Hey Rainmaker, I want to talk about wealth creation, greed, selfishness, and most of all, SERVICE…
There seems to be a nagging belief in our society that wealth is only created through deception, cunning, manipulation, and fraud.
It’s actually an ongoing narrative among many human cultures. Although it seems to be stronger now than it was in other eras.
Take Disney, for example.
Nearly every single Disney villain is shown as being bad by what? By being greedy. Pride, arrogance, hubris… Yes, those too.
But most definitely, greed.
If you grew up on Disney (as just about all my readers did), it was hammered into you from a very young age.
Greed is bad. Greed is evil. The evil are greedy. How do we know someone is evil? Because they’re greedy. If someone’s greedy? They must be evil…
But Disney is not the only place you’re getting these anti-wealth messages…
There’s a commonly mis-quoted Bible verse, thought by many to say, “Money is the root of all evil.” (I’ll get to what it really says in a moment.)
This belief is ubiquitous in our culture.
In our “if it bleeds, it leads” brand of yellow journalism, “Wall Street greed” is presented as the sickness of wealth. If you get rich, you get corrupt. Period, end of story.
And there’s no doubt there’s soul-sucking debauchery, sociopathic selfishness, and other toxic greed on Wall Street, and in profit-seeking businesses all across the globe.
In the last 24 hours, there was an announcement that the Justice Department will now be more active in pursuing individual convictions in cases of corporate fraud — which I think is a step in the right direction in terms of combating what is very dangerous behavior.
But there’s a clean truth that doesn’t get printed, because it doesn’t move papers…
There’s a fact about most wealth creators that is ignored because it doesn’t make them convenient villains for children’s fairy tales…
Most people who create massive wealth do so by being of massive service to others…
Here I’m not talking about people who wrestled to the top of the corporate ladder… Or people who just made their fortunes by creating and trading toxic derivatives on Wall Street… Or any of the ticks and leeches who make a living sucking vast wealth off the taxpaying public by offering bloated-priced and ineffective “solutions” to government- and bureaucracy-invented problems.
What I’m talking about are entrepreneurs.
Folks who start from scratch, with an idea, and put a real solution out into the marketplace.
Folks who make an offer, and succeed or fail on the voluntary decision of one or a million customers buying their wares.
Folks who ask the market, “Is this solution of service to you?” and only win big when the answer is a resounding “YES!”
Take Mark Zuckerberg. Whatever you think of Facebook, it’s been a resounding success. He asked, through Facebook, “do you want a free place to be and talk and connect online, even if it’s financially supported by people who want to buy your attention with advertising dollars?” The market said yes, and Zuck made a mint.
Or the founders of AirBnB. To travelers: “Want a place to crash that’s NOT a hotel?” To homeowners and renters: “Would you be willing to rent out your spare couch or bedroom?” Both said “Yes” and now AirBnB books more room nights than any hotel chain in the world.
Or John D. Rockefeller. “Do you want cheap heating oil, even if it takes me taking over the entire supply chain to deliver it?” Consumers said “yes,” even though the government would eventually come and shut him down.
Sam Walton. “Would you like to be able to go to one store and buy almost anything at a very low price?” And so the Walmart empire grew.
Now Jeff Bezos, of Amazon. “Would you like the Walmart experience, but bought from home and delivered to your doorstep?”
Some of these entrepreneurs are more contentious examples than others. History will probably prove that all of them have their haters.
But when you look at the net impact of their business’s contribution to the world, they raised their customers’ standard of living, by wanting to make a profit for themselves.
This is the Service Paradox…
When I talk to folks who are not wealthy, who are not entrepreneurs, about what it takes to grow wealthy, they inevitably share the Disney fairy tale version…
You grow wealthy by being evil and corrupt.
And I won’t deny that some folks have growth wealthy by being corrupt, or have grown corrupt as they’ve sought to protect the wealth they’ve built. But I will argue that they’re the exception to the rule — an exception the media is more than ready to highlight at any hint it might make a good story.
I also know countless entrepreneurs who’ve built huge businesses, whose personal incomes are in the 7- and 8- figure range. Probably at least a couple who have even reached higher levels than that.
And what I’ve found is a couple things.
First, they were able to do this because they rejected the “wealth is evil” fable so much of society is happy to believe.
Second, they actually were able to build this wealth and income when they focused on service.
You are able to serve yourself best when you serve others first…
By building a business that serves others in some way AND makes a profit, you’re able to do good in the world while also doing well for yourself.
You’re able to build wealth while improving the lives of your customers.
This is the irony of it. Most of the world struggles with wealth because they believe that wealth will somehow corrupt their soul.
Even while there are so many great examples of incredible people who built their own personal wealth by being… Well… Incredible people.
About that mis-quoted Bible verse…
It’s 1 Timothy, 6:10. In the King James Version, it reads, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Well, first off there’s a very important difference between saying, “money is the root of all evil,” and “the love of money is the root of all evil.”
In every emotion is its equal and opposite counterpart. As much as love of money is the root of all evil, the hate of money is equally disastrous.
Money itself isn’t presented as good nor evil. And it is not.
It’s attachment to money — expressed in both love and hate — that is the root of corruption, wars, murder, coercion and robbery, and worse. Whether you love or hate money, you covet after it, which is the issue raised in the second half of the verse.
There is as much evil that has come from the professed hate of money as there is that’s come from the love of it.
Money is neutral. Accumulating it is a good thing, insomuch as it frees you from want, and helps you do good things in the world. There is nothing wrong with the money itself.
And in fact, you can do far more good in the world if you have tremendous resources than if you have none. You can impact so many more lives by accumulating money than you can by shunning it. Just take a look at how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are spending the two largest fortunes every accumulated by an individual.
When it all comes down to it…
Money is money. Nothing more, nothing less.
Attachment to it — either love or hate — will be toxic in your mind, and your ability to attract it to you.
It’s good to accumulate, and you should try to do as much accumulation of wealth as possible.
One hint: don’t spend as much as you make. Something I heard recently is that in a growing business, you should always live on last year’s income.
And the way you’re going to accumulate more money — once you’ve gotten over the head-trash that attributes excessive positive or negative baggage to money — is by finding a way to enrich and lift up the lives of those around you.
That’s it for today.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets