When you know you have money to buy things, you don’t have to wonder if there’s another way to get them. At first, it’s super comfortable, but after a while it handicaps us. Because there’s always a time when you start to think that if you don’t have the money, you can’t do anything. All of a sudden, you become super dependent. You lock yourself in a golden cage and you start to be anxious about losing it. In addition, we are starting to limit ourselves and consider certain things inaccessible – simply because we can’t afford to buy them. And yet, if we had not been so dependent on the idea that only money rules the world, we would have discovered that there are other ways to get things and that nothing is completely inaccessible.

Here are the 7 truths I learned about money

1. Detachment of money makes us more independent

Sometimes we become dependent on people who “distribute” money to us. That can be our job. We may dream of changing it, but since there is a risk that our income can decline, we are afraid of taking decision. We have become accustomed to our standard of living and we can no longer imagine changing it. It could be our parents – I know people who are in their 40s and cannot get away from their parents (even if their “survival” or the survival of their couple demands it) – because the parents are rich. They “boost” their bank accounts from time to time, thereby giving themselves the right to intervene in the lives of their “children”.
As long as our ego demands a super high standard of living and maintaining that level really requires a lot of money, we will never be independent and completely free in our decisions.

2. Spending money to spend time with people can drive us apart

It seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? It’s especially when we have money that we go out with friends. We have the opportunity to experience together “strong” and “unforgettable” sensations. We must not forget, however, that we share experiences for which we pay together. But sometimes a friend can’t follow us. And since the only way to spend time together is to pay for it (restaurant, concert, trip), it can be difficult to know how to adapt to this new situation. And often we end up getting apart from the friend who has a more limited budget.
I also know many parents who think they have to offer their children unforgettable (expensive) experiences. This means that instead of spending time with their children – they spend all their time at work (often they take the extra tasks) while believing that a “unforgettable” day will replace 1 month of absence .

My experience of living a week without spending money

3. It is important to have experiences free of charge

This is the continuation of the previous point. No matter how much you earn. No matter if you can afford suites in 5-star hotels. Sleeping in a tent or mountain hut from time to time allows us to feel closer to reality. Spending time doing things that don’t involve spending money welds friendship, brings people together. Above all, we must learn to choose friends who can do the same. Even better – we have to choose friends because we like to spend time with them, no matter what we do and no matter what their (and our) financial means are.
And if we have children – we must teach them that things that cost nothing but our energy, time and love are more valuable than anything we can buy.

4. Goodness and generosity are more powerful than money

Very often, when we start to get used to the fact that everything can be bought, we lose the link with our «human» side. We forget to be generous to people, because there’s a terrible voice telling us we don’t “need” them, because we can buy everything. And it’s a way to a lonely, barren life. When I say “generosity”, I mean resources that can’t be seen – like giving of one’s time, knowledge, even a smile or pleasant words. The unexpected “side effects” that result from our benevolence are often while better than personal satisfaction.

(Ah, and to people who dare to tell me that generosity is a sign of naivety – I would tell them that thanks to millions of “naive” people we have Wikipedia, free software and access to a lot of drugs.)

5. Money doesn’t manage all our social relationships

In sociology, we know the rule of giving and counter-giving, which is the most fundamental social agreement that exists in all human cultures. In every culture, if someone does something for us, we feel “indebted” and the day we have the opportunity to thank them or do something for them – we do it without question. Very often, it is completely unconscious. It is as if an act, a “gift” binds us to the person with an invisible bond that we keep until we can make a counter-donation. It’s a basic social contract that makes us human. But be careful, I’m not telling you to become Machiavellian. I am not telling you to become “friends” with influential people just to benefit from their knowledge and connections. I’m talking about becoming a good person and not expecting anything in return… Spoiler: the more the act of giving becomes natural and unconscious, the less we expect in return, the more we are rewarded;). So it goes back to the previous point: being a truly caring and generous person allows access to many things in life.

6. It doesn’t hurt to ask

I know it’s hard to ask for help. Frankly, I still don’t know how to do it. However, I learned to barter. Already, when I was working as a journalist in daily newspaper and when I needed tickets for a festival, for example, I went to the culture section and I said: “Okay, I need a free pass! What do you want me to do in return?” In fact, people are super happy when you offer them exchange proposals. Sometimes they really need help and sometimes they don’t dare ask. Afterwards, I started to detect what people needed and offered them deals. In Paris, a friend helped me prepare the outline of my research project – when I arrived, my French was pretty basic. She had two young children and I knew she was often tired. Also, I offered her a few hours of babysitting per week so she could enjoy the quiet and help me a little in return. Of course, I had to do a lot more hours of work, but it didn’t matter, because her help was invaluable to me.

7. Money is a means, not a goal

The most important part is to remember that money should be a “vehicle” to reach the destination, not the destination itself. Do you remember your first driving lessons? The instructor probably said to you, “Don’t focus on the pole, because instead of passing by, you’re going to go right into it.” And it’s the same with money – if we focus too much on money – our world will just turn around them. And instead of winning them, it’ll feel like they’re slipping through our fingers. It’s like the driving lesson – you have to look at the road and not the pole – and you’re going to be able to go far without having accidents.

If you know other truths about money – feel free to share your knowledge in the comments.

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This post is also available in: French