Article in brief: The author argues against those who claim that money is “evil”, and explains what we should truly worry about.
There is a famous saying in Arabic, specifically in the Gulf region, that translates to the “money defiles souls”. While wealth could give us power, respect and security, money is also deemed as the culprit that causes division and misery in several cultures around the world.
The sentiment expressed in the quoted phrase embodies the view that money leads you to wicked ways, and the presumption that it is wrong and shameful to aim to be “wealthy”.
I believe such negative notions were a result of noticing how the greedy take foul measures for an extra few dollars, and how others use their money to demean those who are less fortunate. Additionally, our societies have become increasingly and dangerously materialistic, and the way this is justified by so many is through blaming the money for “spoiling our children”.
Let’s take a minute and think about this. As people, it is in our nature to blame someone else, or in this case something else. And while it could make sense that the extra coins people own don’t cause ultimate happiness, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the reason for misery, or that it is wrong to wish for loads of it.
The first counter argument I received for the misery part was from my sister. She was working on her psychology assignment that was supposed to prove that money doesn’t buy happiness. She included some examples as proof to support her stance.
Actors such as Heath Ledger and Robin Williams, she mentioned, had fortunes ranging from half a million to over $100 million. However, they had been miserable as has been proven by their deaths and substance abuse.
It sounds like a good case. However, I believe the reason is not that their thousands of dollars failed to make them happy. It is a far more interesting motive.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the famous Eat, Pray, Love, explained in a TED Talk that after having had enormous success, artists feel an incredible pressure because of a belief that they cannot remake such a success, and so they suffer from the fear of great disappointment. Relating this to the actors’ point, Ledger died after completing his role in the Batman movie where critics have described his performance as “genius”, and it is no question that Williams was one of the best comedians of our time who had ended his own life believing his journey has come to an end, and there was no use fighting his illness.
My other concern remains on the shame people associate with someone’s wish for being wealthy.
Jim Rohn, who had been just a worker in a farm in Idaho, didn’t have a dollar in his pocket to give to a girl scout who offered him a cookie. It was an embarrassing incident for him, so he promised himself this would never happen again. He later became a multi-millionaire and one of the top motivational speakers of our time. His aim was to become a millionaire.
In his words, Rohn said that once he got his first million, he was willing to give it away because the journey towards the million has enriched him to live a new life, unlike the actors who believed their journey had ended.
I remember listening to a song a couple of years ago called Price Tag. It was a hit at the time, and I like the part where Jessie J repeats that “it ain’t about the cha-ching”. She was right. It’s not about the money, and I say that it is about you. It is not about how rich you get, but how enriched you become in the process towards achieving what you are willing to achieve –whether it was wealth or otherwise.
A young artist who is predicted to reach $100 million of earnings before the end of the year, and has recently made history at the Billboard Music Awards receiving more awards than any other artist, made me wonder for a second if she believed this was the end of the journey, because to many, her achievements seem ultimate, so you can’t help but think “what else is there?”.
However, in her acceptance speech she said: “We have so much more learning to do… So much more to fight for…”
Regardless of how much success you get, and how bright your bank account blings, your focus towards enriching your soul throughout your own journey of doing what you want to do is what purifies your soul, and the divergence from that defiles it. Money is just an invisible trophy that you have on a shelf. One that could stay or disappear, but either will not matter because you have your focus locked on developing a better you.
You make the money. It doesn’t make you. The buck is innocent.
With that, I rest my case.
Founder of @BetweenTheSips -a social media initiative that moderates social conversations. Alanoud’s passion is public speaking and designing infographics, reading and researching.
Through “Beyond Inspiration”, Alanoud aims to share personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that can spark a flame within the reader to reach their full potential.