Anger is one of the internal obstacles to wealth. If there is anger within your soul, you are repelling money whether you know it or not." So says Suze Orman, one of the country's most recognized, financial consultants, a frequent guest on Oprah, and the best selling author of The Courage to Be Rich and The Nine Steps to Financial Freedom.
A few weeks ago, Orman experienced this principal in action, first-hand. Stuck in a New York city traffic jam, she happened to notice a man on the sidewalk, perched on a piece of cardboard asking passersby for cigarettes.
As each person ignored his request, Suze felt moved to help him. Reaching into her purse, she discovered that all she had was a twenty and a fifty dollar bill. She decided to give him both. Just as she was about to get out of the car, another couple walked by. This time, when the man asked for a cigarette and was ignored, he spat at them.
"This man didn't know I was in the car or that I was watching him," says Orman. "He did not know that seventy dollars was about to come his way. As soon as I saw him spit at them, I looked at Eugene, the driver, and said, "Eugene, just drive on. Forget it." I did not get out of the car, and I did not give him seventy dollars. His anger at people ignoring him repelled the money that was about to come his way and he didn't even know it."
"Money is a very fascinating thing. What draws it to you and what repels it from you?" continues Orman. "What money is trying to come our way that we're repelling through anger or shame or fear? Why do some people have money even though they're not as intelligent as others who are far more intelligent but who don't have anything? Why is it that no matter how hard some try, they never get ahead, while others seem to do nothing and become multi-millionaires?"
As if in answer to her questions, Orman gives the example of another near-encounter with a homeless person on the streets of New York. Sitting inside a pizza place, Orman saw a woman whom she describes as unbelievably filthy. The woman had a rubber thong on one foot and no shoe on the other. Her callouses were "as thick as leather."
As Orman watched in amazement, the woman proceeded to put nail polish on her toes and finger nails. It was obvious that she was very proud of the job she was doing. "When she finished, says Orman, "she was admiring her nails and she was so happy, she was generous of spirit." Orman could tell this woman was loving how she looked. Next Orman watched as the woman went up to two women who were smoking, showed them her nails, and then asked them for a cigarette. One of the women took out a cigarette and lit it for her.
"Although she was so proud and she was looking at herself, I guess she realized that she was dirty," says Orman, "but she was feeling great about herself - you could tell. The woman entered the restaurant and asked one of the waiters if she could use the bathroom. Usually, when a homeless person enters a restaurant they are denied access to the facilities, but this time the waiter said, "Yes, of course."
For the next forty-five minutes as Orman ate, she noticed that not one person went into that bathroom. "I can't tell you how unusual that is in a restaurant in the middle of New York," says Orman. "Everybody's got to go to the bathroom. But nobody walked in there, as if God was keeping everybody out so she had her privacy. She came out a little bit cleaned up, not a whole lot. Who knows what she did in there and who even cares. She walked out feeling proud. She gathered her stuff and she left, a proud woman. Then I sat for a little while longer and sure enough, one person after another started to go in to the bathroom."
"It was her generosity of spirit about how she felt about herself and her situation that allowed her forty-five minutes in the bathroom alone, that allowed her that cigarette and the people to light it for her, that allowed her to pick up her stuff and go on as a proud human being. It was so fascinating. She didn't ask anything from anybody else. But I can tell you one thing - she walked away with a smile in her eyes and on her face. It was fabulous."
How we feel about the role money plays in our lives seems to be one of the biggest keys to our having it. Says Orman, "One has to understand that money has to play a vital role in your life. It's not a dirty role or a role that you should be ashamed of. It's not a role that should be a disgrace at all. There's nothing wrong with saying, "I want to have more," "I want to be more," "I did this for money."
According to Orman, money is most often the cause of our shame, embarrassment and our fears, including the fear of losing, the fear of not having enough, and the fear of not being able to pay our bills because we're in credit card debt.
"The role of money is so strong," says Orman, "that it causes us to go out and charge huge amounts of debt on our credit cards just so we can look like we have money." "We even make excuses for the mere fact of why we're working."
