I watched a show and a statement left a mark. “You don’t get what you want, you get who you are.” Seems unfair as we have been groomed to think we should get what we want.
You can want all the money in the world but who are you deep inside? Understanding who we are without the money is relevant now as we try to make do with little, and others live in the fear of having less. I have gone to school and done many courses in my life but the day I found my bank balance at Ksh200 (Shs7,000) was one of the biggest lessons in my life.
I remember trying to escape that feeling of hopelessness by binging on TV shows. I recall the shame I felt when my friends had to pick up the tab and asking my Dad to help me with rent. Combine this with the fact that I had closed down my first business. Yet all this happened when my day to day job was advising people where to invest. Knowledge and title do not make you rich.
In this period, I realise that what is affecting people is deeper than money. There are increased cases of depression. People don’t even know how to look at their families, their kids in the face. We have never been taught to cope with not knowing the answer.
In the never-ending striving to make more, we started thinking that money makes us more human. It gives us relevance. Then we end up playing a game in which we never quite “catch up”. Even when you have it you keep thinking it is a bigger amount that will make you happy.
When you don’t have it, you feel inadequate. This is the thinking that has made us follow the wrong jobs or careers, start business with wrong motives, marry the wrong people, and have been blinded to real opportunities. Money is not the answer to our problems, identity is.
How to get your true identity
Money has stopped us from taking responsibility. Let us investigate the thought ‘I can’t start a business because I don’t have money”.
You then stop considering it and it becomes your reality. Then you can blame money and be a victim. This thought process affects our goals and desires. We don’t ask for help because we are afraid of how we will look. We can’t attend certain forums because we are afraid that we don’t look the part. We fail to save and invest because of today’s reality. I am not saying you don’t t have to figure out money – yes you do.
But, many times we are running away from possible rejection, risks, what other people think, having to confront our insecurities, mistakes we have made, and fear of not having all these things that we have used to create an image for ourselves. It s easier to let money be the problem than face all this.
Do you feel superior or inferior because you have less? Now, this is where I am asking you to go against the grain. Society will make you feel good when you have and bad when you don’t. The anchor has to be who you are and not your position to others.
We don’t spend time developing or understanding that. That’s why when you have had a big job title you can’t see the new opportunity is in making snacks because you are after opportunities that conform to an image. If I know I am a creative person, I can apply it in whichever circumstance. I am not less or more creative because of money.
What do you truly want? Do you want that house or have you been taught to want that house? Is maintaining the car the reason you don’t travel, invest, or start a business? The reason many people cannot even in this period let go and adjust is that they are hanging onto things and circumstances that they are expected to want. Is it really make or break if your kids go to that particular school? Paying school fees does not necessarily make you a better parent.
Money does not have the power to fulfill so figure out what truly does. Money is a tool.
I started a business advising people about money with no money. My ability to learn and communicate outweighed the bank account. When you peel back that onion, who are you without the money, job title, and all these other identities that we shackle ourselves with?
Who are you?
Money has stopped us from taking responsibility. Let us investigate the thought ‘I can’t start a business because I don’t have money”. You then stop considering it and it becomes your reality.
This article was first published in Saturday Nation.