Money is only the side effect of doing something right.
If you set yourself the goal to create the most beautiful paintings in the world, you could still remain very poor. However, your paintings could also go the way of Van Gogh’s sunflowers and end up being sold for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Running after money is not the same as producing a service or a product that other people would want and for which they would be willing to pay. Running after money is not the same as doing something right. Therefore, the more time you spend on seeking money — instead of doing something right — the less money you will make.
The number one trap of poverty is that poor people may end up thinking only of money. A poor person will never make it out of his poverty if he does that. It is really difficult to get the message across to poor people that it may be their very thirst for money that is keeping them poor.
You need money so that you can do what you want
If you ask people what they would do if they won the lottery, they will often say: I will finally be able to do what I want.
You do not need to win the lottery in order to do what you want. You only need to be good enough at what you like doing, so that your hobby funds itself. The secret is usually to practice enough: to do — what you like doing — a lot. Therefore, in order to do what you like, you just need to do it. At some point you will hopefully have reached the proficiency required to be able to live of it. It is quite realistic that you will reach that point, because you will probably be willing to do what it takes to get there. You also no longer need to win the lottery, because you will already be doing what you like doing.
In other words, the number two trap of poverty is that poor people want to win the lottery. Poverty is often caused by the wrong outlook on life. The desire to win the lottery is a tell-tale sign of a mentality that may very well turn into a race to the bottom.
What can you do with money?
You could eat more, but eating too much is a problem. You could consume more of anything, but the increased consumption of anything will invariably turn into a problem. The marginal utility of each product or service decreases to the point where it becomes negative. In other words, there is a maximum total consumption and maximum total utility that you could ever reach by consuming more. Beyond that point, money does not have additional utility.
The consumerist society will teach you to increase your maximum total consumption by giving you a false sense of increased utility. As a result, you will need more money. But then again, you can easily educate yourself to go the opposite way and systematically start spending less. You can easily see that what people spend their money on, is very often useless. In fact, these people often know that they are not achieving their goals by spending more money. People who have substantially less money than I do, will still buy things that I would never buy — not because I cannot afford them, but because they look useless to me. Quite often, the spending habits of the poor look incredibly dumb.
Especially the poor are easy to convince that they need more money. If nobody talked them into spending more, these people would very often not even consider themselves poor. Poverty may actually mask a problem of stupidity.
People are still motivated to get more money, even when they are beyond the point that they could ever reasonably spend it. That is because money is also the prize for winning a particular game. People have learned how to consistently enter the game’s self-countering n-tuple and collect the payoff for doing so. Rich football players do no play football for the money. They just want the kick of winning the game and feel great about making it happen again. Business works exactly the same. We develop Pavlovian reactions to success. Even if we lose this time, we don’t care, because we have won before, and we will win again. It is the game that is addictive, not the money.
What is a boring job? A job is boring when there is never a dynamic of winning. That makes the job boring. You instinctively want the kick of winning, that is, the kick of succeeding. Otherwise, people just start playing on the lottery, because they cannot find the kick elsewhere of risking, betting, and painstakingly doing what it takes, and then winning.
Is money power?
Not really. You can pay people to run around with guns for you, but you cannot convince them to die for you. That is normal. If they die, they will no longer be around to spend the money that you are paying them. Dying for money is therefore utterly self-defeating. That is why mercenaries will generally take a beating if they ever get confronted with people who are truly willing to die for what they believe in. If someone is willing to die for something, it will usually be: religion or nation.
For example, even the US army thrives on beliefs. It is only the Bible belt that agrees to die for Jesus and America. Everybody else in America will refuse to fight because there is simply nothing that they believe in. But then again, the Bible belt will also not be willing to risk their lives and die just for a few dollars. It would not work.
But money can buy military equipment that will make a difference? No. Every expensive piece of equipment can be countered with relatively inexpensive countermeasures. An expensive armoured vehicle will be neutralized by a 5-dollar IED. An expensive helicopter will be neutralized by a cheap SAM missile. An expensive tank will get knocked out by a cheap SSM rocket. An expensive fighter jet will go down when faced with a relatively cheap radar system along with relatively cheap anti-air missiles. With money and technology you can only pare down an adversary who really does not have any money at all. If the enemy has just even a minimum of money and just even half a brain, you are back to fighting man to man in the streets. From there on, all that matters is the determination to risk your life and die. So, money is not power. The truth is that it is your staunch beliefs that are your power.
Your strength is your true beliefs and your weakness is your false beliefs. Of course, we are not here to tell you what you should believe. There is no compulsion in belief. They must remain your own choice at all times. But then again, if something goes badly wrong in your life, you may want to investigate what exactly you believe and how that could have contributed to the calamity that you went through. The one thing we can learn from the grandees in the field computability, that is, Gödel, Turing, and Church, are the fundamental limitations to what can be known. As they would say: the course of your life is not effectively calculable. What cannot be known, can only be believed. Learning often amounts to re-aligning your beliefs. If you do that successfully, you will most likely find that you have come out strengthened out of that bad spell, and that the next phase in your life will only be more successful.