At this point, being intensely immersed in the coaching, self-help, psychology and spiritual communities, I have inevitably come across numerous money coaching experts, financial gurus and other money-oriented growth people.
At first the goal seemed as innocent as that of any other coach or guru, on health, relationships or any other sort of problem. But as I paid closer attention I noticed a common problem with money gurus, a kind of trend that started to trouble me. And I’m finally defining it here as follows.
The problem with money gurus is that their focus is on money.
This may seem naively contradicting at first, but not when you dig deeper and understand where the root of money problems in society is. When you carefully analyse and understand the problems with money and people, you see that they have little to do with money.
Just like any other tool, money is simply a tool. And as any tool it has no inherent ability to harm or help people, no inherent value, strength, power, or whatsoever quality. It is the way that people use the tool that gives people those qualities, not the tool.
With money, the issues stands with the fact that we tend to project onto such tool attributes, values, powers, abilities that are beyond the tool itself, and that are more inherent with the types of personalities and qualities of people who use the tool. It’s a bit as though we believed that the Mona Lisa painting was the actual Mona Lisa.
Let me clarify. Instead of using money for what it is: a way of exchanging value, services and goods, and things, many people associate all sorts of things with money that are actually not inherent with money, but rather with certain kinds of people and ways of using money. For instance, many people associate money with power, with control, with abundance, with self-fulfilment, with success.
Note that all those things are values that are important to human needs and desires. However these needs and desires cannot be fulfilled with money. Money simply does not have such capabilities, it merely provides a tool through which we might or might not fill those needs, depending on how we use it and weather money is the appropriate tool to achieve them.
By confusing the baby with the bath water, people tend to associate money with all sorts of things that it is not. Many people treat it almost to the degree of a God, or some kind of omni-powerful being, which, again, it is definitely not.
Money in other words has become a potent addictive drug. A regular thing becomes an addictive drug when we use it to substitute for a real need which it can’t actually satisfy. For instance when we use money to gain power, when really what we need to feel powerful is simply a closer look at our responsibilities. Or perhaps we use money to gain abundance, when really what we need to feel abundance is time with people we love. I could continue with an endless list of substitutions that money is used for.
As a result many people developed extremely toxic attachments and dependencies on money. They make money the purpose of their life, or rather they make it a substitute of the real purpose of their life. They lose sight of the things they actually need, and the actions they truly want, and instead replace them with more money. And that’s when money is never enough. Like any addictive drug, it doesn’t matter how much we get, we always want more. That’s what happens with many people and money.
An honest conversation about money needs to address very importantly what money isn’t. It needs to shift the focus from money (what we think we need), to the actual real things we truly need. And we need to stop making our problems about money, because they aren’t. They are about all those things that we need and desire and that we try to replace with money instead.