At last, we have arrived at the last piece of the map.
At first glance, you might think that today’s topic is straightforward enough.
Once financial freedom is at hand, we have the time and money to be able to give. This brings to mind an appeal dished out during broadcasted charity drives: If you have money, give money. If you have strength (time), then give that (有钱出钱，有力出力).
However, this article will challenge that notion. In fact, it is the most challenging one of this series – as befitting of the saying to “save the best for last”.
This is because at the root of our actions lies our beliefs.
For example: If we believe that good grades will land us a good job, then we will study hard.
On the other hand, if we believe that experience and connections work better, then we will spend time developing ourselves in those areas.
Similarly, if travelling makes us richer, then in exploratory journeys we will embark.
But if travelling only means a depletion in the bank account, then perhaps we will find some other use for the time and money which we deem to be better spent.
As you can tell, the outcomes behind these actions are spurred by personal interpretations. After all, no amount of knowledge can best your own experience – your own truths.
An overseas community project
I recall my time in Laos when I had joined an overseas community project in my first year of university. Our group’s objectives were to share basic English with a local village school, and to impart IT skills to the teachers there.
We had embarked on the trip with the intention of giving as much as we could.
But by the end of our two-week stay, it was evident that there were other outcomes which we hadn’t prepared for.
We gave our time and resources, thinking that we were making some kind of difference to their lives…
As the days passed, we couldn’t help but start to question.
Given the short-term nature of the project, was this initiative able to make a sustainable difference? Even if there were successive groups after us to give the project longevity, the timing was by and large limited to semester breaks. We could only wonder about the actual impact that it had on the villagers and the extent of the “success” of our project.
Eventually, we came to the conclusion that such trips were likely to benefit us – the supposed givers, more than villagers, who were the intended recipients.
At least for me, the project imparted the following lessons, that are my personal truths:
- I am privileged to be born and raised in Singapore.
- Appreciate the simple joys of life – even without material luxuries, all is comfy and well.
- Communication cannot be limited by the spoken language.
We gave, but we received so much more.
The law of giving and receiving
While this Laotian encounter could be said to relate to reinvesting in experiences, it is also one whereby giving resulted in much more being received.
Here, there is a law in operation: The law of giving and receiving.
This law is based on the theory that everything in the universe operates through an exchange. There is a flow of energy. Just like cause and effect, if you give, you shall receive.
This means that the way to amplify what you want to see, is to first give to others.
By the way, this giving more than concerns resources like time or money. It is also applicable to intangible desires of love, joy, and appreciation.
An important note is the spirit in which the giving is conducted. A negative example would be to have an expectation of reciprocity or some form of return. That becomes an exchange, not a gift.
Being conscious in your ability to be a blessing, without holding expectations of any return, amplifies and empowers your actions. It gives you a satisfaction that you are able to do good regardless of your circumstances. It adds meaning to your life.
Plus, according to this law, you end up receiving more than you have given away. It is truly better to give than to receive.
The law of attraction
In the same context of giving, there is another perspective that we can adopt. According to the law of attraction, like attracts like. Focusing on positive thoughts or actions brings about positive experiences in our lives.
So, being a giver attracts other givers to give to you too. This brings to mind the saying that birds of the same feather flock together. Surely it makes sense to surround yourself with people who can lift you higher and spread positive energy.
There is a second part to the law of attraction which states that nature abhors a vacuum. A practical understanding would be an empty piece of furniture which “attracts” items to fill it up. It could be a drawer, cabinet, shelf, or wardrobe – if there is space, we would most definitely have it filled eventually.
Perhaps this can also translate to opening a bank account, and filling it with sufficient liquidity. Or in a foodie-setting, an empty tummy becomes an opportunity to replenish on yummy things…
Anyway, there is a third and final part to the law of attraction: The present is always perfect.
The key is to understand that we have the ability to attract whatever we want by first taking action. We have the ability to make this present situation as perfect as possible. By beholding that vision and acting towards it, our desired reality will eventually materialize.
One of the reasons why people set out on the conquest of financial freedom is because they do not derive joy from work. If that is so, let’s see how we can apply the law of attraction here.
Aside from leaving the job, are there steps you could take to make the situation as perfect as possible? Think of what that would look like. Then, start working towards it, beginning with the smallest step. Keep the momentum going.
In the process of overcoming your challenges, you would not only have refined your character, but likely also attracted the attention of your employer in a positive way. Even if the latter did not take place, there is room for prospective employers to see your strengths. Opportunities find their way to you like bees to honey.
The law of abundance
Even when we think about money, it means that there is actually enough money for everyone who knows how to acquire it.
The difference lies first in your beliefs, and secondly in your actions.
Do you believe that everything that you could need and want, is waiting and available to you? It’s a question of how you take hold of them and bring them into your reality.
To adopt a macro-perspective, how much money we earn is often tied to how much value we are perceived to contribute. While this is not a wholly accurate representation, this principle also means that problem-solvers are highly-rewarded. That is also why entrepreneurs are often lauded for their achievements. The more challenging the issue solved or need met, the greater the return.
- Money shouldn’t be spent. Go for the cheapest option, even if it means discomfort. Taking anything and everything free is the best way to go.
- Opportunities and resources are limited. Use sparingly.
- Risks are dangerous. Try nothing.
- Success is temporary and non-replicable. It’s all luck.
- Everything that happens is a result of other people’s decisions and choices. Just being one of many victims.
Having an impoverished mindset will not lead to an abundant life.
Also, the conquest of financial freedom should not be a means to an end.
Laws of financial freedom
While all this may seem foreign or counterintuitive in the beginning, they actually work in tandem, even overlapping at some points.
Instead of a vicious cycle, it results in a virtuous cycle. Constructive feedback effects positive outcomes. These continually reinforce each other, bringing to life a better present and future.
When it comes to financial freedom, this illustration of money aptly sums these laws up:
“Money is not like rain, which you can collect in a container and hoard. It is more like a never-ending river, and if you channel it well, more will flow your way. The bigger your heart, the more you will be blessed. The more you give, the more you will have to give. Money should go beyond your personal need and comfort for it to make sense.”
Can you see how to apply these laws?
Ultimately, these will only make sense if you experience them as your personal truths.
We do not have to be financially free to start giving. On the contrary, it is our beliefs and actions that will activate these laws into reality.
Now that we are going Beyond Borders in the conquest of financial freedom, again we are reminded of the reasons why we started on this journey.
Personally, I think what gives our lives meaning is to be part of something bigger than ourselves. While I am levelling up in the area of financial freedom, it is more important that concurrently, the journey has its joys and challenges. The levelling up is simply the result of a purposeful wandering.
This is my truth, and I hope you find yours too.
This concludes the series on the Road To Financial Freedom. Coming up next will be a round-up of the highlights, as we prepare to embark on a brand new series. As always, stay tuned!
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