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"Show Me The Money!" That line out of the Tom Cruise movie, Jerry Maguire, pretty much tells the story for most American men.
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“Show me the money!”
That line out of the Tom Cruise movie, Jerry Maguire, pretty much tells the story for most American men. How much money you have is almost the badge of honor that proves your self-worth and validates your success.
But it’s a lie.
We’ve been handed the wrong meaning of success. Check yourself out on that one. If you are asked to name a friend or acquaintance who is successful, it’s likely you will identify someone who has above average income and material goods. It’s the culture we grew up in and it’s still prevalent today.
But you can change your mindset and live counter-culturally. Prove to yourself and others that money and possessions are not the standards by which your success will be measured. Jesus said, “Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15).
Well, if how much I own is not the measure of success, what is? Best selling motivational author Stephen Covey once said, “If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you at your funeral, you will find your definition of success.”
Do you have your definition of success?
As you think it through, you may want to use the Merriam-Webster definition as your starting point: Success is, “a favorable or desired outcome.”
What do you want the outcome to be for your life?
Having lots of money, homes, cars, toys? Prestige, status, position? Or at the very minimum, a healthy 401k that allows you to live comfortably after you retire?
What’s wrong with that? There is certainly nothing wrong, per se, with having retirement funds to live off and share with others. But if that is the outcome that determines your success, then you will be driven by the wrong motives and not succeed in the things that matter most.
If you don’t have a clear meaning of what success means for you, take a moment right now and write out your definition of success. Record it somewhere and memorize it. As you do, it will become part of you and help to retrain your brain.
For me, both the definition of success and understanding the meaning of money evolved over time. Had I been clear on it in my teens, likely I would have had a better relationship with money from the start, rather than always wishing I had more.
When I was an adolescent, one of my favorite TV shows was one called, The Millionaire. It was about an anonymous man who wrote one million dollar checks and had them delivered by his personal messenger to unsuspecting people. Each show taught a lesson about what can happen with such a large sum depending on how people use it. It was very revealing.
It was at that young age that I decided I wanted to be a millionaire and spoke about it often. I was so excited about what would happen if I could be handing out million dollar checks to people. However, as I got older, my motives changed and I didn’t care as much about giving it to others as I did about making myself comfortable.
But as it turned out, after I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, my perspective changed again. Money was no longer a driving force in my life. The spiritual eyes to see gave me the freedom to passionately pursue things that had more eternal payoffs.
Once you get clear on your definition of success, apart from money, and understand the meaning of money, then you will be ready to manage it. And it may seem obvious, but the way in which you manage the money entrusted to you, will make or break how well most other areas of your life go.