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Money - creator of monsters

02 April 2012, 13:01

Like the incredible Hulk, money can mutate it's host into a grotesque abomination bent on destruction and accumulation.

Unable to distinguish friend from foe, they lash out, possessed by an age old self preservation instinct that refuses to let go of material possession.

You hear them in the office next door screaming into the phone, frothing with anger and frustration... "I don't care about your bleeping problems, I want my bleeping money!"

With fangs bared, they write off friends and family alike.

An old friend of mine once bragged to me about how someone owed him money and he went over there with a baseball bat and took stuff out of the guy's house while the wife and children watched and cried. "That will teach him to pay his debts".
I had always thought him a good man until that moment.

The person whose house he went to was his friend who had been retrenched and had to take a lower paying job to keep his family alive.

He couldn't pay his debts even if he wanted to. The guy had lost his self worth and was slowly sinking into a pit of depression.
I was so ashamed of my friend's actions that we had a fall out. He justified going over with that baseball bat with sound logic: "I am not a bleeping charity, I have to feed my kids too". "I'm also struggling!"His family took his side and the argument got ugly. I walked away and never spoke to them again.

What did I say to make it so bad? "I can't be friends with someone who allows money to turn him into a soulless animal, devoid of compassion! Take the stuff back and apologize to that family!"

You would think me unreasonable. I would think you brainwashed.

It wasn't till recently that I noted the same thread in corrupt government officials who will justify their greed and corruption with selfish moral high ground. "It is my due, I deserve this, it is my time".

There is no difference between the monster that money creates when dues are owed and the monster it creates when dues feel deserved.

In our quest to stand up for our own dues, we become abominations. We become soulless, uncaring beasts who will not rest until our blood lust is satiated.And when the fog of fury dissipates, we feel completely justified in our actions. Regardless of the effect our actions have on other human beings.

Monstrous criminals will rob, murder and rape for no reason other than the financial disparity between themselves and those who have what they desire.

They rob and rape with the same fury that filled my friend when he went to collect what was due him.

They justify their actions with the same insane logic. "We are struggling, I must feed my family too".

A monster is a monster. If you allow money to transform you into such a thing, I cannot describe you in any other manner.
When you forget the humanity of others, you lose your own.

In 2009 and 2010 one of my mentors was owed hundreds of thousands of rands by companies that were on the brink of going under. His friends, partners and council all pushed him to sue and threaten.

Instead he went to sit down with those companies to see why they could not pay. The answer was always the same, they were owed money too.

Dominoes fall:One person does not get paid and they simply cannot pay the next person who cannot pay the next.Wrath flows from the ones at the bottom of the chain and all the way up.

Frustrated and humiliated by a sense of impending doom and loss, great people are transformed into desperate tyrants.They allow themselves to be overcome by desperation and the inevitable transformation occurs.

He refused to compromise his humanity.

The action would bankrupt him, but he wrote off vast amounts of debt on condition that the recipients of this gift pay it forward.

Some agreed. Some said "we'll see what we can do". They didn't get the point. It mattered not. He was not doing it for them.

He knew that he would not get blood out of a stone and he refused to devolve into the abominations he saw around him. If he was going to go under, it would be as a good man, not a frothing abomination.

Dealing with the suppliers was not easy, most of them did not care for the dominoes before him. They screamed and threatened with all the fury and frustration they could muster.But some were kind. They listened to the details, tried to understand, helped plan different arrangements. They kept their humanity and helped him keep his dignity.

The result?

He had to start from scratch. But this time he had something that he had never had before.Fanatical loyalty from grateful clients.They referred his new company so enthusiastically that he did not have to spend a cent on marketing.They remembered his support in their darkest hour and repaid it with preferential supplier status.

I remember the day he took me out for a celebration coffee and explained everything to me, the relief that comes with victory all over his face.

He wasn't proud of his new success, he was proud that he had never allowed himself to become a monster. Man, was that a life defining moment for me or what? I learned more about the man I should be over that cup of coffee than I had learned from hundreds of motivational and inspirational books.

His company has grown much larger than the first time round and he remembered those who were kind and those who were not. He actually paid some of his dues double and triple.  (It was a great surprise in this writer's bank account).

It is tough being owed money when you have obligations of your own.It is especially tough when you depend on that income as a dying man depends on a transfusion.

When the ringing phone attaches itself to your stomach ulcer, temptation pushes you to phone your clients and pay the anxiety forward. You feel that stress build within your DNA and threaten to turn you into a raging monster. You eye the Baseball bat in the corner angrily, even consider loading your gun...

But life does not move in months or single years. It moves in decades. My mentor has taught me to think like a tree, not a weed. "Play the long game".

Every explosion has it's fallout and sometimes the damage is irreparable. You can't magically take angry words back.And man oh man do people remember those who were vicious and those who were kind when the storms raged!

So I ask you: What does money and it's accompanying temptations and stresses do to you? Abomination or a man/woman worthy of praise?

Will you be it's master or will it be yours?

P.S.Sorry Owl, more feel good drivel, I know.I can't help myself, it's the mentors, they made me do it.:p

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