Orman gives the example of J.K. Rowlings, author-celeb of Harry Potter fame. She questions why Rowlings felt the need to recently say on TV that she wanted the world to know that she loved how successful her books were, but that she didn't write them to make a lot of money. "Why did she have to say that?" asks Orman. "Who ever accused her of doing so? Good for her that she's making all this money. Good for her that she's the third richest woman in Britain now.
In the same way," continues Orman, "in what way are you apologizing for your own success? In what way do you feel guilty because perhaps you're making more than your best friend who doesn't have anything, so you sabotage yourself?" "Money is the currency of life',"says Orman, "because it is the external measurement system that all of us have as to how we judge where we are in our own lives."
If we were to first examine our financial circumstances, then to look at our personal circumstances, Orman believes that how we feel about the money we have, or don't have, is most likely how we feel about ourselves. "Money is nothing more than a mirror of your net worth on one side, and on the other side, when you truly look in the mirror, what it reflects back is your self worth," says Orman.
According to Orman, money and spirituality walk hand in hand in what she refers to as "financiality," meaning, the financial side of spirituality. "When your self worth and your net worth are one, then you have a whole life, you have a spiritual life. When you segment and fragment those two parts of your life, you have fractured who you are and what you are and everything you do is just mediocre."
Orman does not believe that we were born in this world to be mediocre or to settle for less. She encourages us to be "masters of our own destiny," where "financial freedom is our birthright," rather than the "slave walk" of the Monday through Friday grind. "When an employee goes to work, they can't wait for Fridays; they hate Sunday nights. Because it's almost as if they feel they are leaving who they are to go back to work Monday morning, and that they become who they are again at 5pm on Friday."
Managers, on the other hand, have a very different experience of their work week. Orman notes the key difference: "Managers are in control. They want to continue to move up on some levels. They live their lives for work and they don't have a life outside of work. Managers tend to be what they do. Employees are who they are. They don't define themselves by their jobs. Managers define themselves by what they do. That's a huge difference."
(As employees), "We hate going into work because it takes us away from what we love - our children, our families, our hobbies, watching soap operas - whatever it may be," says Orman. "We go to work because we need money to pay our bills. Then we end up hating money because our work took us away from what we love. We get a paycheck, and then we rush to be poor, because we hate the money that we have to be working for…" and so the cycle goes.
Orman sees money as "the foundation upon which everything is built." She gives the example of our interview by phone: "You could not be calling me without this phone. You could not have gotten this phone without purchasing it. You couldn't be using this phone without having the money to pay the monthly bill for the telephone service. You couldn't be recording this conversation without the tapes that took money to buy and the machine that you put those tapes in, etc.
What allows all of that to happen? Money." She continues. "Although money alone won't make us happy, the lack of money surely will make us miserable." Orman feels the way for us to create a better balance in both our financial and our personal lives is to understand that "it's all just a play. It's called, 'maya'," says Orman, referring to the sanskrit term for the word, 'illusion.'
"When we leave this earth," says Orman, "we not only leave our spirit behind, so to speak, we also leave our wealth. She thinks about all of the people who currently identify themselves by their job titles, "the chairman of the board of this, the CEO of that, the dean of there"…"By the time they become eighty, ninety, or one hundred years of age," says Orman, "those titles won't pertain anymore.
So who are they?" she questions. "Who are you if you are not your job title or the house you live in, or the cars you drive, or the clothes you wear, or the schools you send your children to? Who are you? In the end, we can't take a penny with us anyway, so what's it all about?
"What is our role upon this earth since we can't take either of these things with us?" asks Orman, as she proceeds to answer her own question. "Our role is to have created more when we leave than was there when we came…more money for others to continue to live on and more memories of smiles of who we were with our spirit for when we leave."
In conclusion, says Orman, "The truth is that you are nothing more than the custodian of your inner and outer wealth while you are on this planet. All you have to decide is what kind of custodian do you want to be? Do you want to be a good custodian of your inner and outer wealth? Or a bad custodian?
If you've decided you want to be a bad custodian of it, you have to
ask yourself the question, "why?" What are you going to get out of life
then? It's up to you. You'd better figure it out sooner than later.
What is the goal of life since you can't take anything with you? What
is the goal?"
This article first appeared in WorkingSpirit.com.
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