Creating wealth versus making money

September 25, 2010 at 7:55 am Leave a comment

As I contemplate the virtues of going to see Oliver Stone’s new Wall Street movie, I’m reminded of a teacher of mine who declared that there’s a difference between creating wealth and making money. Greed isn’t good but neither is blind altruism. If untempered self-interest leads to crooked business dealings, then we also need to acknowledge that continual self-effacement leads to loss of respect and loss of influence. And without influence we can achieve nothing.

What do I mean by influence? I mean knowing ourselves so well that we are honest about our strengths and weaknesses and live accordingly. I mean walking into a room of people and feeling comfortable in your skin, knowing that others respect you even if they don’t necessarily like you.

In practical terms, influence means committing to creating wealth each day rather than simply making money. Making money is about consuming whatever we want without regard for others. It may satisfy us in the short term, like a well-crafted cigar, but if we inhale too much of it, we will get sick.

Creating wealth, on the other hand, is about realizing a fundamental truth: that real wealth is wealth that shares itself. It’s wealth that recognizes that relationships are the only true currency in our world that means anything at all.

What kind of relationships do you have with those around you?

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