.

Comments

Makes sense to me. Christ wasn't rich. Paris Hilton is.

I think you would understand more clearly what true wealth means if you read the Science of Getting Rich.

The language may seem a little arcane and obscured, but the book really sets down certain rules that will help you become prosperous if you follow them, which are based on universal laws and principles that have stood the test of time.

When he talks about being rich, he's talking specifically about financial riches, not the many other excellent interpretations, such as personal fulfillment, happiness, health, and so forth. But he also makes the point (which I heartily subscribe to) that if you become wealthy the right way, then those other important aspects of your life will become just as healthy as your finances.

Here is one of Mr. Wattles's rules to becoming rich:

Always give more in use value than what you take in cash value. You cannot give a person more in cash value than you take from them, but you can give them more in use value than the cash value of the thing you take from them.

On the surface he's saying that when you sell a product or service, although you'd go broke if your product or service cost you more than you took in financially, you can actually provide a product or service that adds more value to those customers' lives than the cash value they paid for it, while making a profit at the same time. In practical terms, this simply means, always do your best to add to the other person's life and success, without concern -- especially at the beginning -- for what you are receiving from the relationship.

There's an excellent reason why this attitude will help accomplish much and reach great financial heights. Again according to Mr. Wattles:

People are built with a desire for increase in their lives.

To me, this passage from near the end of Mr. Wattles's book is one of the most profound statements of all time; it is also key to understanding successful networking:

No matter what your profession, if you can give increase of life to others and make them sensible (i.e., "aware") of this gift, they will be attracted to you, and you will get rich.

As far as "get-rich-quick" books go, his is one of the better ones since it actually tells you to put some effort into things and add value. Yes, adding value is one good way to create some wealth for yourself. It's not a guarantee, but it's certainly better than the "think and it will appear" philosophy espoused by Rhonda Byrne.

Ironically, Rhonda Byrne credits Wattles for inspiring The Secret, but The Secret does not talk in any way about providing value.

As this statement: "But he also makes the point (which I heartily subscribe to) that if you become wealthy the right way, then those other important aspects of your life will become just as healthy as your finances."

Well, he died at 51 so his health was apparently not as "healthy" as his finances...and while there are conflicting reports I've read in many places that he wasn't even RICH when he died, e.g.:

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/24/exposing-the-secret.html

As for this: "People are built with a desire for increase in their lives."

How on earth is that true or proves that getting rich is important? I have no desire to live in a large mansion now or ever and there are plenty of other people who like me would prefer a simpler life.

Using these books as a way of spiritualizing rampant consumerism is just misguided at best.