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Is Money The Most Important Thing?

Popularity 8Viewed 6823 times 2016-4-28 06:50 |System category:Life

I teach students from ages 8-18 every day. They are looking at me and listening to me. They are watching me. I'm a foreigner and I know that I'm being watched by them very carefully. There are many things I want to tell them and want them to know. Most of them don't know my background. They jokingly say, "Oh Michael we know you are a very rich man." They say it assuming something about Western people. But, one thing I make sure to teach them, that is, life isn't all about the money.

I come from a country that is considered 'rich' by most people in the world. I come from America. There are many great advantages that we enjoy there that most of the world doesn't get. One thing that most Westerners have learned about life, though, is that, "it's not all about the money."

Money is good. It isn't bad. We need it. We must have it in order to live our lives. One thing I can tell you in 5.5 decades of living is, money won't make you happy. The only thing that will make you happy is you. Money is not more powerful than your own mind.

Last night, one of my very top students was sitting with me and chatting about life, wisdom and how to live successfully. This young man, though only 16 years old, comes from a family that puts a high value on education and being the right kind of person. I shared many stories with him about many great people like Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Colonel Sanders and others who rose up out of the masses of people to do things extraordinary that changed the world. None of these people pursued money. If that had been there goal, they would have surely failed.

The most important focus in life is being useful to others. The more useful you are to others, the more successful you'll be. I never focused on money in my life, yet, I've achieved more than many people could ever dream. If you are useful to enough people, you'll never have to worry about money. You'll always have more than enough.

First, find out what you are good at doing. What is your deepest interest? What keeps you awake at night and gets you up early? What are you passionate about? Find out what it is that you are suppose to be doing in your life.

Second, become the best at what you do. When I came to China, I started teaching 32 classes a week. I heard teachers half my age complaining about teaching 15 classes a week. Why did I teach so many? The answer is simple. I wasn't really focused on being better than others. I was focused on giving my Chinese students the best and most useful English education that I could. I've lived long enough to know that the only way I could do that is to get into the classroom as much as I possibly could. Now, 4.5 years later, I've taught around 4,500 classes. I've talked to thousands of students. I've identified where they struggle. I know what they are good at in learning English and where their weaknesses are. That came from a lot of experience I've gained by teaching as many classes as I possibly can.

Third, help others who can't pay you. There is something magical or perhaps spiritual when you do this. Many people think that you are so unselfish, caring, generous and kind. I guess you have to be all of those to give freely of your time. However, I know that in doing something for many other people who can't pay me in dollars, I get something that makes me rich. I get something that money can't buy. It is a satisfaction of my soul. Also, I find that I will get money that I didn't expect to get. Money shows up in unexpected ways. I don't question or try to figure it out. I just know that when I give freely, I get rewarded more in my life.

Money isn't bad. Money is good. Money is necessary. But money isn't everything. Being useful to others is what really counts. Being true to your purpose in life is what makes life rich and full.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (11 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2016-4-28 09:10
Thank you very much!!! we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Dracarys 2016-4-28 12:20
I guess sometimes you gotta own something and then you would know aspects about this thing .. just like you said money is not always the most importance thing and what did you think about money all the time which I believe it's at least changed some times at the process of growing up ..
Reply Report xuedongi60 2016-4-30 17:57
As far as I know,many people,including young people always want to have a comparison with others.Their happiness base on superiority.The superiority need much money to satisfy,they want to have better mobile phones,cars,houses...Lastly,they just become the people who others want they to be but not themselves want to like that.They lost themselves,maybe including me.
Reply Report futsanglung 2016-4-30 18:12
Are you sure Edison did not persue money?
Reply Report MichaelM 2016-5-2 08:47
futsanglung: Are you sure Edison did not persue money?
In addition to inventions, perhaps. But, he was certainly able to focus on one thing and accomplish it well.
Reply Report futsanglung 2016-5-2 09:00
Some of his " inventions" were far from being his own work and he never fully recognised those who helped him on these inventions. He also had some daft ideas including that dc electric was better than ac for commercial purposes.
Reply Report MichaelM 2016-5-2 09:27
futsanglung: Some of his " inventions" were far from being his own work and he never fully recognised those who helped him on these inventions. He also h ...
I've read that he stole from Tesla. Nonetheless, my point is that perseverance pays off. Thanks for you comments.
Reply Report futsanglung 2016-5-2 09:49
Hi film projector was also mainly the work of others and his patent on the lightbulb was withdrawn as it was not a new invention.
Reply Report MoreMoerFan 2016-5-2 09:56
Of couse we should do something to let the children to see the holpe of life,but if you were me you may be known what is a money,and how is the important. And another thing,do you really know about Bill Gates? Do you know who is he mother?
Reply Report luckyann 2016-5-2 10:03
"Money is not everything, being useful to others is what really counts." I totally agreed with you.

Reply Report samlam 2016-5-2 15:58
Sometimes. When I want to buy a house and have not enough money, it is. Not always.

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Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

  • Amazing Chinese Student 2018-6-16 15:05

    Great story.

  • Can Chinese Education Change? 2018-5-16 10:53

    I think foreigners are advanced on writing (working)style that we could see if we compare the dictionary of English and Chinese with each other! Chinese scientists and teachers must tell stories in plain words to children and leave more free space for the latter to do logical thinking all by themselves. That is the direction of Chinese education-reform. We must first realize our disadvantages on schooling and then do some operations for changing and improvement!  Never copy foreign things on appearance!
    For more, please check my recent writings on education!

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