For far too long, and far too often, I have made decisions based on money, or the lack of it. How much will it cost? Can I afford it? Will it appreciate or depreciate? Can I find it for less? Do you accept Visa? Can I get it used? Free? Should I even bother?
Why don’t I ever have enough?
What am I doing wrong?
My first job was delivering newspapers in my apartment building at Don Mills and Eglinton, when I was thirteen years old. I was very ambitious. I was extremely efficient. I was TDG. (That Damn Good).
I delivered the Toronto Sun, the Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star, every weekend. I worked hard. I developed a system. There were never any complaints. Everyone loved me, but I barely made any money.
I realize today what a great lesson was hidden in this experience, but I didn’t come to understand it until today.
When I collected the money, by going door to door, not everyone was home. Sometimes they were, because I saw moving shadows through the peephole, but they pretended to be away.
I always managed to collect just enough money to cover the cost of the newspapers and hand it over to my supervisor, but I rarely collected anything for me.
I realize today where I went wrong. I didn’t pursue my customers like I should have. That relentless repetition, the daily routine, it is the key to success in any endeavour.
Relentless persistence. The art of the daily grind.
I don’t blame myself. After all, what is a shy kid from Poland supposed to know, and how is he to learn anything when he doesn’t speak English and has no extended family or friends to guide him. There was no one to take him under their wing. No one to teach him about money.
It seems that every day, with tiresome effort, I struggle to earn a living.
Over the years, long ago, I have traded my paper route for credit card debt. In a very similar fashion, I always have enough money to pay for the privilege of being in debt, but never enough, to get out, or to be able to live the life I desire.
I have a deep love and hate relationship with money.
I’m slowly getting a divorce.
Not a divorce from money. A divorce from my relationship with money.
I have not been a good partner over the years. It is time to change my mindset.
I am only at the beginning of this journey. So far, I only managed to secure myself a ferocious lawyer. She is really good. Damn good. Her name is Jen Sincero and she’s a real badass.
They say discovery is the first step.
But they never tell you about the next step.
Maybe writing is mine.
They say the root of all evil is the love of money. Not exactly.
They are right in a sense, but the meaning of the actual words love and money are the secret to unravelling this riddle. A riddle that keeps so many of us in a prison of our own making.
There is a reason why bank$ have the be$t corner locationS in every city and town. There i$ a rea$on they count their money in billion$. They never declare a lo$$.
They never will. How could you when you have an infinite multitude of committed customers. Or perhaps it is more appropriate to call them users. Degenerate junkies?
It’s not the bank’s fault. It isn’t.
It is my mindset.
Over the years, I undersold, misunderstood, and dishonoured my own talent and self-worth. I chose to be just good enough, to mind my business, and rejoice over so very little. I had no desire to make too much money because the love of money was evil. I didn’t want to steal from everyone else.
I realize today that money is just a story.
It really is.
There are many super generous rich people in the world, and there are more than a few of them who are super cheap. They import granite countertops from a little town in Italy, but tip next to nothing at a fancy restaurant.
On the other hand, there is a multitude lot of generous poor people, and more than enough cheap deadbeats. Even with very little to their name, the poor share what little they have, while their twin counterparts take as much as they can, horde it, without gratitude, knowing that will never attempt to give anything back.
Money is just a story.
The Mona Lisa is so unbelievably expensive (priceless), because it makes it impossible for any wealthy individual to ever own the painting. There would be no profit in it for them, and therefor it joyfully belongs to everyone.
Money holds no value. You and I, give it meaning.
This is how it was in Poland.
No one had any food in their fridge. Never enough for themselves, and certainly never enough to share. Often, each family had more than a few leftover food stamps. It is hard to cash in when the shelves are empty.
I would sometimes get invited to spend an evening at a friend’s house, and I can still remember my mother’s stern but whispered lectures, about the divine duty of refusal. If I was offered anything to eat, I had to refuse it at least three times. If there was a fourth invitation, I had my mother’s blessing to accept and enjoy, because at that point, it would be rude and insulting not to accept.
Three times. That was the magic number.
I still do it today. I am deeply entrenched in my own story.
I find myself here, at the beginning of a new journey. I imagine myself one day, not too far in the future, writing a post, just like this, in my very own commercial studio. I will never get there, if my divorce doesn’t go through and I don’t conquer my own mindset.
I need to leave my distorted relationship with money. I need to change the story.
I need to write a new script.
I need to ask, once I have it, how much will I give away?