Those who realize that money is nothing but an intermediary between a person and what he or she actually wants no longer fear running out of it.
Founders of startups are some of the most cash-obsessed groups of people on the planet. Frequently, they are also some of the most cash-starved. They become cash-obsessed people because they run into this misunderstood truth:
It takes money to make money.
– Sol Luckman
I believe that this quote is surely true, but I also believe it is misinterpreted by almost all who hear it. The truth is that money means different things to different people. Luckily, the definition of money might be the most subjective that humanity has ever coined in language.
I ask you, what is your native currency? What does money actually mean to you? Is it security, perhaps insurance against homelessness? Is it future prestige, to store future envy of your friends? Is it a thrill of saying to yourself “you can have that, you’ve earned it?” Is it a defense against sickness or curable suffering? Is it the freedom to travel the world or to live your life in an alternate way? Is it insurance against becoming dependant on your children in old age?
For myself, when I look at money, I see a number of things. I see access to room and board, health insurance and access to healthcare. I see an increasingly diverse and growing collection of assets and thus economic freedom. I see the ability to provide for my family and others in need. I see the potential to employ massive amounts of people in creating more efficient uses for the finite but abundant resources of this world. I see the potential for leading others into choosing the path of financial freedom and true wealth. All of these things make up my personal native currency.
When you can begin to understand what money means to others you realize that money is merely the mask we use to hide our true desires from each other. Can you provide others with what they really want directly instead of relying on money to get it for them? Once you do, you’re now paying others in their native currency. They will reciprocate with time, money, or whatever else they have to offer.
So how do you do that? For me, if you provide me with a sufficiently significant personal introduction to someone I wish to add to my network, you might perhaps secure an hour or day of my time. A meaningful referral for my business can win you even more in kind. Living space in the basement suite of your house in a high-rent area can provide quite an effective retainer’s claim for a number my working hours per month. Providing access to a respected but overly busy mentor is worth a great deal to me. Directly adding to my cache of assets is, to me, even preferable to cash. Each one of these things is recognized by me as legal tender, and yet none truly require cash.
Strive to identify the native currencies for those you wish to interact with. I can promise you this – it’s never dollars. Then, arrange to fill those deeper needs directly and you will secure for yourself a more willing hand than cash can ever purchase.