As you know from reading chapter one of Get-it-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, Living on Purpose, I consider productivity to be getting whatever you want as quickly and easily as possible. Many of us think money is what we want, and having it will make us happy. Let’s look at some folks who finally “made it.”

Did you see this New York Times article about miserable millionaires who live in fear, guilt, and desperation, despite being rich enough to retire? It reminds me of a very wealthy friend whose bookshelf contained “Wealth Without Guilt.” I offered her a special coaching session. We’d eliminate hey guilt completely, and I’d charge her a special rate that would also take care of the wealth as well (better play it safe, just in case the guilt comes back).

Here are some of the issues plaguing our poor, pathetic millionaires:

  • I’m worthless unless I’m among the riches.
  • I’m nobody unless I’m richer.
  • I just need more.
  • I don’t deserve it.
  • I need enough (“enough” means “just a little more”).
  • I need to keep up with the Jonses (or the Cessna-owning venture capitalist next door).

We call these “junko beliefs.” It’s not surprising people have these beliefs; we all have screwy beliefs. I’ve had some doozies. What’s amazing is they know they’re screwed up (they even let the Times trumpet it to the world), and they don’t bother to do anything about it. Instead, they just work harder.

These retired folk could spend their time or money making a positive difference in the world. They could live their lives fully. They could help the less fortunate. They could teach kids to succeed. But no, instead, they march into their grey little cubicles and just hoard more and more money. Thus they turn their suspicions into self-fulfilling prophecies: for societal purposes, they are worthless. They are nobody. And they don’t deserve it.

But look closely. None of these beliefs even involve money; money’s just a proxy for other things. They’re about self-esteem, fulfillment, and how people relate to themselves and society. They want to feel valued by society? They should do something valuable to society. They want to feel valued by themselves? They have to do that; no one else can do that  for them. If they don’t know how, there are people who can teach them(*).

There’s only one good reason to stay at a job when you’re rich: because you love the work. Otherwise, go find something you love and do that. For goodness’ sake, what else is life for?

And if you aren’t rich, also consider why you’re working. Are you making enough that sound financial analysis says you’ll meet your goals? If so, then at least you’re on a path. But if not, consider finding a job you enjoy, even if it won’t make you rich. Poor and miserable sucks. If you’re going to be poor, at least be poor and happy.

(*) For example, me. I can teach them to value themselves. I’m expensive, but they can afford me.

Beliefs destroy success: miserable Silicon Valley …

read time: 2 min