We all know that money won’t make you happy. Okay, true. But, poverty won’t make you happy either. Hey, I’ve been broke. Let me tell you, I’m a lot happier when I have money.

See, here’s the simple truth: money is just an amplifier. If you are a rude and nasty human being, then you will become more of a rude and nasty human being. If you are kind, your kindness will show up even more.

The point is, I see miserable people with and without money and I see happy people with and without money. But, in the end, it’s really hard to be happy if you haven’t eaten in three days. That’s for sure.

I have a friend who is incredibly wealthy and who fell on the nasty end of the spectrum, in terms of his attitude. He even attempted to raise his voice at me once. Yeah, I quickly reminded him that I don’t work for him and even if I did, I wouldn’t put up with his B.S. I told him to stop being so insecure and chill. Let’s just say, we haven’t had any problems since. 

But, he still had problems with others. His relationship with his children was suffering and it was getting worse by the day. To his credit, he expressed a genuine interest in a solution.

Now, I’m definitely no counselor. However, I knew from personal experience that when you give, or make meaning, it changes you in an instant. You begin to see differently.

I suggested that he take his children to a food bank or a homeless shelter and serve.

Simple, right?

Well, not for him. He wanted to write a check. Typical.

Yeah, Insecurity shows up in some interesting ways.

Anyway, I explained to him that this action was more for his kids than him.

After some prodding, he reluctantly took clothes to a homeless shelter along with his children. 

It was magical. The shelter and some of the patrons were incredibly thankful. His daughter cried and his son was engaged, but silent. They both were clearly touched by the outpouring of thanks.

My friend? He, like his son, was engaged, but silent.

On the ride back, not much was said. Then, he uttered words that still reverberate to this day: “I faced my biggest fear today – being broke again. More importantly, my children are finally seeing their father. I don’t have to hide anymore.”

The good news is, they continue to give in person as a family. The better news is, his relationship with his children has never been better. Yes, he is still ornery from time to time. Look, bad habits take some time to break. But, he is a lot better human being than he was then.

Although I do very little individual coaching anymore, a prerequisite for the few new clients I do take on is them agreeing to perform some “Purpose Project”. In other words, if you aren’t willing to serve, I’m not willing to work with you. That’s because I know how making meaning will positively affect their lives and those they touch. It will make them a profoundly better human being. This, I know for sure.

I’m just a regular dude who has his moments too. When they arise, and they do arise, I immediately think of serving. I instantly feel better. Why? Because it’s not about me and my crap. It’s about giving. It’s about serving. It’s about making meaning. 

Here’s the bottom line: If you seek to make money before you make meaning, then your life won’t have any meaning when you do make money.

Yep, make meaning and memories, and the money will be so much sweeter. That’s the formula for a successful life.

Now, go make meaning as you fill your second cup.