So much attention is placed on money in our society and making said money. We equate having or not having it with our own value, self-worth, power, freedom and respect. And what is money-- is it just a unit of financial significance, a measurement of success, or as some billionaires says, a way of keeping score. I really believe it is none of these. We are so focused on the score of the game that we often overlook the game. I think it is clear that we as a money obsessed society miss the whole idea that money is simply energy with enormous work potential bundled around it.
We have attached too much superficial meaning to the accumulation and procurement of money that we fail to see that we have enslaved ourselves to this concept to the extent we are not participating in the game, i.e. life. As HSPs, we inherently understand the fundamentals of money acquisition and possess many of the characteristics needed to acquire money, but more often than not, refuse to play the game or participate because of the taxing nature on our personalities. Let’s look at this.
HSPs are by nature, cautious creatures. That makes us less likely to be willing to engage in behavior that risk assaulting our sensibilities. We are in many ways risk averse. However, according to Dr. Tracy Cooper, about twenty percent of HSPs are high sensation seeking individuals. So, we are not entirely a tribe of non-risk takers. Those high sensation seeking HSPs are like other risk takers, looking for novel experiences, able to disinhibit long enough to engage in risky behavior and can get bored easily with the same old, same old. And HSPs are naturally curious and creative souls that like connecting disparate dots to make new ideas happen.
So, why don’t more HSPs become prominent in business or startups or in the art of making money? Why aren’t we front and center on getting promotions at work, implementing our ideas in the marketplace, making sales, pitching our ideas to investors, sticking our necks out there, and risking everything for an idea that has money making potential? Oddly, I don’t think it’s the risk that factors in here.
One has to consider the nature of business, or the nature of making money. One is either in the business of labor creation or in the business of labor offering. The motive of all business is to make profit for the enterprise. Economic purists would argue that this is a noble and time honored task. To profit in a business is to be efficient and innovative – two things HSPs are fairly good at. To profit in business is to be able to provide rewards to shareholders and owners and to perpetuate the business as an entity.
Much like evolutionary survival, a strong, profitable business thrives and continues. And much like a true reflection of Darwin’s evolution of species; modern, capitalistic business, must compete to survive. And, survival becomes the prime objective. Think of crushing competition, dominating the marketplace and hoarding resources this is what we prize in our culture. It’s what we deem as winning (watching the scoreboard).
This applies equally to individuals at a micro-economic level, too. And it comes back to how we earn, acquire and accumulate money. It’s how things get done and it’s rampant in our culture. There is a little lechery in any business that is purely out to make money, in spite of high moral posturing with mission statements and company visions. Does this put off HSPs? Surely, for some of us. Does it intimidate us? Quite possibly, for many of us. Do our collective moral compasses steer us away from being business “savvy”, and drawn away from the whole proposition of making money? Well if you think about, social Darwinism, an unwritten credo of modern big business, is so non-HSP. Is this how HSPs define winning? I doubt it.
What drives entrepreneurs? What types of personality characteristics make for a good startup CEO? Most sources agree that successful entrepreneurs are risk takers, highly confident, and have a love for learning new things. They, also, are wired for failure resiliency, perhaps aided by an undying passion for their endeavor and a high degree of adaptability and tenacity. In addition, they display great social skills, like networking for results, money management skills-- which require an “its just business” attitude, and self-promotion and charisma.
How does that match up with generalized HSP characteristics? Well, in some places well. We are creative and innovative thinkers, and as noted some of us like risk. We love to learn and appreciate novelty. Where we fall short are those areas where quick decision making, supreme confidence, the gift of bullshitting your way into someone else’s pocket book without guilt and an outward focus on output with an inward drive on self-aggrandizement. In other words, welcome to ego El Supremo. It’s rare to find a consciously aware billionaire, maybe even rarer to find an HSP billionaire.
So are we HSPs doomed to being poor or at least living a frugal life, because of some ineptness or inability to override our moral convictions to make “good” money? Do you think there’s an alternative universe out there that allows for doing the right thing and becoming wealthy as a result? Is the nature of profit simply access to excess? Really folks, is there something inherently wrong about making money that makes money distasteful and disgusting?
Perhaps we need to re-frame the whole question. Is money or having money dirty, unsavory and undesirable? Frankly, I think it’s placing a value judgement on something that can’t be categorized that way. In and of itself it’s neutral. Having money or lacking money is neither good nor bad. Money is simple energy potential. It’s an agreed upon denomination for exchange of goods and services and represents energy.
Greed and selfishness, often associated with money are bad, but they are not money. Big Pharma extracting huge profits off the backs of sick people is bad, but the money they extract is not. It’s neutral. Doesn’t make it right, it’s still neutral. Yet, is it really noble and honorable to be materially bereft only to miss many of the material experiences your life could benefit from?
Where does this attitude or aptitude for not making money come from? By the age of seven money habits are formed in children that will last them a lifetime. Children learn their attitudes towards money from their parents. HSPs being the sensitive, intuitive and inquisitive types that we are, no doubt, pick up on many subtle cues from our parents that other children might miss. “We can’t afford that” or “that’s too expensive”, or “easy come, easy go”, might carry extra influence on HSPs because of the added emotional content our deep processing might add.
Because money has so many emotional implications in our lives, we as HSPs may grasp significance in terms of lack or abundance depending on how our parents framed money in their lives. This may in addition to the uncomfortableness of acquiring money, help shape HSP’s world view of money in their own lives. Or conversely, could HSPs override all of these apprehensions about money, due in part to an upbringing that emphasized confidence in money acquisition and success? Since money is our cultural barometer of success, could an early belief in ones self-worth and confidence, make one more likely to become more successful from a monetary standpoint, regardless of personality temperament or makeup?
I keep hearing over and over that HSPs tend to gravitate towards low wage earning jobs. In the end, is this a nature vs. nurture question. Is it our nature to go for easy flow, low paying jobs, or do we tend to move towards work that is part of familial or societal expectations and just gut it out? It would seem that many HSPs would avoid high profile money jobs because of the stress of it all. It doesn’t mean we couldn’t do it as many of us have.
Are HSPs so laid back that we only prefer low paying jobs and forego the high price of high wage jobs? Perhaps, generally, we tend towards simple life situations, with lots of quiet time, less money, but more personal freedom. If you follow our worries, you will see where our priorities are: ensuring downtime, are we close to nature, time for creativity and how to get personal peace. We then can smugly eschew the greed and selfishness of big profit jobs and business and revel in our low wage art gallery job, or a counseling job for a non-profit or writing a children’s book (that has sold millions of copies and been made into several blockbuster movies, re – J.K. Rowling). It can happen.
Some things to ponder:
Thanks for stopping by, until next week…
Bill Allen lives in Bend, Oregon. He is a certified hypnotist and brain training coach at BrainPilots.com. He believes that male sensitivity is not so rare, but it can be confounding for most males living in a culture of masculine insensitivity which teaches boys and men to disconnect from their feelings and emotions. His intent is to use this blog to chronicle his personal journey and share with others.