The color of money at least for Americans is green. But in the American culture, green is also the color of envy. Envy is what could afflict a person who has less money and who is bombarded with visual stimuli on how much better his life could be if he had more green bucks.
This feeling of envy is universal, regardless of the culture and actual color of money. Even financial planners who are supposed to be of stable and sound financial condition are also tempted to feel envious of others. In fact, financial planners are probably in the worse off position because they give advice to both those who are wanting and those who are loaded.
One thing is sure, if you want to fight envy you will need to call on strength from outside of you. Conversely, you will have to always be open to accepting such help and encouragement. Allow me to demonstrate.
At one time, I was feeling a bit wanting. This was when I was in a plane about to embark on an eight- (and almost consecutive) day training run in three different cities in the country that would require me to wake up at 1 am on two consecutive days just to take the first flight out. And on one other day, I would have to fly into the airport in Manila, reload my luggage with fresh clothes from my car that was parked nearby and wait at the terminal for my next flight out.
And if travelling was not taxing enough, at training runs, a trainer has to keep his energy and focus at 100% to keep his participants engaged. Doing this for just one day is already a strength-zapping exercise; what more eight days.
So as I was seated in the plane waiting for the other passengers to board, I decided to put off listening to music through my headphones. This gave me the opportunity to overhear a group of passengers, who walked past me, wishing that their social work to educate children would already push through. Jokingly, there were even saying that with all the good work they were doing, they would probably even go past heaven. This was when I felt a divine tap on the shoulder reminding me on the real purpose of my work: to teach that money is not to be hoarded but to be spread to help others.
At my company’s Ask a Friend, Ask Efren Facebook page, we posted a question that went: “How do I fight jealousy when my neighbor keeps flaunting his newly bought items. Sound blares from his new home theater system. His TV is so huge it lights up the night sky. His new car is always parked in front of his house and not inside the garage at the time when all of us, his neighbors are just about leaving our respective homes for work. Grrrrrrr!”
I am quoting our reply as follows:
“Your neighbor has a problem with his need to flaunt his wealth. But that is his problem and not yours. Your concern is that you look too far beyond what is important and that is the people immediately around you, your family. Focus on their needs first. You will see that it will be more fulfilling that way than just keeping up with the dela Cruzes. And always think that material things hardly stay gold. More importantly, internalize what John Maxwell wrote: many years after your death, people will not remember how much you owned. Instead they will remember you for who you are and how you made others matter.”
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