As the global economic downturn accelerated, Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking found himself one of the few winners of the prize of buying Volkswagen before its stock price rose. This caused short sellers to panic and get burned—most notable among them German billionaire Adolf Merckle, who lost a bundle shorting VW. Merckle ended his life soon after.
What is it about money that causes people to kill themselves because of it? What is its allure that it mesmerizes many through 80-hour workweeks, while hypnotizing others into coercing, stealing, and committing graft or fraud to get hold of as much of it as they can?
Money is seductive because it means—
1. FUEL Money is the fuel of business, industry, and living.
2. FREEDOM Money can mean freedom from the drudgery of the routine.
3. FANCY Money can be used to buy whatever tickles the fancy.
4. POWER Money is used by those who have it to control or persuade those who don’t.
5. SCORECARD Money is the scorecard of many in business because they believe it reflects self-worth and validates their superiority.
I think we all must constantly put our hearts and minds in the right place with regards to money. Only then can we avoid being one of its victims. The following keywords can help us put money matters in perspective.
1. TOOL Money is not the end but a mere means to an end, or simply a tool. Don’t take it TOO seriously. The LOVE of money is indeed the root of all evil and, as proven by recent events, it can also kill.
2. THANKFUL Do your job well, preferably something you enjoy doing most or what you do best. Accept with a grateful heart the rewards and fruits of your labor—or the lack of it. Look at the glass as half full rather than half empty.
3. TOUGH When facing a challenge, remember the adage: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. So hang in there, tough it out, and get moving!
4. TIME Time, not money, is the most valuable commodity. It is, in fact, priceless, simply because it diminishes and cannot be replenished. Life is a 75-year journey, comprising four 15-year quarters and a 15-year bonus. How you use your time defines your life.
5. TOUCH One simple question will, if answered, give you a snapshot of how well you’ve lived your life. How many lives have been touched and changed for the better because of what you did? In the end, people will remember you less for how much money you made for yourself and more for how you spent your priceless time and resources to benefit others.
Print ed: 03/09