Business purpose

Money and happiness: Are you a bottom-line slave?

- October 5, 2005 2 MIN READ

When it comes to “success”, overt
wealth is sadly the prevailing measure. The money-is-God dogma prevails: Financial decisions drive government and business actions. Does money equal happiness?

Unimaginative bean counters “lead” many businesses. Showponypreneurs are “heroes” because of their extravagant lifestyles. Money-centric business plans are mindlessly proffered by consultants, coaches and business schools. It is little wonder money-myopia rules!

We have forgotten the truly important things about life and work. Think about it: on your deathbed, will you recall your wide-screen plasma home theatre system with 6.1-surround? Will your epitaph say: Here lies John, he made squillions?

Consider these more immediate dangers of putting money before happiness:

  • Acute bean counting has resulted in a plethora of self-serving, “me-too”, and inanely boring businesses.
  • Money-based business decisions also writes off all the inherit potential in attributes like daring, love, imagination and dreams. And the more time we spend at work, the more critical it becomes to imbue businesses with these qualities.
  • Your happiness is at stake. Do you want your life to be SUMmed up in a single Excel field?
  • With increasing globalisation, short-term business thinking can screw up even more people’s lives even faster! The very survival of our world is at stake.

Soloists are the future of human-centric and honourable business practice. Here’s how you can start to free yourself of this madness:

  • Owning a thousand hammers will not make you a better carpenter. Money is only a tool you can leverage to build your life. Get real about money.
  • Define your own measure of success that includes strictly non-financial factors. Review this quarterly to balance out the money-centric BAS.
  • Question conventional business wisdom. Your cat can probably tell you more about living a fulfilling life than an MBA graduate.
  • Seek balanced advice, feedback and affirmation from kindred spirits. Take time off to reflect and stay true to what is truly meaningful for you.
  • Flatly refuse to play the I-have-more-money-than-you game. The value of your contributions to the world is not dependant on yacht ownership.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business values section.

As a soloist, both your business and your life are yours to shape. Seize this power!

Article authored in conjunction with Zern Liew.