Does Money Change People?
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
Bill was a hard-working data entry guy at ABC Processing, Inc. who was always on time and respectful of others. However, he would frequently chat with his co-workers about someday winning the lottery, telling off his boss, “not taking no crap from no one” (deliberate triple negative), and sleeping in when he felt like it. One day, with a stroke of good fortune, Bill did win the lottery and did just what he promised. Shortly after, Bill’s co-workers commented on how much “he changed” since he won the lottery. In actuality, the money did not change Bill; it allowed him to be his true self. Unfortunately for Bill, his expression of his true self eventually caused him to lose his job and his friends.
When I sold Adgrafix, my first company of significant value, my wife and I gave away about two million dollars. We did not become more generous when we became wealthy; we just had more to give. Contrary to popular belief, either the abundance or lack of money does not change people; it just brings out who they really are.
Do people act differently when they become wealthy? Yes, many do. Many millionaires play the part of the stereotypical millionaire, even though, that is not who they really are. They can act cocky, egotistical, or callous. They can also act self-assured, generous, or benevolent. It does not matter how they act, good or bad, if they are not being themselves it will cause inner turmoil that will eventually lead to self-sabotage. When I first became a millionaire I thought I should “dress the part” of a millionaire, so I spent quite a bit of money on dress pants, shirts and sports jackets. I was uncomfortable, felt stupid, and was tired of taking my clothes to the cleaners rather than just throwing them in the wash. I went back to my sub-$100 Eddie Bauer outfit, and I am once again comfortable, confident; and back to washing my own clothes.
Money itself is neither good nor evil; it is neutral. Money cannot change who you are, but the desire to “act the part” can cause you to behave in ways that are inconsistent with your personality. Don’t be afraid of what you might become with money; instead, work on who you are now. When money does come your way, it will only amplify the solid character you have already built.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)