Sinners repent! Can the 7 Deadly Sins of life be translated to wealth and success? You bet.
When I drink too much caffeine and can’t sleep, I turn to the Church Channel. Once I tune in, I usually fall asleep within minutes.
While listening during my last insomniac episode, the pastor discussed the 7 Deadly Sins of life. As I dozed off and subconsciously absorbed the message, I was amazed at how much the deadly sins correlated to general happiness, success, and financial freedom.
Of course, I use the term “wealth” as a synonym for both financial freedom and happiness. Feel free to apply your own personal definition. Here are the translations:
Deadly Sin #1: GLUTTONY
Not a week goes by when I don’t read an article about a star NFL athlete or once-famous actor who is now broke. It was recently reported that Terrell Owens earned $80 million dollars over his career and is teetering now near bankruptcy.
For wealth, deadly sin #1 is gluttony where you spend everything you earn, and then more.
In my book, The Millionaire Fastlane, I characterize these individuals as Sidewalkers. Sidewalkers live paycheck-to-paycheck, contract to contract, gig-to-gig, deal-to-deal, and spend every dollar they earn on lifestyle improvement. Lifestyle is directly correlated to income. If you earn $40K/year, you’re buying $40 jeans. If you earn $400K/year, you’re buying $400 jeans.
The shocking news about the Sidewalking mindset is that it is blind to income and akin to a casino — the Sidewalk, or lack of financial discipline, doesn’t care how much you make because in the end, the casino always wins. While it seems Terrell was less of an extravagant spender than your average star athlete, his mortgage payments on 3 properties scattered across the country is reportedly almost $750,000/year.
REPENT: Always live below your means with an INTENT TO EXPAND your means. The Fastlane is about exponential income while keeping expenses linear. Unfortunately, follow most financial talking-heads and they will have you focusing on the wrong variable in the wrong equation. Expense dickery (cut the coffee, cancel the movie channels) won’t make you a millionaire in a decade or less; an explosive income (or asset) will.
Deadly Sin #2: LUST
Lust causes us to make poor choices, and poor choices will put you in the poor-house. Sources report that Terrell Owens has 4 baby-mamas. Here is an excerpt from the GQ article:
Friends may not be calling, or teams, but lawyers, a slew of them, definitely have him on speed dial. Especially those who represent the four women to whom he pays a total of $44,600 a month in child support for his four children, ages 5 to 12: “If there’s anything I’m sorry about, it’s getting involved with all that.” He never actually dated any of the women, he says. One was a one-night stand, the others “repeat offenders.”
Owens, who has never been married, concedes he is “not a very good judge of character.” Still, he “never suspected they were the types to do what they done in the past year.” Last summer, when the money started to dry up for real and the extent of his financial disaster became clear, he reduced the amount he paid to each of the women. Three of them sued him. When he failed to show up for a court date with the mother of his oldest child, Tariq, because it conflicted with his public tryout, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. “She wouldn’t reschedule,” he says, his hands reaching out unconsciously as if strangling an imaginary neck. “She’d pressed me in a deposition about if I intended to try to get on another team, but then when I do the workout, do what I can to get work, this is what she does.”
Now he is in court with all four women, whom he lumps together like one big bloodsucking blob. None of them are being fair, he says: “They know I’m not working; they know the deal.” Although he never established regular visitation with any of the children through the courts, he says he sees the eldest three as much as he can when their mothers allow it. So bitter is his relationship with the mother of the youngest child, a son, that he has never met the boy.
When you “gotta have something” you will constantly put yourself into troublesome circumstances. From that gorgeous busty model in the VIP section at the club to that brand new Acura financed over 60 years at 20% interest.
