Isn’t it funny…
…how sometimes absolutely random conversations can not only stick with you through the years, but actually shape…or change…the way you think?
When growing up, I often heard from my grandma that “money was the root of all evil.” A good and devout Methodist, she was quoting 1 Timothy 6:10.
As I got older, I realized that Grandma, as lovely as she was, did not have it quite right…it was the LOVE of Money that was the root of all evil. That put a different twist on things…
In my early teens, I learned another quip from Mark Twain – “The lack of money is the root of all evil.”
Well, growing up a poor Air-Force brat – I sure could relate to this one! One thing me, my sister and brothers were really clear on was how important each dollar was! We scraped and scrounged for everything – or so it seemed anyway. 🙂
Growing up military teaches you how to be “a scrapper” – learning how to make do with what we had, be happy with it and working hard for anything extra we wanted.
As an adult, the saying that really strikes me comes from Oscar Wilde… “When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.”
This sounds perfectly reasonable and, in fact, a good portion of society would be cheering Oscar with a hearty “oh yeah!” As someone who grew up poor and worked hard for years, the inclination to fall right into step with this saying is so easy….BUT…
I would beg to differ with Oscar – rather heartily – in fact.
A recent conversation with my hair stylists really brought this home. I was sitting there while Tiffany and KC were working on my hair and we were just chatting.
They know what I do for a living, so invariably a tax or finance question shows up. It’s fun to share information and their perspectives, as young women, are always insightful.
The conversation started like this: “Hey, I read on Google that, in order to be happy, I need to make at least $75,000 a year. As a hair stylist, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.”
Grinning slightly, I gently told them that maybe Professor Google still had a few things more things to learn about finance – but I was also curious as to how that revelation from Google made them feel.
Sad looks followed…
When I asked them why, they said they were not aware that it took that much money to be happy, but now they were sad because their salaries were less – and they did not know what to do about it.
“So what do you think your options might be?” I asked.
Answers ranged from going back to school, to moonlighting (which I pointed out might be against their contract), to just resigning themselves to being unhappy for the foreseeable future.
They wanted to know what I thought – being a “successful CPA and all.” It was clear that this topic was distressing. I thought back to my time as a teenager…working hard and being happy with what I had. Not knowing that I should have been miserable about all the things I did not have…
I asked them the following question: “If you did hair for the rest of your life and made a beautiful difference in the lives of others, how would you feel?”
They both agreed that they loved what they did.
They even shared how they had washed and combed out two wigs for a quadriplegic woman earlier that day. Watching them smile as they talked about it was refreshing.
Then Tiff said, “but I don’t make anywhere near $75,000. I want to have a house someday…and I want to be happy.”
So I shared a little tidbit that surprised both of them…
I told them that, over the years, I had worked with many, many people who made under $25,000 a year – who were blissfully happy. AND, I had also worked with several folks who made well in excess of a $1 million a year…who were absolutely miserable and hated their lives. So was the lack of money really the problem?
Now, I really had their attention…
We then talked about how it does not matter how much money you make – of course you need enough to have food, shelter and clothing (and a few niceties along the way would be fun too!!), but that it was more important to know what is important in your life – what your true values are.
It’s not what society says you have to have, the size of your house, the car you drive or the career you have. It’s what lights you up and makes you jump out of bed each day – ready to go after it again. It’s your passion.
Passion’s meaning is different for each and every one of us.
If you can discover what that passion is – go do that. And here’s the funny rub. If you do what your passion is, you will probably do it better than most anyone else…
You may or may not make a million a year, but one thing for sure…you will be a lot happier than most of the poor people who have sold their soul, their passion, and the core value of who they are as a human being…all for chasing the almighty dollar.
I believe money, in and of itself, is not the most dangerous problem.
However, if in our pursuit of more and more money, we forego our core passion – and the very essence of what God has put in our hearts to do – in order to get the money…THAT, in my humble opinion, is the insidious, socially acceptable and often the most emotionally devastating root of all evil.