In Week Sixteen of The Master Key System, Charles F. Haanel wrote these lines.
1. Wealth is a product of labor. Capital is an effect, not a cause; a servant, not a master; a means, not an end.
All wealth, be it money or otherwise, is an end-result. It is not the cause of success — and by all means it should not be the master.
2. The most commonly accepted definition of wealth is that it consists of all useful and agreeable things which possess exchange value. It is this exchange value which is the predominant characteristic of wealth.
Wealth is contingent upon its exchange value. What we call worthless is that which cannot be given away; what we refer to as wealth, we would trade much for.
3. When we consider the small addition made by wealth to the happiness of the possessor we find that the true value consists not in its utility but in its exchange value.
Wealth is not dependent upon ownership, rather on what we get in exchange for it.
4. This exchange value makes it a medium for securing the things of real value whereby our ideals may be realized.
Money — and other mediums of trade — are only as good as they help us achieve our goals.
5. Wealth should then never be desired as an end, but simply as a means of accomplishing an end. Success is contingent upon a higher ideal than the mere accumulation of riches, and he who aspires to such success must formulate an ideal for which he is willing to strive.
Look beyond the money. Look beyond the bottom line. Rather, look at what you are doing and at what you are accomplishing.
6. With such an ideal in mind, the ways and means can and will be provided, but the mistake must not be made of substituting the means for the end. There must be a definite fixed purpose — an ideal.
To quote Tony Robbins, “You don’t lack resources, you lack resourcefulness.” When you have a definite goal in mind and a clear plan to accomplish it, believe me, getting the money will be the least of your worries.
Throughout all these lines, Mr. Haanel makes the point about wealth — or making money — that most people miss: that money in and of itself is a terrible end. Money (or wealth) is merely a means. Money is the means for accomplishing goals — personal goals, financial goals, business goals.
And, as an addendum to this, the people who make the most money have a greater goal in mind.
In The Master Key Workbook, I included an interview with the world-famous entrepreneur and author Guy Kawasaki. Here is what Mr. Kawasaki said about money and business –
Venture capitalist and Forbes columnist Guy Kawasaki was recently interviewed about his book, The Art of the Start. Here is a snippet from that interview.
PAUL MAIDMENT: Guy, you have a Top Five list of things an entrepreneur must accomplish. At the top of that list is Make Meaning. What does that mean, and why is it so important?
GUY KAWASAKI: It means that if you start a company to “make money” then you’ll probably fail. Great companies start because the founders want to change the world … not make a fast buck. Call me a romantic, but I think entrepreneurs should try to change the world. This comes from working at Apple … old habits die hard.
MAIDMENT: Is there ever a case in which ‘making yourself rich’ constitutes making meaning?
KAWASAKI: Yes, absolutely. But that seems like an insipid reason to start a company. However, if you make meaning, you’ll probably make money. If you make money, you might not make meaning. At the end of one’s life, hopefully you’ve done more than simply make money.
Making money is important. It’s important to us personally (we all have to eat!) as well as in business (we all have to meet payroll). The point with all of this — with what Haanel wrote and with what Mr. Kawasaki is saying here — is that we must look beyond this.
The vision — the grand goal — is more important.
Let’s say a person wants nothing more than to have the time to provide well for his new son. He works assiduously at making money. He works so much, in fact, that he doesn’t spend any time with his son. Yes, he provides all the comforts that money can provide, but he doesn’t provide the things that count — being there for him, attending his games, and all the other times where lasting memories are made. Before he knows it, his son is grown. He provided well, but did he provide everything as he had in mind? Did he focus so much on money that he lost sight of the reason he was making so much and working so hard?
The same situations arise in business as well. Should all decisions be made based solely on the bottom line? Should corners be cut in order to save a few cents per unit?
These can be tough decisions.
But, with insight and wisdom and, as we’ll see, with controlling our thoughts so that we keep our grand goal in mind, we’ll be better equipped to navigate these problems when they arise.
First, how does one create these big, lofty goals? From Week Sixteen –
8. The power to create depends entirely upon spiritual power. There are three steps: Idealization, visualization, and materialization. Every captain of industry depends upon this power exclusively. In an article in Everybody’s Magazine, Henry M. Flagler, the Standard Oil multimillionaire, admitted that the secret of his success was his power to see a thing in its completeness. The following conversation with the reporter shows his power of idealization, concentration, and visualization — all spiritual powers:
9. “Did you actually vision to yourself the whole thing? I mean, did you, or could you, really close your eyes and see the tracks? And the trains running? And hear the whistles blowing? Did you go as far as that?”
“Yes.” “How clearly?” “Very clearly.”
Mr. Haanel adds in point 11:
11. The successful business man is more often than not an idealist and is ever striving for higher and higher standards. The subtle forces of thought as they crystallize in our daily moods is what constitutes life.
This may be the first time that you are hearing a business man referred to as an “idealist.” It is true, though. The best example can probably come from the computer industry — and it may be the very reason we get angry at the people in that industry so often!
You’re well aware that as soon as you get your brand new, expensive computer, as soon as you get it home, it’s practically obsolete. It won’t even be next year before the new line is released and it’s faster and better than what you just bought. It generally makes us quite angry. But if we look beyond our anger (and I am using that word loosely), we’ll see that it is a perfect example of what Mr. Haanel wrote. The way things improve in our technology, the way those changes happen so quickly that we can barely stay abreast, is a showcase of these computer business people — the technologists and engineers and visionaries — and their reaching for new levels of excellence — of “higher and higher standards.” It can always be faster, smaller, more functional, more convenient, more … Whatever!
Perfection may never be realized, but that doesn’t stop the pursuit.
Goals are set and goals are achieved — and money is made.
Think big thoughts.
Aim for the ideal.
And listen to what Messrs. Haanel and Kawasaki wrote and said.
Because you will be glad that you did!
Learn more because every little bit counts big time!