Life coach and entrepreneur, Tony Robbins, gives his advice for achieving long-term financial success.
"Money is a good servant but a bad master." –Sir Francis Bacon
Few other words have the power of money to provoke such extreme human emotions.
A lot of us refuse to even talk about money. Like religion, sex, or politics, the topic is taboo at the dinner table and often off-limits in the workplace. We might discuss wealth in polite company, but money is explicit. It's raw. It's garish. It's intensely personal and highly charged. It can make people feel guilty when they have it–or ashamed when they don't.
But what does it really mean?
For some of us, money is vital and crucial but not paramount. It's simply a tool, a source of power used in service of others and a life well lived. Others are consumed with such a hunger for money that it destroys them and everyone around them. Some are even willing to give up things that are far more valuable to get it: their health, their time, their family, their self-worth, and, in some cases, even their integrity.
At its core, money is about power.
We've all seen how money can have the power to create or the power to destroy. It can fund a dream or start a war. You can provide money as a gift or wield it as a weapon. It can be used as an expression of your spirit, your creativity, your ideas–or your frustration, your anger, your hate. It can be used to influence governments and individuals. Some marry for it–and then find out its real price.
But we all know that on some level it's an illusion. Money isn't even gold or paper today, it's zeros and ones in banking computers. What is it? It's like a shape-shifter or a canvas, assuming whatever meaning or emotion we project on it.
In the end, money isn't what we're after … is it? What we're really after are the feelings, the emotions, we think money can create:
that feeling of empowerment,
of helping those we love and those in need,
of having a choice, and
of feeling alive.
Money is certainly one of the ways we can turn the dreams we have into the reality we live.
But even if money is just a perception–an abstract concept–it doesn't feel that way if you don't have enough of it! And one thing is for sure: You either use it, or it uses you. You either master money, or, on some level, money masters you.
How you deal with money reflects how you deal with power. Is it an affliction or a blessing? A game or a burden?
The best way to change your life is to find people who've already achieved what you want and then model their behavior. Want to master your finances? Find a financial master and imitate how he or she deals with money, and you will have found a pathway to power.
I can tell you right now, I have interviewed many of the wealthiest people in the world, and most of them do think of money as a game. Why else would anyone work 10 or 12 hours a day after they've made billions of dollars? And remember, not all games are frivolous. Games are a reflection of life. Some people sit on the sidelines, and some play to win. How do you play? I want to remind you, this is a game that you and your family can't afford to lose.
How would you feel if you didn't have to worry about going to an office every morning, or paying the bills, or funding your retirement? What would it be like to live your life on your own terms? What would it mean to know you had the opportunity to start your own business, or that you could afford to buy a home for your parents and send your kids to college, or have the freedom to travel the world?
How would you live your life if you could wake up each day knowing there was enough money coming in to cover not only your basic needs but also your goals and dreams?
The truth is, a lot of us would keep working, because that's the way we're wired. But we'd do it from a place of joy and abundance. Our work would continue, but the rat race would end. We'd work because we want to, not because we have to.
That's financial freedom.
But is it a pipe dream? Is it really possible for the average person–more importantly, for you–to make this dream a reality?
Whether you want to live like the 1 percent or just have the peace of mind of knowing that you won't outlive your savings, the truth is you can always find a way to make the money you need. How? The secret to wealth is simple: Find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more. And you will have the opportunity to earn more–whether you own the best food truck in Austin, Texas, or you're the top salesperson at your company or even the founder of Instagram.