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Financially Making The Grade

I had an email debate with a worthy scholar on the subject of money being the root of all evil. Yet everywhere I go today, the subject is being flogged non-stop. You see it all over the Internet with an endless stream of emails marketing to their list, promising you more wealth than you dreamed of if you only... (Fill in the blank). Or threatening you with poverty if you don’t do as they say.

It’s understandable, with the economy in the shape it’s in, major car companies struggling, government’s collapsing (Greece), Nicolas Cage going bankrupt, that we are sensitized to the apparent scarcity in our world. The dramatic shortage is all too obvious when there was almost obscene abundance so recently. Where did all the money go?? We see all to clearly what was SPENT, but what happened to the income.

Much as I love a good conversation about economics, let me take this in a slightly different direction. I see money as the grade that you get for your lesson learned. When we are really plugged in and getting our lesson, we get A’s for the effort. When you are completely missing the mark, you fail. The grade is not the goal; I see it instead as the measure of progress. But today in this frantic race to improve our grades, the fun seems to have been sucked out of the efforts being graded. Maybe some of these bad grades are because companies, countries, and individuals are heading in the wrong direction? Just a thought...What and how well are they creating something we value?

The people I see having an easier time are those focused on what they are doing, not why they are doing it. These people are passionate about the lesson, engaged in the process, refining the information and putting it back out to others. Perhaps there is real success to be gained in putting the joy back in learning. Even mistakes can be turned to our advantage if we see the whole rather than fearing the low grade (or paltry paycheck) for our efforts. The formula I see evolving is passion plus right action equals measurable results. Before you question what is right action, I propose that only you will know that. You know it by learning from your mistakes and getting better with each pass. We use to say in sales that it takes twenty people saying no before one says yes. When you count your mistakes as refining your right action, it gets easier to risk and pays off when you pay attention. That’s where your grades go UP, as you learn from those missed answers...

Remember your favorite school project? I remember an earth science project and memorizing the layers of the Grand Canyon. Seeing the history of each generation stacked on top of each other like a fabulous layer cake. Because I loved that improbable picture of one of the world’s wonders—I really got into it! Not only do I still remember the names of certain layers—but I also pulled my C in class up to a B by acing the final with that information. (Schist, Igneous and Gneiss—only checked the spelling after all these years...) 

I recommend going Mary Poppins on your work. You know, “In everything that’s to be done there is an element of fun.” Try bringing that to work, the “money” grade will reflect the shift or tell you where you need to course correct. The dollars will follow. I know because I have seen it in enough people and have done it myself. When we grimly memorize, grit our teeth or frantically search for the answer key so we can ace the test—money and that passing grade are not only elusive but steal the real joy out of any creation. It is the “love of money” that lies at the root of all evil, not money itself. But when you lose the fixation on getting, having, keeping money, you are free to be connected to the amazing potential to not only accomplish, but to LOVE doing it. That’s a “twofer” in my book. If you don’t know what that means, well you aren’t shopping discount.

You might enjoy the creating and trust the “grade” will tell you how well you plugged into creative passion. I say, get out of the money-trap mindset and on to a lot more of everything worthwhile. Here’s to a great report card.