When you’re grounded by a higher good, you have the interests and needs of others in mind.
The third principle of Positive Money reminds us that making financial decisions grounded in a higher good or purpose aligns us with our values and helps us focus on the intent and impact of our decisions. It gives us a context and compass to orient us when we earn, spend, save, and give our money.
At first, you might think this principle is about charitable giving, fulfilling social responsibilities, or acting according to religious or spiritual beliefs. Surely, these are important and relevant. This principle reaches deeper than that, however. It taps into what matters most at the moment. Often, this is a question of short-versus long-term satisfaction. I want a treat right now. A higher good reminds me that what I really want or need is a break or acknowledgment of my efforts.
If you want to live a rich life, this principle is an essential ingredient, and yet it often falls by the wayside. You know it’s lacking when no matter how hard you work or try to be good, you don’t feel good. Something is still missing even though you’re doing “all the things” that are expected of you. This slow and unconscious trading of our true selves for one fashioned by the world around us may explain why even the wealthiest of individuals can feel unsatisfied and disillusioned.
In The Way of Integrity, author Martha Beck reminds us that our true selves seek simple things like laughing and fresh flowers which are two of my favorites. Once we start craving what others tell us we should desire, we can become blind to our own predilections.1
This is where tapping into a higher good – whatever that is for you at the moment – can help zone in on what you really need or want. For example, you’re feeling burned out at work and need a break. You think a fancy coffee will help, but take a moment to tune into your body.
What do you really need? What would serve a higher or greater good right now? What would truly be of service to you and others? Rescheduling your day? Taking a brisk walk with a friend? Grabbing a 10-minute nap? Your answer might not only make you feel better, but it might also be better for your bank account.
You are never too small to make a difference. - Greta Thunberg