Money: A Cautionary Tale
Money is, in many ways, a beautiful thing. When you have more of it, you free yourself from the drudgery of work and have more opportunities to live a life of fun and freedom. It is also an essential tool for society at large to decide where to direct resources. Without prices, we’d have no idea how much effort to put into producing particular products. And nobody would have a clue what anything was worth.
Money, though, can have a dark side. Take the example of a midwest executive called Pedro.
Pedro’s life had humble beginnings. Like most people, he had to take whatever work he could get to make ends meet. Eventually, he became very good at his job and progressed up the ranks in his company. Finally, he became an executive and gained massive economic power over dozens of employees. His salary shot through the roof, and he quickly became a member of the millionaire’s club.
Pedro never displayed any dark-side personality traits before he became wealthy. He was a humble man, just looking to get by. But when he realized his earning potential, his moral and ethical standards seemed to change. After a while, he started to believe that his wealth meant that other people should treat him differently. He began to expect awe and praise from others. He also started to get very angry whenever anyone met somebody else’s needs instead of his.
Eventually, his attitudes deteriorated further. Even though he started in life poor like most people, he began to take a strong dislike of people who didn’t have any money. Eventually, he publicly rebuked them, asking them what was wrong with them and why they weren’t putting in the effort.
His views of people with less money started getting increasingly aggressive. Anyone who had not amassed a sizable fortune just wasn’t a worthy human being. They weren’t creating value in his view – and they should.
Pedro, though, was suffering. It didn’t seem to matter how much money he made; it wasn’t enough. He felt a temporary dopamine hit whenever he got a big pile of cash in his bank account, but it was always fleeting. He began to swing through cycles of depression and euphoria. It wasn’t pleasant.
Eventually, Pedro found himself in trouble with the law. His desire for more money had caused him to break the rules, and he needed a criminal defense attorney. Eventually, money became a key driver in the breakdown of his marriage and relationship with his children. Everyone became a victim of his self-obsession and ego.
Pedro’s tale is a cautionary one. Money is nice to have, but as a wise sage once said: a person should be wealthy in their heads, not in their heart.
Money doesn’t have to change us, but sometimes it can if we haven’t understood the dark side of our personalities. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a position of economic power, and it can go to our heads. Money is a wonderful thing, but it can change who we are, and none of us want that.