REPENT: Pay close attention to those “must have” things. Will they introduce “can’t avoid” consequences into your life? Every action you take has potential consequences. Most people can’t critically think past the point of “feel good”. If you’re 30 years old and have 4 baby-mamas, you’ve just shackled several decades of “can’t avoid” consequences into your life. Will that hot one-night-stand be an evening you will never forget? And for the wrong reason? Yes, that brand new car will make you feel good for a few weeks, but what about next year when the newer, latest-and-greatest model comes out and you’re stuck with that “cant afford” $699/mo payment for the next 5 years?
Deadly Sin #3: GREED
Greed will not only put you in the poor house, it will put you in the jail house.
People who are greedy are often exposed for fraud and end up on the front pages of the New York Times or in court. Greed has built many failed empires, from the fictional character Gordon Gekko, to the real life stories of Bernard Madoff, Enron, and HealthSouth.
Gekko said “greed is good” but it’s only good when it brings true value to the marketplace. Self-interest is responsible for a lot of great products that we happily consume.
Unfortunately, in some cases greed overtakes ethical and moral boundaries and becomes symbolic to the love of money at any cost. Greed can cause you to have a contemptuous disregard for what actually causes money to change hands.
Anyone can make millions by lying, cheating, and deceiving because the value equation is distorted beyond the legitimate marketplace offerings. When a small internet bank offers you a 10% one year CD and the closest competitor is offering 1%, the value equation is distorted causing “easy money” to flow.
Uncontrolled greed is a sign that you lack the patience to build a legitimate value equation that the world will honor. In contempt for the process, the shortcut is taken and a deceitful value equation is offered. (12% guaranteed return! Forced matrix guarantees you’ll earn $1,000s for 45 seconds of work per day!) In other words, you overpromise and underdeliver. Here are some great cons perfected by GREED.
REPENT: Understand that money is a byproduct of value. The more value you provide, the more money you make. Uncontrolled greed will misrepresent the value equation in order to cheat the value exchange. Whenever you see “too good to be true” you’re probably seeing greed, not extraordinary value!
Deadly sin #4: SLOTH
Apathy will kill anything.
From “passive income” businesses to that blooming marigold on the window sill. The world is constantly evolving. If you make a living on the internet, the evolution is 10X as quick. If you sit back and bask in your accomplishments, you’ll find that someone else has come along and taken the spotlight.
This *sin* was the #1 reason why I sold my company — I was apathetic and no longer enjoyed the process. A sale was a no brainer because to “sit back” and enjoy the nice cash flow would have been a slow-drip death. Our businesses, and our lives, must constantly evolve with change.
As they say, the only constant is CHANGE. The good news? Change, and the disruption it causes, is what creates millionaires. Ebooks are disrupting publishing. (I now own a publishing company). Blogs are disrupting newspapers. The internet killed the Yellow Pages. Mobile/tablet apps are disrupting the internet. Disruption ensures that the grave penalty for sloth is death.
REPENT: If you’re not growing, you’re dying. I like to follow a path of KAIZEN which is Japanese for continual improvement. Everyday I try to improve on something, no matter how marginal. It could be something as so simple as learning a new CSS or HTML tag. Marginal daily gains equals spectacular yearly gains. Although with continual improvement, there is one caveat: Be careful not to get lost in “future thinking” — the old “Ill be happy ‘when this’, ‘when that'” syndrome. Enjoy the moment and relish your daily improvements. Love today and be excited about tomorrow.
Deadly Sin #5: ANGER
I’d rather be a happy thousandaire than an angry millionaire.
I heard to harbor rage and anger at someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Anger can be a powerful motivator, but it isn’t the emotion I’d want to rely on.
One expectation I prepared for prior to authoring a book was the idea that I would face “haters” or people who didn’t like what I had to say.
Newsflash: This is normal.
Anytime you stand for something, especially something that is an outlier position, you will face headwinds. Anytime you expand your horizons and risk putting yourself out there, you will face this kind of negativity.
Don’t get angry because anger doesn’t change their reality, it can only change yours. Why on earth would you give some idiot who thinks the best use of his time is to troll YouTube spreading his negative mindset, this kind of power?
