Hang on to Empathy
Money has a way of changing us, especially when we start to acquire a good deal of it. We often tend to have more confidence, a sense of security, and a higher level of optimism. However, saving money can also have negative side effects which have to be intentionally resisted. Stockpiling money can quickly lead to greed, a judgmental attitude and stinginess, which make a person very unpleasant to be around. In fact there is apparently a genuine connection between wealth and a lack of empathy, the more we have the less we are able to empathize with others. This isn’t a hard and fast rule and each person is unique, but it seems that there is a correlation between wealth and being a jerk! Need proof, don’t take our word for it.
So how can we maintain our personality, you have to acknowledge that as your financial circumstances change, you change as well. We want to empower you to make a cognizant choice and don’t let money change you, here’s how.
Full disclosure, these are ideals those of us writing this article try to live out and we don’t always do it very well.
Don’t Pass Judgment
Before we have money, we tend to think of our situation in a jaded way, everything and everyone is against us and our circumstance are not our fault. We’ve been dealt a low hand, a raw deal, and the world is unfair. We look to those who have money and assume that they didn’t work hard to earn it, “if only I’d been born into a wealthy family” is our battle cry. It is easy to judge, because it makes us feel better about our circumstances and if we can explain the wealth of others apart from their hard work it must mean we are OK. We think that we were dealt a pair of deuces, the wealthy were dealt a full house and they know the dealer.
You would think that having come from humble roots when we build wealth we would hang onto that humility, but something else can also happen. You begin to look around and you notice those who do not handle their money well and we think “its their fault they don’t have money, they must not work very hard.” Suddenly our good fortune is because of our own work ethic, and the hardship of others is due to their lack there of. Don’t fall prey to that attitude, don’t pass judgment and hang onto your empathy.
As surprising as it may be, it is true that poor people tend to be more generous than rich people. In fact this reality has only become even more true in recent years, the wealthy have gotten less generous in our time. How can this possibly be true? If you have lived with very little, benefited from the pay it forward generosity of others you often intend to return the favor. Those who have lived with little appreciate every act of generosity toward them, and thus do so to others. In order to avoid being a wealthy jerk you need to always remember what things were like for you before you had money. Remember those who were generous with you, and their hope that you would someday return the favor for someone else, so do it.
In the eternal words of Macklemore, the famous rap artist from Seattle “Make the money don’t let the money make you.”
Don’t let money change you, hang onto empathy, don’t pass judgment and stay generous. Has your financial circumstance ever caused you to treat or view someone differently?