Meaning or Money? Which Gets Your Attention?

November 19, 2014 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

I love money! I know I’m not supposed to admit it, but I also have to be honest. I love travel. I love cars. I love houses. I love art. You can add clothes and food and concerts. I think I’ll stop there since I’ve already admitted to being a full-on capitalistic bourgeoisie.

On the other hand, I live to help. In fact, my one single goal in life is “to help people feel better about themselves.” Making people feel better is my job.

So, What is it? Meaning or Money…

OR BOTH

Meaning or money? If we ask ourselves the question honestly the answer is not as simple as it sounds, because the truth is that we ALL love money. We’re raised with the notion, either indirectly or behaviorally, that money is massively important.

But, at the same time, we have this haunting voice inside telling us there is so much more to life than money. We really do want to love and be loved. We really do want to be a good friend and partner. We want to give to the poor, be trustworthy, and to be honest. So what’s the deal?

THE VALUE OF MONEY

First of all you need to know that money doesn’t buy you things. It buys you options or choices. It doesn’t buy you a house or car. Money determines “what kind” of house or car you can have. It also buys you the option to give it away! But even more important, money provides you the option to do a lot of really cool things besides just buying stuff.

What Money Does For You

  1. Money buys you choices. As stated above, money can get you access to the kinds of material things you might want—houses, cars, vacations, clothes, etc. But it also buys you scores of other choices.
  2. Money buys the support you need to accomplish your goals. Money provides the resources you might need to accomplish your goals. Tools, hardware/software, offices, employees, consultants, contractors. It provides you with the ability to use or hire the resources that will make you successful.
  3. Money can enable you to be a philanthropist. One of the coolest things about money is that you can give it away to people or institutions in need…

THE VALUE OF MEANING

Let’s think about some of the kinds of things that can give you a real sense of meaning or purpose. We don’t have space in this post to talk about writing your own personal mission statement. That’s a topic for another time. Still, the information below should help you begin to think about your own purpose (or mission) in life.

What Meaning Does For You

  1. Growth. A life of meaning and purpose begins with personal growth. Those who make growth and continuous learning a habit are the same people that make a huge difference in their own worlds. The more they learn, the more they serve and give.
  2. Service. One of my favorite quotes in the Bible is that Jesus, the Son of God, came to Earth “not to be served, but to serve…” I find more fulfillment in service that anything else I do. My service can range from making coffee for a group of people to devoting days to serving the needy by providing food or shelter. When someone needs assistance on a menial or monumental task, if I have the talent, time, or resources to help, I serve them. It is SO rewarding.
  3. Giving. In this context I’m talking about giving money to someone who needs it (and is not going to waste it). A friend of ours was in need of keeping his truck, but didn’t have the credit to get a loan. My wife and I were fortunate to have enough money to give him a no-interest loan. We don’t make a habit of being bankers, but this situation called for help. We were repaid the entire amount in a timely manner and our friend didn’t lose his transportation.
  4. Encouragement. Encouraging people may be number one on my personal list. In fact, I’ve already stated that my priority in life is “to make people feel better about themselves.” You will be shocked at how good it feels to encourage just one person everyday. And if you make it a habit, you’ll find yourself encouraging others dozens of times a day.
  5. Sacrifice. Finally, there is no greater gift than to give someone something you can’t really afford to part with, but you decide it’s more important for them than it is for you. I wish I could say I did this more. I had an opportunity on a 3-hour flight to Dallas to give up my favorite window seat to a man with a very bad back. I took the oh-so dreaded middle seat. LOL, like that’s a real sacrifice.

So what is it for you, Meaning or Money or Both? I can’t wait to read your comments. Please respond. I read every one of them.

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