No matter how many people write false or negative things about me, I don’t allow it to impact my life. When a blogger writes The Millionaire Fastlane sucks, and/or MJ’s message sucks, does it alter the dream I am living? Nope. The best revenge is living well.
REPENT: Expect headwinds (haters, liars, negative Nancys) on your journey. Not everyone likes coffee– why get upset at those who don’t?
Deadly Sin #6: ENVY
In the movie, Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps, Shia Lebouf asks the rich financier, Josh Brolin “How much money is enough? What number is enough for you?” His answer?
I believe MORE is ENVY.
Envy is a prescription for unhappiness because there will always be someone else with something better, bigger, and faster. In other words, the illusion of MORE never arrives. MORE keeps you confined in future thinking and denies all the joys of your present.
Instead, find your ENOUGH.
I’ve found my enough and while MORE would be a sweet surprise, I don’t need it.
If I wanted MORE (4 Lamborghinis instead of 1, or a 12,000 square ft house instead of 4,500) I’d be in trouble. I’d be back on the treadmill of the rat race facing sleepless nights and pressure filled deadlines. When you want for nothing and find your ENOUGH, it’s a great place to be. Find your ENOUGH and you’ll find happiness too.
REPENT: Strive for more, but know how much and what exactly is your enough. Be grateful for what you have. (Many people around the world don’t have clean water, toilets, food, etc.) You might be shocked at how close you are to “enough” — once you get there, you gain immunity from the rampant message of consumerism. My personal turning point of happiness was at age 27 and ironically, I was broke — it was the 1st time in my life I was fully self-supportive via entrepreneurship.
Deadly Sin #7: PRIDE
I see a troublesome pattern in today’s youth. They are terribly self-absorbed and self-entitled. Play a sport and wham, you get a trophy regardless of performance, effort or improvement. People think they deserve everything without obedience to process, accomplishment, or effort.
Take out mortgage you can’t afford? You deserve a better rate.
Rear end grandma in a fender-bender? You deserve a large cash award from some rich insurance company.
Graduate from college? You deserve a high paying job, full with paid vacations and stock options.
We’re being mindlessly bred to believe we deserve everything without obedience to real effort or good decision-making. We’re being taught a laundry-list of narcissistic self-centered mantras such as live your dreams, follow your passion, “do what you love” and other market-indifferent proverbs.
This is PRIDE, an insidious evolution of the “you are special” crowd, an endowment ingratiated on everyone by simply existing.
If you want to be special, be special and make a difference in the life of someone else.
There is nothing special about normal. There is nothing special about doing nothing.
If you think you’re “too cool” “too hot” or “too smart” to be picking up dog shit or mopping floors at the local IHOP, you’ll likely never escape the confines of normal because you’ve already elevated yourself to a special, illusionary place in your mind.
Every day I get emails from readers who will take time to write me a note of thanks like “Your book was great” or “it changed my life.” — writing a book doesn’t make you or I special, only the impact that book has on others gives you the chance.
REPENT: Expect to get your hands dirty. Entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid of getting down in the mud aren’t afraid of failure nor the setbacks that come with the territory. Pride makes you fear failure and fear of failure will prevent you from acting. If you’re goal is to make $1M in 1 year and yet, you’re “too good” to figure out how to earn $1K in 1 month, you’re pride is standing in the way. You can’t help millions until you learn how to help one — often that will require a sacrifice and a swallowing of pride.
To conclude, the are a lot of seemingly wealthy people who are miserable and my bet is that their misery is financed from one or more of these sins. None of us are immune, including me.
In my younger years, I struggled with gluttony in many aspects of life, from food, to “stuff”. Now older and wiser, my bigger struggle is SLOTH, or apathy. I’m very content and happy — sometimes I categorize this as a potential sloth and haven’t quite learned how to deal with the guilt of always feeling the need to “do something”. Yes, on days when I do nothing, I sometimes feel guilty and wonder, I am being SLOTHFUL?
In your own life story, what sin(s) do you struggle with?