When you say the word ‘value’ to people, their initial thought, almost invariably, is about money. We have been conditioned as a society (Western society in particular) to think this way only relatively recently. It’s a conditioning that we really need (and thankfully are beginning) to break.
Let’s throw some statistics at this. In 1900, less than 1% of Americans (I am using America as an example, as the stats are most readily available) were invested in the Stock Markets. By 1950 this had increased to around 4%, whereas today more than 52% of American citizens have investments in the stock market. And let’s be under no illusions here …… the stock market IS a ‘gamble’… see 1929, 1937, 1973, 1987, 1990, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2015.
Why are people ‘gambling’?..... there are many answers you could give - to save for retirement, to provide for dependants, or simply because there is more awareness and easier access to investments. All of these answers are very altruistic and hold a grain of truth, and all are, ultimately, complete nonsense. The real reason people are gambling with all that they have is fear. Fear that I won’t have a ‘comfortable’ retirement, fear that I won’t be able to pay my student debt, fear that I can’t buy the latest ‘i’ gadget for my kids, fear that my next-door neighbour is doing better than me, fear that my life is not as ‘Instagram-able’ as a Kardashian’s!!
I’m not advocating that trying to increase your wealth is wrong in any way shape or form. We live in a society where we exchange money for goods and services, so having more of it is not bad. I am just concerned that our notion of value has become so intertwined with money, and the fear that lack of money creates, that we are forgetting what is really valuable. In Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, the middle-class Accountant, Mr Scrooge, is obsessed with the accumulation of wealth above all else, despite being more than able to live very comfortably. It takes a near death experience and a visitation of three ghosts to remind him of what is really valuable. This is a story we all grew up with, a story we all resonate with, and sadly a story that we all forget in our daily lives.
So how can we wrestle society back to one that sees value not only in money, but in a more harmonious existence with one another? How can we reduce the fear that we all feel? The answer is that we ALL need to work at it as a society, and that answer will be slightly different for each one of us. However, in our amazing world of 2017, there is one constant for nearly all of us (in the Western world) that could, just, provide us with the means of doing this.
You’re probably reading this on a hand-held device now. The technological power that we wield daily, to look at emails, bank with, buy stuff and watch cat videos, could actually provide the means for us to change society.
What if each day, for just five minutes each morning, instead of playing Angry birds, you used your technology to listen to a Peacebeam. Something that would allow you to centre yourself, something to show you how good your life is, something to empower you to radiate that good feeling to the person next to you, without expecting anything in return. It may sound flippant, insignificant, silly …….but it is an innate power that we all have within us that is free, renewable and more valuable than any money!
Try it!.....make Tiny Tim’s day!