BY MARY-ELIZABETH HARMON
Founding Mother, Chard & Stripes
Ken Honda was at a party when an unknown woman asked to look through his wallet. A startling request to Western ears, Honda says it’s not uncommon in Japan and he complied.
What startled him was that the woman went straight for his cash. She examined his large bills and was pleased: Honda’s money looked good, she said.
Honda was confused. What was she looking for? he wanted to know.
The way he tells it in his book, “Happy Money,” she was checking if his cash was smiling. She said…
Money can laugh or cry depending on how it’s given or received.
Like I said last time, I made just over $4,000 bucks in 2020 but close to $100k a year back in the day. The 2020 money was easy money. “Caregiving for my mother” money. The $100k-ish money was “Jesus help me!” money that I made in despair.
Rich means lots of money. Wealth means happy money.
Wealth means more than happy money, but I prefer “prosperity” to mean wealth in all ways. So, Chard Mail: Wealth will be about financial wealth.
It will be about making money doing soul work. Fun work. Work that gets us out of bed, work.
And it will be about not making money at all but simply receiving it, like when my coworker put me in his will. That wasn’t a great way to get money, but the money itself was happy. It was money, my coworker’s sister said, that my work mate bequeathed because of his esteem for me.
Money given from fondness—even in death—is happy money.
Are you ready for happy money?
If you’re thinking, Duh, don’t be so sure.
Ask yourself, “How do I respond to compliments?”
Compliments are gifts. If you turn down gifts for work well done, don’t assume you’ll act differently with cash. You might, but chances are good that you won’t. Unless, of course, the cash comes in a way you deem acceptable, like in a birthday card or as a work bonus.
We have so many beliefs about money. Sadly, most of them work against happy money.
We believe we must earn our money.
Work hard for our money.
And that it’s reckless—or crass—to dream of making money by making art.
But rejoice because beliefs can change.
Happy money grows in our lives—or doesn’t—from our beliefs, which are simply thoughts we think so much they stick, for better or worse.
If your money isn’t happy, it’s time to think differently and form new habits.
You/we/I can choose to change beliefs in a snap, even if new ones take time to stick. Still, we can “behave as if” before wealthy beliefs and habits become ingrained.
Right now, my money is more funny than happy. But my goal is much happy money, which means “re-believing” and “re-habiting” is in my future. I’ll be sharing my journey through Chard Mail: Wealth in the hopes you’ll be jazzed to come along.
If that sounds good and you’re ready to go, …
It’s time to start thinking, “It’s wonderful for me to be wealthy.”
If you can’t accept that just yet, turn the statement into a question:
“Why would it be wonderful for me to be wealthy?”
Writing down your answers is best, but thinking some up during chores is fine and good. Keep brainstorming answers—not all at once, necessarily—until you hit upon something that grabs you.
And if an answer gives you the shivers—good shivers—definitely write it down and put it somewhere to read should you ever feel broke or think there’s no use in having bank. Big bank.
It’s time to start accepting gifts, even ones that you don’t want.
You can always pass them on to someone else.
So why bother taking them?
Because most of us are good at giving but poor at receiving.
But remember: Money laughs or cries depending on how it’s given or received.
I’ve struggled to give people money and have turned it down myself to avoid feeling indebted or like a charity case. But that’s nonsense: Billionaires take tax cuts with impunity.
If you’ve turned down money, or suspect you could, increase your capacity for wealth by increasing your capacity to receive with joy. You can “re-habit” by accepting any and all gifts with a smile.
Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Harmon is a scientist turned storyteller and Founding Mother of Chard & Stripes, a “school” of prosperity making and word-of-mouth marketing platform for kind people, products and businesses in food, fashion & more. Subscribe to her newsletter here.