I have often heard people say that I should put my money to work. It is an idea that has always attracted me. If enough money is doing the work then I might no longer have to. While it sounds almost too good to be true, it certainly is nice to think about. To consider the issue we have to look at the nature of money itself and examine the possibilities that come with such a powerful tool.
One of the most influential ideas on the subject came to me from a book called “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin. In the book the author describes money as something you trade your “life energy” for. When I thought of money as something on par with energy I began to realize that money cannot do any work for me. Instead, the idea showed me that through money I could make my own efforts become more efficient and longer lasting.
I picture it as capturing some of my energy, bundling it up nice and tight, and feeding it into a machine that produces more than what was put in. Money is the medium that allows me to capture my energy. But how can I get back even more in return? The point where the magic happens is when people begin to consider more efficient ways of using their stores of energy.
When we pool together and organize our energy in more efficient ways a strange thing comes into being. We create a whole that becomes greater than the sum of its parts. In other words, an excess amount of energy is created than was initially put in. It seems like a mystical process and yet it is as natural and fundamental as an atom.
But don’t people tend to be wasteful and make mistakes?
Well, yes, people make mistakes all the time. Thankfully we all have the powerful gift of memory. We have also developed means of global and inter-generational communication. In other words: people talk, and people learn. On top of all this we are all unique and have the ability to come up with new ideas. All of these things, put together, are what allow us to get back more than what we put in. Some of our ideas will be horrible and others will be mind-bending and incredible.It is through the test of time that the latter tend to outweigh the former.
Looking at it this way helps me see my past work as a growing and evolving force. Instead of something locked within the constraints of an hour or a day, every bit of energy that I can extract and set aside is like a ghost of myself continuing to work long after I am actually finished. Thanks to the tool that is money, we all have this ability, to capture some of our energy, to organize it and pool it with others, and to build things of near unimaginable scale and value.