Making money to earn a living and enjoy the shallow luxuries of life has long been the objective of common man. Across nations, cultures and communities earning respect through amassing wealth (and sometimes power) has been the primary goal for every ambitious mind. This holds true especially for the stereotypical Sindhi community of Hindu descent in India. I am the youngest son of Sindhi parents in Mumbai and I feel exactly the opposite of what I must (as per the perception of our community) about wealth creation through a miserly mindset.
My parents groomed me to focus on earning money instead of penny-pinching. This early exposure led me towards learning of new skills and building a personality that attracts others of its own kind. But this is not always the case. More often than I would like, I encounter intelligent people with great potential whose sole objective in life is making enough money to fulfill their mouthwatering desires. Sure these desires are endless and have no limits of sanity. But these encounters have obsessed me with a question.
How can we achieve a world where humans focus on unlocking their potential and adding value instead of making money?
I learnt over time that these two are not necessarily exclusive of one another. So my attention moved to another question that optimizes for the former.
If you had to create an alternate currency to replace what we know as ‘money’ what would it be? And why?
This question has stirred some of the smartest conversations I have enjoyed in the last decade. The answers and discussions around which are not meant for this essay. But I will write about them, perhaps as a follow-on to this piece.
In this same context, I shared my desperate need to eliminate conversations about scarcity of money in any and every context with my friend, Sid Vora over lunch yesterday. I enjoy conversation with him because he comes with a unique background of balanced family wealth and wisdom. I believe this equips him with a certain worldly exposure needed to engage in serious discussions about important problems and actionable opinions around potential solutions.
So Sid asks me how I propose to do this. He says, “You can only fend for yourself. What can you possibly do to ensure no one around you speaks or showcases their need to have more money?"
That is a good question. In fact it might actually be the question if answered correctly that puts us in a direction towards eliminating poverty. Without answer, I asked him to share more.
With a CFA & CA degree under his belt, he continued to explain his understanding of the 5 ways to amass wealth in the world. He said,
“There are 5 ways of creating substantial wealth on this planet.
- Entrepreneurship - Industrialists, Businessmen, Skill Leveragers, Trend Setters, Freelancers & More
- Investing - Debt, Real Estate, Financial Markets, Venture Capital & More
- Employment - Jobs, Consultants, Contractors & More
- Invention - Scientists, Philosophers, Creators, Nobel Prize Winners
- Special Skill Development - Actors, Model, Sports People Etc..
The last 2 ways (#4 and #5) require every bit of serendipity (if not luck) for the success of oneself. The world is unaware of most talented people because of their inability to come into the spotlight captured by the ones who already are. Its a path of high volatility and bleak chances of success. For those do make it, garner success at a pace faster than most other humans.
Employment ( #3) is a risk-averse option which can also be quite time consuming. One must have patience and dedication for their success is irreversibly linked to that of their employer. While every candidate carries the burden of the hopeful attainment of wealth, less than a handful acquire what maybe considered a large sum.
We’re left with Entrepreneurship & Investing.
Investing (#2) is for the risk-thirsty. In lots of ways for an investor, not investing is more risky than actually investing. Its a careful dance with entrepreneurs and the opportunities they endorse. It also requires one to either come from wealth or have the ability to put together the wealth of a set of investors.
This is why today we see many representatives from the well-exposed youth giving entrepreneurship a shot. Many of them have little or no idea of what they’re getting into, but it seems like a reasonable thing to do because as you might realize there is nothing else to do."
...our conversation continued.
I find this list particularly resourceful as a simple higher-level choice that each one has while shaping one's career.
I believe that society conditions us to transition from “Learning to Earning” right after we exit university. There is a social pressure to know what one must do with their lives in order to start earning. In some cases socio-economic conditions force one to make this decision even earlier.
While some of us may have a career calling out to us or have the resources to work towards one, there are quite many who never get a clear picture of the options in front of them.
I hope that some of this information can help those who feel confused about their direction in life. No matter which path you choose, a mandatory skill is required - The ability to evaluate choices and make decisions. So start with this one, choose a path and start working towards it.
On your way if you need some help, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
I like connecting dots between like-minded people who can be helpful to the journey of one another.
p.s: I have consciously avoided the inclusion of religious and spiritual leaders from this list. I know for a fact that they too have the ability to amass large sums of wealth, but I lack the wisdom to categorize them in one of these 5 paths.