Money Game

Once you have enough money to cover your needs then money is just a game.

Whether you’re a billionaire or a homeless person, everything goes to zero when you die. The only thing that may be preserved is a legacy, but that legacy is for other conscious minds to perceive. Although most of us already know that we can’t take money with us to our graves, it’s not enough to cease our pursuit of wealth. Knowledge is theoretical, meaning that it’s not enough to influence our daily behavior. Money is so interwoven into the fabric of society that it remains one of the most important aspects for the majority of our lives. The Nothingness of Money is an explanation of the fascinating reality money plays on our lives and how we can modify our obsessive pursuit of money.

Nothingness of Money

What’s so great about having money anyway? By having a lot of it, you get access to more “stuff” which isn’t intrinsically beneficial. In fact, possessing lots of stuff actually increases stress and saps energy from you. In addition to stuff, having excess money may also allow you to fly in private jets or ride in big boats and have opulent experiences that the average person can’t. These may be nice to have but they aren’t necessary for your happiness or wellbeing. You can have many profound and meaningful experiences without surplus money. Marketing professionals are really good at what they do and have been developing ways to make us want to consume stuff for centuries. No wonder we want to live in a large house and own ten supercars despite the impracticality of it all. The truth is, once you have enough to live comfortably, money is simply a game. And games aren’t a matter of life and death, they’re just meant to be played for fun.

People who are good at the money game know how to collect it and create it. To play the game, they find ways to increase their value output while minimizing their input. The game requires you to interact and negotiate with people to ultimately help you create and build things. The best at the game use their creativity to enhance their processes and systems or to find entirely new ways of doing things. It isn’t really about working hard; Many broke people work just as hard as Elon Musk. The ability to work hard in the game of money is as fundamental as the ability to see in the game of basketball. It’s not necessarily going to make you good, but it’s a required trait. However, there are a few strategies anyone can improve on to help them become good at the game.

The money game is multifaceted, fluid, and complex. There are many different ways to play it and get good, and the rules and strategies are constantly changing. There are plenty of other ways to get money, including chance, speculation, marriage, inheritance, theft, extortion, fraud, monopoly, graft, lobbying, counterfeiting, and prospecting. But many of those are against the rules (illegal) or rely on chance, so I want to focus on the legitimate method which is creating wealth. In our generation, there are a few proven strategies that work. First off, there’s only so much energy one person can expend on daily tasks, so using leverage allows you to build and create more things faster. Every successful company uses leverage to provide the level of service that they do. Although the founder usually gets the most credit, she could not have done it alone. She would not have been successful if she didn’t use leverage. Leverage doesn’t have to be money; you can leverage machines, people, and technology.

Another key to getting good at the game is the ability to understand people and to be good with people. If you know a group of people extremely well—you know everything about what they like, don’t like, what they’re scared of, how they act, etc., then it becomes easier to create something they value (product/service) and how best to tell them about it (marketing). If you’re good with people, you can also make valuable connections to do business with (employees, investors, partners) by leveraging their knowledge/resources for your business.

The money game is really fun. It’s rewarding in many ways to build something of value that people need, love, and appreciate. The resulting financial gain from building a successful company is the byproduct of creating value for a large group of people. In the game, your net worth is simply the scorecard. Nothing more, nothing less. As with every game, you sometimes need to risk in order to take longer strides. You also need to experiment by trying (and failing) in order to learn and get better. Sometimes you lose, sometimes it’s difficult, but that’s how you improve and master the game.

Unfortunately, not everyone gets to start from the same starting point. Some players get a head start, and some start way behind the pack. Generally, every single person feels less privileged than they actually are. Studies show that even the wealthiest people in their country believe their incomes are below average. But the starting line does actually vary by a large margin. Those born into poverty or with a major disability have the greatest disadvantage because poverty can be very difficult to escape, and playing the money game with a major disability adds an unfair layer of difficulty to that person. In addition to inequalities, players should also be aware that the money game has cheaters and unethical players, and it also has altruistic and genuine players. You will almost certainly run into both while playing.

History shows that just because you start late or are underprivileged doesn’t mean you can’t get good at the game. There are many self-made individuals who defied all odds by channeling their inner persistence and determination. It isn’t easy and it’s not fair to start from the back, but if you understand how growth works, it can help you stay motivated.

Growth works like compound interest; Growth takes a much longer time than you initially think. And then it happens much faster than you ever would have thought. Growth happens gradually, then suddenly. When you realize this, you start to do things differently. It explains how Elon Musk could amass a net worth 120x greater than Donald Trump despite Trump being born into wealth and Elon bootstrapping his own ventures. This growth paradox explains how 99.9% of Elon’s net worth came in the last year while the other 0.1% grew during his other 30 years of business. He understands the rules and strategies of the game: He uses leverage effectively, he is really good with people, he creates and builds things of value, he takes risks, and he understands the growth paradox.

What’s great about getting good at the game is the versatility that comes with surplus money. It can be used for a lot of things and it’s up to you how you want to use it. If you’re passionate about helping people, you can use your money to build schools or improve healthcare. The ethics of this is arguable, but even if you want the world to work a certain way, there are (legal) methods of using money to influence government policies towards your own beliefs and values. When you’re good at the money game, you are in a better position to make a larger impact on the world to cater to your vision. In a sense, money=power.

It’s important that the game is modified to reward good conscious capitalists rather than sleazy players, and since the referees of the game are sovereign governments, they are the ones who ultimately set the rules. The past few years have shown the power and influence the masses can have over larger players, and Blockchain and Defi are empowering democracy and fair play. Technology and the internet are becoming one of the great equalizers by slightly leveling the playing field. They provide equal access to education and lower the costs of starting businesses to welcome competition from smaller players.

I think the most important steps in making the money game less vilified and more fun to play would be to enable everyone to make enough money to comfortably live and afford necessities stress-free. This gives people more energy to direct toward innovation. A world where everyone is excited to play the money game is a world with unbelievable technological advances which greatly benefit society and humanity. It’s a world of unifying effort to create value and to serve others. This world may be a utopia, but I do believe we can cleanse the game a bit by voting for altruistic, benevolent people as referees. Modifying the game to be more decentralized and transparent also promote a healthier playing field. It’s a world of less depression and soulless wealth-pursuit when we treat money as just a game.

Once you have enough money to live comfortably, money is just a game. It’s meant to be played, enjoyed, and not taken too seriously. It’s mutable, so what worked yesterday will not always work tomorrow, but that’s what makes it fun. Players must continually develop new ways to create value. Without further ado, let the games begin!