You don’t need to be a genius to do amazing things with your money. Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to come from money (in fact, a lot of the most successful people in history started with little or nothing). You don’t need to be young, or even have a college degree.
What you do need is a plan. And…you need to be brave, humble, and willing to consider a different perspective. Only you know if you’re ready to do that.
We all have beliefs that we’ve created around every major aspect of our lives (e.g. relationships, business, family, parenting, love). At their core, 99% of our beliefs are reactions to pain we’ve experienced thus far. Who shaped you when you were growing up? If you’re like other human beings, your daily behavior and actions are habitual responses to what you didn’t get when you were young. Most of us spend all of our days tending to a past wound.
The difference between people who don’t make a big impact on the world and the people who do is that successful people learn to lead with their core beliefs, rather than making decisions in response to pain. They surely experience pain (every human being does), but what they do is defined by love for something beyond the pain. They work through the hardship. They go with hope — strategically executed hope. Here are some incredible things that famous people in history have said about money, and the lessons you can take away to improve your financial life.
1. Money is for good.
“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” — Nelson Mandela
“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” — Mark Twain
If you’re not using your money to create good every day with your financial actions, ask yourself, why not? If you believe money is bad, ask, is this is true, or just a reaction to pain?
2. You need to be okay with less, before you can have more.
“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.” — Albert Einstein
“Do not save what is left after spending; instead, spend what is left after saving.” — Warren Buffett
All growth happens after challenge. Accept the challenge of recognizing you need little more than what you already have (and probably a lot less) to become successful at whatever you want to do. Let your financial life catch up with your dreams; this is especially crucial if you carry any kind of debt.
3. There is always a difference between value and price. Price lags.
“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” — Oscar Wilde
“We learned about gratitude and humility — that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean…and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect.” — Michelle Obama
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” — Warren Buffett
One of the easiest mistakes we make when becoming financially mature is to mistake price for value. They’re two different things. Your goal in creating financial success is to recognize and harvest value when the price is cheap. Adopt this mindset, and over time, nothing will stop you.
4. Your money needs a purpose. To live a rich life, drive your actions toward a mission that enriches others.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” — Henry Ford
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sake and for our own.” — Cesar Chavez
We’re made to love each other. Make something of your financial life that amplifies your gratitude for life itself.
5. Money is a poor substitute for life. Embrace money for what it is — a powerful tool.
“Men have become the tools of their tools.” — Henry David Thoreau
“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” — John Wooden
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation, rather than upon mere survival.” — Aristotle
What do you want to do with your money? If you already have an answer (or answers), it will completely change how productive you are with money when you have it. If you’re not clear yet, you’re more prone to waste.
6. If you fail, get up and try again.
“There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” — Malcolm X
“For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”― F. Scott Fitzgerald
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” — Yogi Berra
The question isn’t, “Will I fail?” but, “How often and how quickly can I fail so that my learning curve steepens?” Failures aren’t personal, not even financial ones. Everyone who ever made a difference in other people’s lives failed a million ways to Sunday, too. They just kept going after what they loved. Every next effort grew wiser.
You need your money to energize everything, to give more, to support more, and to light the way for others. And you can do it.
Jane Hwangbo is a former investment analyst and portfolio manager who founded Mission Over Money, a personal coaching program designed to change the way individuals see and interact with money. Visit her website or find her on Twitter.
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