I am not a rich man. I'd like to be (one day), but I am not now. When I am, I will have more shit and travel more places, but I doubt I'll be a lot happier.
I've got a general thesis about money: it's an enabler, not an end in and of itself. Money does not wake up naked in bed with you on a Sunday morning nor does it hold an intelligent, riveting conversation. But it can buy you booze and let you live in a big city. Most importantly, it enables you to "have impact." That's a phrase one of my mentors coined today and I like it (thanks Seth!).
There's a few things that motivate me, and surely entertainment has its place. But really, my favorite thing is working with genuine people toward a common, substantive goal. And really, those two things go together: Good people want to do real shit.
If you want to find good people, start doing real shit. And what is real shit? It's a nebulous idea, I know, so I'll clarify: Things that have impact on the world, that affect how we live as a society and function as a species. The best people gravitate toward real accomplishment. They get frustrated with work (and people) that lacks substance. Assuming they've got the requisite guts, they quickly leave that which is safe and unsatisfying for greener pastures. And inevitably, they cluster together in networks of quality.
Since I quit my day job as a paramedic in NYC and went full-time on SpeakerText, I've found myself meeting some fantastic human beings. It's been awesome.
So to all you people I've met and interacted with over the last 6 weeks who've made my life better: Thank you. Leaving my old job and a steady source of income behind has been scary, and interacting with you has made me feel awesome about making the jump. Even if this startup thing were to crash & burn (it's not, we're doing some AWESOME stuff and making some killer progress on the biz dev side), I feel enriched already.
Anywho, I thought of this because I'm starting to notice that there's a positive correlation between wanting to have impact and overall trustworthiness and good character. And the people who just want money and are shameless opportunists, well, that correlates with something too, and it's not good.
Saying this aloud makes it sound obvious and trite, but c'est la vie. I am grateful.
And when you yourself are trying to figure a person out and judge their overall character and trustworthiness, I'd ask what you think it is that motivates them? Look at their past. Is it money they seek, is it fame or is it achievement?