Most issues in life are never seen the way they really are. Therefore, to ask someone to say things the way they really are will produce misleading results, at best. We view issues from our perspectives. This is the reason why when you ask ten people their opinions on a particular issue; you will very likely get ten different perspectives.
While it is proper or, better still, healthy for us to have different perspectives on issues, there’s no excuse for having the wrong perspective on issues. After having the right perspective on who God is, His purpose for our lives and how we are to relate with Him, the next issue we can’t afford a wrong perspective on is money. I’ve written a couple of articles on the subject of money that anything I say here may border on repetition. However, let’s consider the biggest source of money (income) to the vast majority of the people, that is, a paycheck.
Perspectives on paycheck
I’ve seen a couple of cars with stickers that read, “My take home pay can’t take me home.” The first time I saw this, as funny as it sounded, I couldn’t laugh. Rather I pitied the owner of the car. Though the car looked every inch luxurious indicating that it probably belonged to someone whose income is above average, still I thought: “With this kind of mindset, this guy will soon go broke.” The only thing that would save him is if he was already doing something positive about his paycheck.
Most people have a warped view of their paycheck. Even when they are not bold enough to express their disdain for their paychecks on their cars, spend a few minutes with them and you will find out that they hate their jobs and, invariably, their paychecks!
Purpose of a paycheck
When you don’t know the purpose of a thing, you abuse it. Many people abuse their paychecks because they don’t know their purpose. What then is the purpose of a paycheck? you ask. Well, I was fortunate to come across a speaker early in my personal development effort who said, “A paycheck serves two critical purposes: it provides a means of survival for you and the family; secondly, it offers you an opportunity for success.” Not long after, I also listened to a Gospel preacher who said, “Your salary is a seed in your hand…” These two statements literally revolutionized my perception of what my paycheck was all about.
If your salary is paid as and when due, you may not appreciate how vital it is to your survival. However, it shouldn’t be a difficult experiment to perform. One thing you can do is to give your bank a standing instruction to place your full salary payments for the next three months in an interest bearing account such that all the funds will mature at a future date. After that, see how you survive without borrowing. In case you’re thinking, “But I am still spending my time on the job”, you can try what I described above during your vacation and see what you’re able to achieve with your time. I bet that your survival efforts during this period will set you up for something that will refine your thinking about your paycheck.
Early in my career, there was a time I forgot to withdraw money for the weekend. Fortunately, I had enough to eat and drink but I didn’t have toothpaste at home. It was a weekend I would never forget. I resorted to the traditional way of cleaning my teeth (only an African will understand what this is). For this reason, I couldn’t go out not only because I didn’t have money, but because the freshness of my breath wasn’t there.
This experience made me appreciate both the value of money and my job. I thought, “So if I don’t have money, it will be difficult to do something as simple as brushing my teeth”. That weekend, I made up my mind never to find myself in a situation whereby I’ll not have money on me. Since then I’ve introduced scenario planning into my affairs. One of such scenario planning is, ‘What if I lose my job?’
As a farmer (I read Agricultural Economics for my first degree) and a Christian, I understand all about seedtime and harvest time. So I can relate with the idea that my salary is a seed in my hand. Seeds are to be planted. No farmer dares eats his seed. If he does, he and his family will go hungry at harvest time. It is in seeing your paycheck as a seed and dealing with it the way a farmer treats his seed that paves the way for success. Expecting your paycheck to take you home as it were is a wrong perspective. It is when you sow your paycheck that it will generate cash flows that will eventually get you home.
What to do with a paycheck
In the final analysis, your paycheck is meant to be sown into your desired future, which is that thing you will do happily even when you’re not paid for it. Once you’ve discovered it, invest part of your paycheck into becoming the best person at that thing. When you do this, you would have created an opportunity for your success.
From personal experience, I can say without a doubt that beyond a paycheck, your employer is actually giving you an opportunity to discover yourself. Your employer does this by giving you a platform where you can prove what you’re capable of doing. The opportunity for self-discovery is the most important benefit an employee derives from being gainfully employed.
When next you receive your paycheck, I urge you to see it in the light of the foregoing and your life will never be the same.
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