In the previous post entitled On Smaller Firms: Low Pay, But High Value? (Q&A#5), I first mentioned the issue of money in the architectural profession. In line with this, today, I thought I’d do a short, principle-based post on my position on wealth and getting rich.
I used to think money was evil.
Growing up, I developed into a bit of a societal-conscious little kid. I gravitated towards the spectrum of geek-dom; I’d watch news whilst my peers watched Gossip Girl; i’d read about human trafficking and geopolitics while my best friends read about cars and airsoft guns. Due to these habits, I ended up having a large soft spot for the less-fortunate and voiceless.
On the other end, I was enrolled in a top private school in the country’s capital. I was also personally exposed to the highly exuberant lifestyles of some of the Filipino Super-Elite. While I had many rich acquaintances who lived with societal consciousness, there were a number who really just lived large, spoiled, and insensitive to the plight of the poor.
Witnessing personally this enormous dichotomy, for a large part of my life, I was repulsed by the thought of being very wealthy.
My parents knew very well my intent to “help people” in my older years. I distinctly remember telling them “Mom, dad, I don’t want to be rich when I grow up. I want just enough money. I think wealth is evil“.
Related post: As Promised: My Personal Life-Plan at Age 23.
In my mind, I thought being rich was the largest disservice, largest slap to the face to our less-fortunate brothers and sisters.
My perception changed.
My parents told me something then, something that I discovered as true more and more, as I grew older and uncovered the vast relationships society works in:
“Aldo, if you’re not wealthy, how can you help the people you want to help?”
And now, I know that money isn’t evil.
In fact, I believe there are only three manifestations of evil when it comes to wealth, as shown in our world today:
1. Having no wealth
2. Earning your wealth maliciously
3. Using your wealth selfishly
Think about it.
Wealth is power. Wealth gives you a voice. Wealth gives you security. It’s all a matter of how you get your wealth, and what you choose to do with it.
In the hands of a selfish person, wealth is selfish. In the hands of a good person, wealth is good. But a good person without wealth won’t have the stability or influence to make far reaching ripples in his or her initiatives.
Think of Bill Gates and a middle-class but well-intentioned Joe on the street. Sure, both are good-natured enough to want to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged, but who among them is really capable and equipped to do just that?
If you really want to help people, you want to be sure you’re in a place where you don’t need to worry about your needs, so you can focus on your meaningful activities.
If you really want to help people, you’ll make it a point to use your wealth to add credibility and influence in your good endeavors.
Not to mention, garnering wealth the right way takes great discipline and builds tremendous character.
Again, it’s a case of the process being just as important as the end goal. Much like all things, we are given the choice to take the higher or lower path. All it takes is shifting your mindset, learning, planning, and committing.
So get wealthy.
Strive to be the good person that does good things with his money, while giving his future family a secure and stable future.
Do it the right way. And use it to make yourself and others happier and more fulfilled.
Let’s do this.