Don’t tie your self-worth to Money.
Whatever money you might have, self-worth really lies in finding out what you do best — J.K. Rowling
I love money; I think everyone does! Although, don’t quote me on that. I came across the story of Rajat Gupta in of my favourite books, The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, and it got me thinking about man’s self-worth and its relationship with money.
I probably have been guilty of tying my self-worth to material possessions at some point; because I couldn’t afford what my peers had, it made me sad and chipped away at my self-worth.
THE STORY OF RAJAT GUPTA
Rajat Gupta was born in Kolkata, India, an orphan who not only put himself through Harvard Business School but also flourished!
This story sounds like a rag to riches story, and I love those. Mr Gupta landed a job at Mckinsey through the help of an influential professor, and he never looked back.
Ambition drove him to succeed, and he eventually became the first-foreign born consultant to lead the company. By his mid-40s, he was already CEO of Mckinsey and was reportedly worth $100 million in 2008.
So why does a multi-millionaire CEO of a major consulting company betray the trust of his clients; and end up committing securities fraud in 2008 by tipping his friend Raj Rajaratnam about a bailout of Goldman Sachs?
Warren Buffet, the legendary investor, agreed to invest $5 billion into Goldman Sachs during the 2008 financial crisis. With the help of Rajat Gupta, Raj Rajaratnam bought $35 million worth of Goldman stock, which netted him huge profits and eventually landed both friends in prison.
Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed — Vaclav Havel.
I understand the need to make more money; money affords us the better things in life, better food, better schools for our children, world-class healthcare and probably the most important, freedom. But tying money to your self-worth is the fastest path to reckless ambition.
Rajat Gupta got greedy; he wanted to skip the process and take the fastest way to billionaire land by committing a financial crime. But, as this article points out, he envied the billionaires and so badly wanted to join the club.
It took Warren Buffet 33 years to become a billionaire, few financial gurus get to attain the multi-billionaire status, and it took arguably the most significant investor of all time 33 years!
You need to have measured ambition at all times; if you have a goal or a dream you want to achieve, go after it. However, the most important thing is to check yourself once in a while and ask -Is this the man/woman I want to become?
He who envies others does not obtain peice of mind — Buddha.
TRUST THE PROCESS
I believe in not taking shortcuts; envy is one of the deadly sins, making humans do the unthinkable. I love the word discipline because it checks me every time. Because my peers are doing it doesn’t mean I should if it goes against my core being.
I don’t drink alcohol; whenever I am at a party, people offer me a drink, but I say no thank you, I will have a diet coke or just water. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world, sticking to your values in the face of temptation.
I have always held the notion that nothing good and lasting in life comes easy. Being the best student in your class takes consistent effort, and so does getting that promotion or even starting a successful business.
We all have to pay our dues to get to the promised land, wherever that might be. This journey is a long and arduous process you will have to stick to.
Mile by Mile, it’s a trial; yard by yard, it’s hard; but inch by inch, it’s a cinch — Gabrielle Giffords.
I love some aspects of social media and other elements not so much. It’s a breeding ground for envy, corrupting the human soul.
So if you are reading this, I want you to do something for me — Never compare your life to someone else’s. It’s the fastest way to get depressed and pessimistic about your wonderful life.
The uniqueness of your life’s journey makes it pointless to compare that journey to someone else’s.
From a young age, we are taught by society to value material possessions, wealth, and positions of power. Sometimes, these things crop up in conversations as metrics to measure people in a group. An example of this on a large scale is Forbes’s list of top 400 billionaires.
The most important thing is to start dissociating your self worth from money as soon as possible. Here are a few ways to get started on that:
- Gratitude — You were born a lump of flesh without any predisposition. Everything we know about life has been taught to us by society and family. The only certainty about life is our existence, so we are buried alone without any material possessions. Every day, be thankful for life and its possibilities.
- Enjoy things money cannot buy — In my previous article, I talked about the positive effects of waking up at 4 am; one of the positives is Fresh air. Fresh air is a free commodity; wake up early in the morning when the streets are quiet, go for a walk, appreciate nature in the summer, and the sound of raindrops during a thunderstorm. Sometimes we get lost in life; we don’t appreciate the little components of life and our ecosystem in general.
- Bring value to the world — Rajat Gupta’s story is an example of where a shortcut to success might lead you. Instead of chasing money, let money chase you. When you are a man or woman of value in society, you will be well rewarded more often than not.
- No situation is permanent — You might be rich today and poor tomorrow and vice-versa. There are a lot of uncertainties and probabilistic events in the universe you cannot control. Only one thing is deterministic, and that is the kind of person you choose to be. You alone can determine the trajectory of your life, and the man or woman you choose to be will be your everlasting defining trait, not your bank balance or your fancy house.
There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes from riches possessing people — Billy Graham.