Wisdom or Gold, Which do You Need?

Wisdom or money, which would you prefer?

So, we are here again looking now at chapter 5 of the Richest Man in Babylon, by George S Clason. CHapter 5 is entitled, “The Five Laws of Gold” and the question above is really what the chapter focuses on. What would be more valuable to you in the long run? I think about my 20s and I know if I know then what I know now I would have made better decisions. If I had really looked at somethings around me and learned from them I would be in a better position that I am now. Therefore, wisdom is indeed invaluable from my vantage point.

…had I but sought wisdom first, my gold would not have been lost to me. Many of us have regrets when we get older about things we could have done better in the past. However, at this point no matter our age we still need to know this truth, you do not have to wait on old age to gather years of experience and wisdom to yourself. Just like the clay tablet with the five laws of gold carved on it that Arkad gave his son Nomasir, we too can rely on the wisdom and experience of others to help navigate through the landmines and pitfalls of life. We can also learn from our mistakes as we go along and not wait years later when we are sitting in a rocking chair, somewhere, to reflect on all those mistakes and try to give an account of them.

Now, the five laws of gold are this, in my own words based on the chapter of course:

  1. Money will come to those who are wise enough to save it
  2. Use your money wisely and it will work for you
  3. Be wise with your money and who you allow to advice you about it.
  4. Educate yourself and avoid risky investments that will fail by seeking the counsel of those who have more knowledge on such matters.
  5. Do not be deceived by unrealistic investment schemes formulated by “tricksters and schemers”

These are all things that we need to be aware of. They are things that seems simple but require a level head and a willingness to do the work to achieve a desired result. Now there are some gems dropped in the chapter that I want to highlight below:

  1. “…there is no chain of disaster that will not come to an end” – This is a reminder that the tide is always changing and it is for us to be ready when they do and make the most of what we can when they change in our favor. This not only goes for money but anything we want to achieve in life – tough times don’t last, tough people do.

I think the second quote I will be using from the chapter answers the question of which is the prize, gold or wisdom.

2. “Without wisdom, gold is quickly lost by those who have it, but with wisdom, gold can be secured by those who have it not.” – my take away is that you don’t need a lot of money or opportunities but you need the wisdom to maneuver either. What is your take away from this piece of wisdom?

The final quote is something that we need to remember from time to time. The race of life is not for the swift but those who can endure till the end.

3. “Wealth that comes quickly goes the same way. Wealth that stayeth to give enjoyment and satisfaction to its owner comes gradually, because it is a child born of knowledge and persistent in purpose” – Anything worth fighting for is never easy but it will be worth it in the end – at least this is what I believe. Some things that you seem to have to struggle for end up being the best thing you will acquire and that is based on my own experience. There is a quote by Amelia Hutchins that I came across that reinforces this idea and it says: “Nothing worth fighting for ever comes easy … If it’s too easy to grasp, then one should never reach for it.”

Now I leave you consider and examine the gem we have unearthed today until next time!

The Secret of the Lucky Gem?

Are you luck? DO things just happen your way all the time? Well I think that you are a rarity. For many a mortals lady luck has not been so kind. However today we look at what Clason relates in chapter 4 of his work, The Richest Man in Babylon. The oozes with the idea of luck and is entitled, Meet the Goddess of Luck.

Talking about luck, I always remember this one time in high school – I must of been 14 or 15, walking from school to get a taxi home I realized along the way that I lost my money – my fare and all! SO my friend and I turned back and began a man hunt for the lost funds. We scored the area time and time again to no avail. Ultimately, we accepted defeat, my money was gone, never to be recovered. My friend, Devasha tried to console me by offering to give me my fair, and while I was grateful I was still bitterly disappointed that I lost my money, unlucky me.

While we walked on tired and me greatly defeated -if you are a student dependent on your parents for money then you know how any lost money was trauma of the highest order. As we walked I saw the school security walking by with a man and as they walked by I heard their conversation. Apparently, this security had just found the same sum of money I had lost in the same area I had lost it in! What luck – well according to him. And what did he do with his newly acquired bounty? Well you guessed it – or not – he bought a lotto ticket – in Jamaica we call it cashpot. My treasured lunch money had become his “lucky” ticket to play a game of chance and possibly strike it rich! No risk with the possibility of a reward! He was the lucky man of the day! I heard him gleefully relate his luck, in finding my money. Let me just say there was no way it could have been anyone else’s money, the evidence was just too great. So it stood to reason that on that day I was the unlucky one. But what made him lucky and me unlucky? What had I done to deserve that fate? Did he deserve to get that money and I deserved to lose it?

