The waiter that was serving my family lunch in a nice New York City restaurant started chatting with us after dinner. He asked where we were from, and I told him that we were from Columbus, Ohio. That was close enough to Cleveland for my waiter to bring up politics, noting that the Republican convention is hosted in Cleveland this year.
The waiter then said, “I hate Trump. He’s awful.” I told him that I don’t share my politics with many people, but that it was a safe bet that I wasn’t voting for any candidate whose name he would recognize. But he continued on, insisting that he share his politics with me.
After sharing his political philosophies and his opinion on all the candidates, he said, “I just had to move because I couldn’t afford to live in the City. Rent is too high, and we are having a baby.” I congratulated him on the baby as he handed me the check. Then he said, “I am voting for Bernie Sanders. Minimum wage needs to be raised to $15.00 an hour.” I tipped him $36.00 for serving my family and me over the prior hour while he espoused his preferred candidate’s virtues. My wife looked over my shoulder to see what I tipped him, worrying that his decision to share his politics was going to negatively impact his tip (it didn’t). His beliefs do provide a lesson, however.
The amount of money you make is determined by two things, your desire to make money and your ability to create value.
Some people create very little value but desire money so much that they are willing to do almost anything to gain it, even though they create no real value. Doing whatever it takes and not creating any value normally only results in money if you are a criminal. Or if you work without having any skin in the game (see Nicholas Nassim Taleb for more on this idea).
Some people create massive value for other people, and their desire for money is great enough that they make significant money—even though their desire is a mere fraction of the hunger of the aforementioned group of non-value creators who simply love and live for money.
There are some value creators who should make more money but simply lack the desire. This is true even when there is a market for the value they create for others. Because they don’t want money, they don’t have money.
It is possible to find a healthy balance between desire and value creation. How much money is enough is different for different people.
What is unhealthy is a belief that the only way you can make more money is to expect some entity to require someone else to give you more money. The belief that you are entitled to more money without the willingness to create enough value to deserve it is “entitlement.”
Believing you can’t make more money because you can’t create more value is a massively self-limiting belief. And it isn’t true, regardless of your politics.
You are worth more money as soon as you decide that you are and as soon as you start creating greater value. This works for people of every political persuasion, including those of us without a political affiliation.
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