There were millions upon millions of glittering lights shattering the night, tall neon-lit buildings reaching up to the sky, black limousines, bright red Ferraris and silver Porsches gliding slowly and elegantly down the main strip.
As my buddy and I walked down the Las Vegas strip late one summer night, I asked, “What would it be like to own all of this — to own all the money, land, buildings, and cars in the world?”
“I can’t even imagine,” my friend replied. “But what if you owned all of this, and you were the only person on the planet? Then what would it all be worth?” My buddy just stared at me in stunned silence.
What is money?
What is money really? What gives it its value? No other species on earth finds any value in gold, silver, diamonds, or least of all, in paper with official looking numbers printed on it. You can’t eat it. You can’t plant it. You can’t mate with it. Gold does not make the best protective armor because it’s too soft. It makes for lousy tips of spears and arrows.
So where does the real value in money come from?
Most people believe money exists separate and apart from themselves. That money is “out there” and is something to be obtained. They feel it has intrinsic value of its own, and in order to be wealthy, they must do something to “go get it.” They feel it is like some kind of fruit hanging high in the branches of a distant tree – if only they could reach it.
They feel poor without it and powerful with it. It is as though this external, tangible substance is their life force. Without it – they are empty – powerless.
But the truth is that all the money, all the power, and all the wealth in the universe is not “out there” waiting to be gotten. It is within us, waiting to be released from our inner being, like the delicious, sweet juice squeezed from a watermelon.
Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Cathy Hughes, Red McCombs, J.K. Rowling, and Mark Cuban did not go out and “get” money. They exuded it. It flowed out of them as from a hidden wellspring. They created value by what they did. They brought something of value to everyone around them. But that value started out inside them, in their soul, in their spirit, in their brains.
That’s why there are millionaires who have lost everything and then came back and became millionaires yet again. Some have lost it all and won it all back several times. Bit it’s also why many people who win the lottery are poor again after just a few years.
True wealth . . . always and only comes . . . from within.
Entrepreneurs and innovators know how to create value out of thin air. They also know the difference between value and money. Value is something that makes someone else’s life better. Money is the way we measure how we are doing at the task of making other people’s lives better. It’s how we keep score. It is merely a symbolic representation of value.
Everything you need to create value out of thin air is already inside you. You have the ability to create wealth out of thin air by the things you do, the things you say, and the things you make.
What are you doing right here, right now to make someone else’s life better, simpler, more enjoyable, and less complicated?
The money you are making today is simply the universe’s way of giving you a report card to let you know how you’re doing at those things. The things you do, the things you say, the things you make, and the things you own only have value if the people around you think they have value.