At the end of the year, it is only natural to look back on the year that was in reflection of the hopes and goals one has for the year to come. For me, these reflections often begin to coalesce around a central word or theme. For me, this year, that theme is the idea of value.
Therefore, I would like to start this off by proposing a revolutionary idea. One that I am sure will take some explaining and, hopefully, spur some honest thought…
Money has no value.
I think if this year had any lesson to teach it is this one. I am not just talking about the current economic crisis, although that will help to support my proposition. Increasingly when I think about the things I value and the things that have true value in this world, money is not one of them. As an example, lets take a look at the problem our nation (and by extension our planet) finds itself in.
A big reason our economy is in the current shambles it is in is due to the seize up and collapse of a little something called the Commercial Paper Market. Here is how Wikipedia explains what this is:
> _”In the global money market, commercial paper is an unsecured promissory note with a fixed maturity of one to 270 days. Commercial Paper is a money-market security issued (sold) by large banks and corporations to get money to meet short term debt obligations (for example, payroll), and is only backed by an issuing bank or corporation’s promise to pay the face amount on the maturity date specified on the note. Since it is not backed by collateral, only firms with excellent credit ratings from a recognized rating agency will be able to sell their commercial paper at a reasonable price.”_
Let me break this down for you. Our entire intra-business economy in this country is not based on money, it is based on promises and trust. It is based on the trading of that trust. Lose that trust and the market collapses. This is, albeit a simplistic explanation for the purposes of my example, largely why the whole system collapsed – the companies and banks playing this little game of Monopoly lost trust in each other. Trust has value. Money does not.
Here is another example. I know someone who lost a parent fairly recently. This parent left behind a large home that was well maintained and paid for and a large trust fund that would reasonably keep them financially comfortable for the rest of their lives. We are talking about a fair amount of money here. Lets just say that, even in this economy, that person could call themselves a millionaire and be more than correct.
I know this person well and know that they would give it all back for a single moment longer with their loved one. They would do this without hesitation or thought. Time has value. Money does not.
It is one of the reasons you will never see advertisements here or any of the online ventures I choose to be involved in. I have no real interest in money for it’s own sake. It does not motivate or drive me. It is effectively worthless to me other than as a means to an (often unfortunate) end.
Where I am going with all of this is to try to remember, as we reflect back on the year that was, what truly has value in our lives. I would posit that if your principle motivation for anything – your career, your blog, etc. – is money, you will often find the value of those activities lacking. Be not concerned with the money that you gained or lost. Instead, be concerned with the time you had, the experiences and people that filled it, and the lessons and trust you built by using it effectively. And then, resolve to increase the value of that time and trust in the year to come.