Yaks, Drachmas, and Orange Juice



Cattle, shells, coins, leather, paper, bits and bytes…we humans created money so I wouldn’t have to lug my yak over to your place to get a fabulous shoe shining. What if you didn’t even need a yak? There I am, stuck with scuffed shoes and a bunch of extra yaks.

For a currency to represent anything of value, enough people have to agree on that representation. The minute that Confederate notes, drachmas, or Pan Am frequent flyer miles are no longer accepted by enough people, they’re useless to me. And no one can convince me to accept gil for my consulting services because I don’t play Final Fantasy. Currency is about faith. I’ll give you a mouth-watering batch of fresh monkey bread and you’ll give me some bits of dirty paper? Are you kidding? I’ll only accept that if I have faith that I can then pass off that paper for something I want, like some decent anti-frizz serum that doesn’t have carcinogens in it.

There is no “true” value of money…it’s always shifting because it’s based on something so personal. Money represents only what I choose for it to represent to me. That includes emotions.<

Here’s the kicker: Once I get that I am responsible for how I relate to money and what it represents, I get that I am free to design that relationship. I get insights into areas in which money is limiting me, and I get to have breakthroughs in those areas.

One of my favorite money stories started with orange juice. I used to buy the cheap stuff – the kind that is sold in a plastic half-gallon jug – the store brand, of course. I really enjoyed it, plus I felt good about being economical. That’s what orange juice was. To me, there was nothing else on the shelf.

David, my husband, invited me to try the pricey stuff. With pulp, in the cardboard container marked “Not from concentrate.” At first I brushed off the invitation. I have no use for expensive OJ.

Then I tried some…and instantly realized that I would never again buy that Brightly Colored Liquid Substance Formerly Known as Orange Juice.

That phenomenon of not seeing the other choices on the shelf? This is known as a “blind spot.” Seeing them for the first time and having a new, finer experience of life as a result? A breakthrough.

My blind spot pertained to missing out on the full richness that life had to offer because I let cost stand in the way even though I had sufficient funds. Others’ blind spots include not realizing that it’s possible to enjoy a financially sustainable life without debt; thinking that one must choose between a healthy paycheck and a fulfilling job; believing that having a “rainy day” savings account would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Do you know someone with a financial blind spot? What do you wish that this person realizes and then achieves?