A Tale of Two Lucky

The chapter begins with a question, “Is there a way to attract good luck?” Many persons have tried and many will say they do but is this true? According to the Cambridge online dictionary luck is “the force that causes things especially good things to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your efforts or ability”, while google dictionary defines it as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through ones own action.” Two things here concerning those definitions, there is good and bad luck, also as many people see it luck has nothing to do with works but chance or possibility not a guarantee. So even though the security had found the money and he felt finding it was a sign that the tides were turning in his favor, it was not a guarantee that he would win anything or that this good fortune would continue and spill over into all areas of his life. However, many of us are sucked into this cycle of seeing on unprovoked good event as a sign of better things to come, a mind a mindset that encourages inaction. So, when you say you I guess I was just luck, it means that good fortune just came your way and stayed without any effort on your part. However, according Clason that is not good luck, but if we depend on that it is a sure fire way to failure. Instead what the chapter emphasizes is that luck is not dependent on inaction but action: “I have learned to attract good luck to oneself, it is necessary to take advantage of opportunities”.

Removing Chance with Action

Here we are not talking about any old action but the action based on reasonable opportunities. From experience I have had many opportunities that I never pursued and I regret that. Those hesitation were based on fear, the fear of failure or the failure to truly believe in my abilities or that I truly deserved to have those opportunities. I had defeated myself before I had even tried. I would put things off, out of fear of being rejected, a nasty habit that we all should ditch. So we are advised that “opportunity, she will not wait for such slow fellow”, those poor overly cautious should like me we find it hard to make a decision either way. Another gem dropped is the idea of conquering procrastination and you know what Norman Vincent Peale said about procrastination – No?. Well, He said and I quote, “If you put off everything till you’re sure of it, you’ll never get anything done”. It is not that some persons are ore lucky than others is what Clason is saying but that some are more discerning and fearless than others as he notes, “opportunities come to all these men. Some grasped theirs and moved steadily to the gratification of their deepest desires, but the majority hesitate, faltered and fell behind”. If that is true of you admit it, and it does not have to be a plethora of opportunities but even one that could have made a difference will be enough.

So, the chapter really made me rethink how I viewed the idea of luck – even though for a while now I had stop hoping to become lucky, it was just not working out for me. As Clason writes: “Action will lead thee forward to the success thou dost desire”, just keep going and never quit!

Gems about Your Skinny Pockets

Day Two of The Richest Man in Babylon

Well I find this book very interesting and an important read. So until you read it yourself here are some more gems.

So we are back at The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason with some new thoughts. Reading a how-to-book like this makes it painfully clear how easy it is to fall into a trap that gets you no where – when it comes to your financial competency that is. For me this book provides the push to do better when it comes to financial literacy – it is never too late.

So, here we go…

Today we look at chapter 3: “Seven Cures for a Lean Purse”. Sounds promising right? According to chapter 3, if you want to achieve financial stability their are seven cures that you need to become comfortable with taking.

Truth is always simple! Well this is not exactly the crux of the cures but something for us all to keep in mind in any situation. Well let’s get into them.

  1. “Hold back a part of your portion and make do” – this one is easier said than done -at least for me. However, is it impossible to do? I do not believe it is. This one will take some practice if you take some pleasure in shopping. Also, we have to learn how to BUGET. This can be a nightmare for those who have no patience and who are undisciplined when it comes to spending what they earn.
  2. “Control they expenditure” – Better yet stop spending like there is no tomorrow or like that pay check is a sturdy bridge to next month. Do you know that some (I have definitely done this) spend because it brings them pleasure – they spend for the sake of spending, buying things that will end up at the bottom of a pile, sometimes with the price tags never removed. This has got to stop. When there are so many thing that tempt us to but them we have to be disciplined and keep our goals -make sure you have some – in mind.
  3. “Putting your treasure to labour” – What a novel thought, can you picture it? Your money working for you! What an interesting thought. Maybe it’s me but I think that is a very interesting way to think about investments. I have been taught from an early age the importance of saving. I think I have had a bank account from the age of 8! Sadly this has not led to a stash of a nest egg, more like an empty vault! A gem that I want to deposit here for your consideration is this: a man’s wealth is not in the coins he carries in his purse, it is the income he buildeth… So relying on a pay check each mother will not get the job done, neither will counting the coins in your pocket.
  4. Now for cure four there were many truths here so I will just be highlighting some profound words. This section begins with a very profound truth: misfortune loves a shining mark, so don’t be an easy target: Study carefully before parting with thy treasure each assurance that it may be safely reclaimed. Before thou loan it to any man assure thyself of his ability to repay – I wish I learned this cure earlier in life, ouch – and his reputation for doing so that thou mayest not unwittingly be making him a present of thy hard-earned treasure. Many learn to late and are still sucking their sorrows where this is concerned.
  5. Now the next sure to a lean purse is to own your own… I recommend that every man own the roof that sheltereth him and his. Now has been a struggle for many and we see more and more homeless persons, unfortunately in the streets. However we have to make the push when we can to make this happen for, “when the house be built thou canst pay the moneylender with the same regularity as though didst pay the landlord – no one can quick you out of your home once you pay for it, no matter the state it is in.
  6. Here we are people the crooks of all else when it comes to building wealth, invest invest invest! On this matter Clason notes, “No man can afford not to insure a treasure for his old age…no matter how prosperous his business and his investments may be”. So not just invest like crazy actually, but ensuring that investments can take you into your golden years and help not only you but loved ones.
  7. The last cure is one that can work in any areas of your life, always work on yourself. “cultivate thy own powers – do not rely on others to save you are make a way for you is my understanding here – to study and become wiser, to become more skillful, to so act as to respect thyself”. The last part for me speaks to the need to improve on the skills you have so that when people see you they will respect you for the reputation you create of yourself over time. It speaks to me, of the need not to be content with what you have now or complain about it but make the necessary changes that will get you what you deserve. What we think we deserve can be relative but your skills, talents and potentials have value. Through constant revision and work we can realize the fruits of that value in our lives.

