Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Is there an inherent conflict between living a spiritual life and the act of making money in the stock markets?  There appears to be in the minds of some people I have met.  During my participation in one particular career workshop, people thought it was a bit strange that I would, on the one hand, talk about my spiritual values, and on the other, discuss my interest in creating strategies for making money in the stock markets.

Personally, I don't see the issue.  Mother Teresa, for example, worked with donations which were estimated to be in the millions of dollars, although nobody knows the exact amount.  You might argue that the money wasn't hers.  Funny, that is exactly how I feel about money.  It does not belong to me, I simply have the use of it.  The point I am trying to make is the difference between making money, and having money.

I want to help people to make money, rather than help them to have money, if that makes any sense.  Think of a person who is so self-actuated, so loving, so confident, so together, that they feel completely secure in giving their time and wealth to others because they feel totally assured that there is so much more waiting for them, even if they don't possess it in that moment.  This type of outlook is aptly labelled an attitude of abundance.

The one belief at my very core says every person in this world has been granted unique gifts and abilities, even if it is nothing more than an ability to inspire even one other individual person.  These gifts and abilities serve us, but I believe they are much better used to serve a multitude of other people.  I think it was Zig Ziggler who used to say, "You can have everything you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want!"  Those gifts and abilities are less about being for us and more about being for others, through us.  If I am blessed, then I can bless others in the use of my gifts to help others.

In the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen Covey tells a story about the seventh habit which he calls Sharpening the Saw.  He talks about the person who is so worn out from sawing that they feel they don't even have time to conserve energy by stopping just long enough to sharpen the saw!  In the investing world, I am constantly surprised by the number of people who feel they can't afford the time to learn new strategies to make greater returns because they are too busy trying to pay their bills.

My gift to the people who ask for my help is, in the end, more money for them to do what it is they do, and perhaps, a sharper saw.  Yes, we should put away ten percent of what we make, but it is really about how to make the money we need, not about how much money we have in our possession.  When spent, our money, like our talents, has a multiplier affect around us.  If we spend our money, our time, and our talents on those who are most in need of them around us, could it be they might ensure that we will have our needs taken care of, in return?

I understand how hoarding money is not seen as appropriate behaviour.  Yet, having the ability to donate money, when we don't even have the time to give, is the best way we can help others to live in a more abundant world.  I don't see money as the real issue, but instead, what we choose to do with our money.  In saying that, I also don't believe the end justifies any means.  That is a whole other blog post!

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