Monday, August 27, 2007

Opportunity vs. Money

"I never understand the idea of limited scarcity of money."
I Will Teach You to Be Rich

In a previous post, I talked about living with the mind-set of "scarcity of money." Let's expand on that further and look at how we give up opportunity for money, when in fact, it should be the other way around. We should be giving up money for opportunities. But for some strange reason, we think that money is more valuable. Why?

Is it because we use money every day? Basically, money affords us the things we like, when we have money, we have options . . . some would say we have guarantees.

If I have money it's a guarantee that I can do this or that. But is it? Is it a guarantee?

We can lose money, money can be stolen from us, money can lose its value. People can change their price on objects we want and we can find that we "don't" have the guarantee we thought. The IRS can tax our money, banks can place "fees" on our money, governments can regulate how quickly we can get our money (Ever try to pull out over $20,000 from your bank account? It's not as easy as you think.) No, having money is not a guarantee.

But opportunity, it's so iffy. It feels like a 50/50 chance that you will be successful. Yeah, but when opportunities do bear fruit, when it is successful, opportunities afford us much bigger rewards than mere cash ever could.

So, do we disregard opportunity because we deal with money on a daily basis and are thus much more familiar with it? No, like money, the common man deals with opportunity and gain from opportunity just as much. But, for some reason banking on opportunities just feels like . . . a gamble.

Why? Why does opportunity feel like such a gamble?

Maybe because opportunity is a concept. It's not concrete. You can't hold it in your hands, you can't manufacture it . . . like money. Your opportunity (for the most part) is yours and no one else's. You can't usually trade an opportunity for something else you want -- not as easily as you can with money. Other people can not share the value of your opportunity. The advantages of an opportunity may not be clear to someone else; but everyone understands what they can do with $10,000. See?

And then there is the possibility of failure. Opportunities often produce the result of failure, and in this culture "failure" is worse than losing money. If we had a healthy view of failure, I think we could more easily see the problem with trading money for opportunity. Essentially, we should view failure as a learning process. We should expect failure and celebrate the opportunity to learn from that failure. In our minds, failure should an inevitable thing that does not stop us from trying again and this time getting it right with a large amount of success.

So, here's the question -- we know that those with wealth value opportunities over cold-hard cash. So, if we were more open to gaining more opportunities than cash, would the globs of dollars and the abundance of wealth soon follow?

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