Gems from, “The Richest Man in Babylon”

So, I have decided to get off social media – or at least reduce my dependency on it and read more. But would you believe that the first book I am reading was one recommended on one of those social media platforms – they do have their uses people. So many is a constant need in this world whether we like it or not, and this need was driven to me today as I sought yet another loan. I think it is providence, no, God that has led me to this book. Forgive me if I have not given you the name of the book, The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason. This book was written in 1929! However, it could have been written yesterday for all the gems and truth bombs it contains. Now to really explore it here I will be look at different sections of it until I reach the end. As I said before this book was written in 1929 about a civilization approximately 40000 years ago – the more things change the more they remain the same! What is on the buffet table of this book are not choice morsels of food, no, but financial advice wrapped in succulent proverbs that are tickling my brain a little – so if you decide to read for yourself do so in a quiet place!

The book has eleven chapters, with interesting titles like, “The Man Who desired Gold” and “The Five Laws of Gold”. However, when you begin reading what’s between the pages you realize there are no gems about get rich quick schemes and how to get to the point of drowning in wealth . No, what you begin to do is think of all the unwise choices you have made in relation to money and how those bad choices have landed you in a place where you are always obsessing about having more.

Pay Yourself First!

The first thing that jumped out at me and that made me feel attacked when I understood was the idea of paying yourself first. I always thought that my paycheck was my pay and by working like a dog – maybe a bit of exaggeration here – I was paying myself. But oh no I was not. When I get paid each month, I take out bills and money for other things. However, what this book was telling me to do was to take out money to set aside first. Listen, I do not think this is a new concept to many but how it is presented in the book made me feel real shame. All this time I was complaining that I had to do so much with my money and barely had anything, but I was doing it wrong. I did not think of paying myself from my own pay! I cried and complained that I could not safe, that I had nothing but those things were the result of my decision to be a sacrificial lamb to pay out to others and not to myself. Well think about that.

Lessons to Learn

I know for me learning life lessons reveals that I am mostly book smart when it comes to money matters. However, all is not lost. Some lessons revealed in this book that we must learn to be financially secure is to “live upon less than you could earn”, “seek advice from those who are competent through their own experiences” and “learn to make gold work for you”. There is the temptation especially if you pay attention to what others have to live above our means, to get advice from people who seem to have it together but when you check out don’t. There is also the temptation to think only of today – live in the moment – and nit make use of what we have now. Guilty, guilty and guilty. However, Clason points out to us through this work that it is important to ” teach ourselves how to acquire money, keep it and use it” and this wont happen overnight. It is a process that is like a marathon and not a sprint. At least that is my take away.

Golden Nuggets

There are some other golden nuggets that I want to leave with you to consider from chapter two of the book entitled, “The Richest Man in Babylon”:

  1. Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared – how often have you allowed any kind of opportunity to slip by? Time to stop doing so.
  2. …invest thy treasure with greatest caution that it be not lost. Usurious rates of return are deceitful sirens that sing but to lure the unwary upon the rocks of loss remorse – it us so easy to be deceived if you appear desperate or are anxious to gather insurmountable wealth, yes, the scammers are waiting for those desperate among us.
  3. seek the advice of men whose daily work is handling money…A small return and a safe one is far more desirable that risk – yes, have you ever been tempted by someone who had an idea but no know how?
  4. Enjoy life while you are here. Do not overstrain or try to save too much. If one-tenth of all you earn is as much as you can comfortably keep be content to keep this portion. Live otherwise according to your income and let not yourself get niggardly and afraid to spend. Life is good and life is rich with things worthwhile and things to enjoy – here we are admonished not to get carried away building our wealth. God has given each of us only have one life to live and we need to enjoy it and not obsessed over acquiring wealth!

I will end on the last point above, because sometimes we get so anxious because of financial insecurity that we forget that we do not need to have it all, We need to have enough to enjoy the things already here, some things that carry no price tag.

Join me next time to see what other gems I have uncovered!

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