The last installment of The Hustler’s Playbook drew some interesting feedback in the comments section on Facebook (you can follow this blog on Facebook here). The gist of these comments regarding Hustlers hustling for freedom is that “money is the root of all evil.”
But money isn’t the root of all evil. Fear is the root of all evil. Just like power, money doesn’t discriminate against who uses it and to what ends. Money is neutral.
Fear and the Lack of Money
When people fear that they don’t have enough of whatever they need, including money, they can behave badly.
The fear of not having enough to survive is why some people steal. It’s also why they rob other people at gunpoint. People that commit these crimes don’t believe they have better or easier choices. These actions look “evil,” even though the people perpetrating the crime have nothing. Money isn’t causing this bad behavior. It’s fear of not having what they believe they need.
A parent who steals money to feed their children isn’t driven by evil or a love of money. They’re driven by fear. The street hustler so many people conjure up in their minds when I use the word “hustler,” is also driven by fear, and they are willing to cheat others to gain money. But more money doesn’t resolve their fears.
Even people with a lot of money can be driven by this same fear.
Fear and the Lack of Importance
Some people behave badly when it comes to money as a way to deal with different fears. Some believe they aren’t “enough” and choose money as a way to increase their importance. Money is how they measure their own value. A part of this population will step on others, step over others, or push others off the ladder to success because they fear that there isn’t going to be enough for them to get their share.
People who allow money to be their master make poor choices. They do wrong in pursuit of money. Much like the street hustler, they lie, cheat, steal, trade on secret information, and design schemes that enrich themselves at other’s expenses. Their behavior is driven by their fear that they don’t have enough money. But they have the additional fear of losing money, and behave badly because not having money would threaten their identity.
Hustlers Aren’t Afraid
Hustlers are fearless. Ask a hustler what they would do if they lost everything and had to start over, and they will tell you that would rebuild everything they’d already built all over again. The hustler will tell you that they wouldn’t be thrilled with it, but it wouldn’t take them nearly as long. And they wouldn’t have to harm others to do it. They would just have to go create value for which others would be willing to pay.
People with a solid moral grounding aren’t compelled to do evil in pursuit of money. In fact, the more money they have, the more good works they do. You can’t be charitable without something be charitable with, including money and time.
When you see someone who is behaving badly, or what you might consider to be evil, ask yourself what fear you believe is driving that behavior. No matter how brave they may look, and no matter how much money they have, it’s fear that is compelling those decisions.
Money and power are both neutral. They are used by some to do good and others to do harm. Both reveal the person’s character.
- How do you feel about money?
- How would you be changed by having more?
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