Money has a funny way of changing the way we perceive the world.
For starters, consider the fact that the modern, civilized human being is the first creature, over a span of billions of years of life on Earth, to believe that food is acquired through a financial transaction.
It is, as many American & British schoolchildren are just beginning to find out as Jamie Oliver makes his way around these countries, actually produced in the ground, on the ground, or from the ground.
Recently I was reading a collection of stories about unemployed people looking for work. Their situations were as varied as they were saddening. Single moms trying to feed young children, seniors who were passed up by prospective employers because of their age, college grads with nice diplomas and sexy resumes but huge debts and no jobs.
I could feel the pain of these individuals radiating off the page and was wondering how I could possibly help them.
I’ve been there. When I wasn’t able to talk for 2.5 years and had almost no use of my arms, the inability to work and earn a living was depressing, strained my relationships, and sucked away my hope.
More recently, I’ve been in a similar situation, where me and my partner don’t have enough money to do…much, and there’s only a meager amount coming in through this website. Finding a job in a foreign country isn’t easy, and the ones I have found – teaching, don’t start until September (and I’m writing this mid-June).
And yet, I don’t feel the same fear, anxiety, sense of failure, hopelessness, or other negative emotions that I used to, and that were expressed repeatedly in the unemployment stories I was reading.
That, I believe, is because I’ve healed my relationship with money.
And while I’m still learning, in many ways I’ve acquired the only true financial freedom that exists: not fearing its lack and not requiring its presence in order to be happy.
We complain that there are no jobs, but a job – just like money, is a middleman. It’s something we do in order to get money, so we can buy the things we want or need.
Except, historically, jobs have been about the creation of the things we need. Building a chair with our own two hands, planting a crop, knitting a sweater.
Now, I’m not suggesting we all return to the middle ages, but I am suggesting that there already exists a moneyless system that people have used very successfully to meet our needs.
Intelligently tapping into that system can help us decrease our money requirements. In a time of great need it can fulfill all of our survival requirements. Most importantly, it can help us achieve a healthy relationship with money where it is not our master and it does not control our behavior.
Because so long as we believe that money is the only answer to our problems, we are at the mercy of those who control money.
For all the talk of the evil of governments and corporations, we’ve always had a way to opt out, should we choose to do so.
As Colin Wright from Exile Lifestyle said in my experts panel interview on Money & Happiness – money is a tool like any other. But our society has turned it into the only tool, and we’ve forgotten how to use the others.
We’ve forgotten the fact that we can either create everything we need, or we can barter for it. That money may make some things faster, or simpler, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better.
Money is not security. Friendship is security. The relationships we have with other people allow us to give what we have in return for what we need and make both parties richer.
This is why I think the Income Limit is such a powerful psychological tool. It forces us to define how much money is enough (and too much) and gets us to think critically both about what we’re consuming AND how to get what we want and need in other ways.
Numerous studies have shown that money kills creativity – and this is especially true in business. A small, lean start-up has to be very creative in order to bring in new clients and merely survive. But if that business reaches the Fortune 500, it can buy answers to its problems.
But I think we’re an even better example of this. Money is everywhere, and we can’t imagine life without it. We don’t know how to function without it. Our creativity and ingenuity has been sapped.
Which is why I’m starting a new series about money and happiness:
I think this is eminently necessary in a world where every 2nd blogger is trying to teach people how to make more money. As if that’s going to solve the economy crisis, environmental crisis, energy crisis, and job crisis that touches every one of us. I will not do that. I’ll do much better. I’ll show you my journey to living a full, happy life regardless of my financial situation and how you can do the same. True financial freedom. The solutions to the job crisis, the slow economy, even the health and environmental crises lie in thinking differently. And Cracking The Happiness Code is here to do exactly that.
So choose your preferred subscription option below and start following along!
Recommended Reading: What is True Financial Freedom?