It is a story we all know well, when man first came into existence, he created families and the families started to multiply and create communities. As communities emerged and numbers grew, we formed cities and it was here that we started to differentiate classes of society based on skill level and assets.
The history of money spans thousands of years and in the beginning money had no meaning, in fact there was no money, but rather an exchange of services or goods. As the population grew and part of a cow, or a whole cow, became an inefficient means of exchange, as did shells, barley and beads, we created coins which then turned into paper which then turned into plastic and today exchange can often not be seen at all and occur at the speed of light.
Along the way people have placed different ideas and moral issues on money, thus creating a psychological and a social dimension to it. The reality is however; it is still simply a means of exchange for the value one-person places on something another person provides. This is of course at the base level of exchange but the reality is, as the numbers get bigger the logic remains the same. There is no mystery to it yet we often make the topic of money and wealth building more confusing then it needs to be.
When we face an economic crisis as a global community and culture provides a great platform for change and education. History has taught us that out of the ashes rise great opportunities and that any challenge can be transformed when we know how to ask a new set of questions.
The answers to these questions would ultimately take us back to the beginning. To the point where we recognize money is a man made commodity and all we ever need to know about it and the ability to make more of it, is found in the stories of the past.
If you were to examine the study of economics, and then compare that to the study of ecosystems, and simply change the language, you would find that they are identical.
Every culture is an ecosystem and it is those cultures that have mastered wealth building and economics that have evolved forward in history. While on the contrary, those who have not, exist in a completely different world altogether where survival itself is a daily priority.
A culture is ultimately the sum of the individuals that exist within it. And in order for a culture to master wealth building, it is essential that this start on the level of the individual.
So where does one start on the road to wealth?
There's a book that came out in 1895 called ‘The Book of Wealth¹ written by Hubert Howe Bancroft (1832 - 1918).
Bancroft was a publisher and historian who devoted most of his life to researching and writing history books and owned one of the largest collections of historical books in the USA.
With only an estimated 900 copies in print, The Book of Wealth is investigative exploration of the greatest wealth that's ever existed on planet earth, all the way back to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks and Romans. Where ever and whenever great wealth was ever accumulated by an individual, an institution or an organization, it was outlined in this 10 volume set, century by century, what they did and how they created wealth.
It showed very clearly that the two greatest driving forces of the human being is a spiritual quest and a material quest. Perseverance was also another lesson to be told. In other words based upon the experiences of the past, you'd be wise to make your spiritual life a business and your business life a spiritual experience.
While this comment will cause many to raise an eyebrow and potentially shake their head, let me bring it down to earth a little more. It is not suggested you start a Proprietary Limited Religion. Instead you merely look for the purpose behind your every day actions and your reasons for making money in the first place.
A company mission statement is not intended to be nice words framed on the wall. It is here that the purpose for the company¹s existence is to be found. Going back to the beginning this is the value it is able to offer in exchange for money. When the purpose is clear, the company and the individuals within it will ultimately find a way to navigate through the ups and downs that will naturally occur in life. If there is no purpose or value there is no company and no money. This applies whether we are in the midst of an economic crisis or economic boom and in many cases it is the reason why we find ourselves in a crisis in the beginning.
This also applies to the individual. When there is a purpose and something of value to offer, making money will come naturally. Accumulating it is another story altogether however first thing comes first.
A challenging financial time calms our unrealistic fantasies about life; it quells our need for instant gratification and forces us to be introspective about what we really truly want out of life and once again our purpose for living.
So if you feel challenged by economics, according to those lessons of the past, you might want to use the opportunity to ask the questions of how we can make the most of new beginnings and what possibilities are ahead. The meaning of life, the meaning of money, is ultimately determined by the meaning we place on it ourselves.