If you were offered $35,000 a year to sit at a toll booth and collect change from cars crossing a bridge, would you take the job?

Or would you decline and look for the next opportunity?

What if you were paid $100,000, $200,000 or $300,000 for the same task? Would you take the job?

What if you were paid $1 a year to sit at the same tollbooth?

For myself, I would not sit at the tollbooth for any amount of money because money earned at the tollbooth is “dead money”.

We are human “be-ings” not human “do-ings”.

Daily tasks that help us become the person we want to become create life, energy and success. These tasks have purpose, feed our spirits and nourish our souls; By performing tasks we enjoy, we become the person we want to “Be”.

If a task or job does not bring us closer to the person we want to become, we earn dead money and in some ways, waste our time, effort and energy.

Eventually if you earn enough dead money, you won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

Dead money is a term I learned from Raymond Aaron, a New York Times best selling author. Raymond explained that the money he earned from his published books that were unaligned with his core purpose were “dead money”. In some ways, these books hurt his brand, wasted years of his life and were very expensive in opportunity cost.

In my own business, I make sure every action I do advances my career by building brand-equity or by earning cash AND brand equity. If I am able to monetize my actions and build my brand equity at the same time, I make the biggest gains in spirit and in my bank account.

My mentality is: Even if I earn $0 at the end of the year, but have built a $1,000,000 brand, I succeed. Steve Jobs paid himself a salary of $1 while he was the CEO at apple because his mission was to build the company and put a dent in the universe by challenging the status quo. I have a similar philosophy to Steve Jobs who I have idolized since 6th grade when I first learned about who he was and kept a picture of him on my desk at school.

I am fortunate enough to aware of my brand and purpose, the average person does not consider his or her brand, his brand equity, who he is, who he wants to become or where he is going in life. For the average person, this is very unfortunate.

These people are stuck in “dead end” jobs that are either high paying or low paying and every dollar they earn is a “dead dollar”. The dollars they earn do not build their dream or advance their career.

If you earn enough “dead dollars” you will eventually build the bars of an emotional prison.

Money is a medium of exchange and a currency because it needs to move in order to be relevant and useful like electricity or water.

If money stops moving, money dies.

If people stop moving for long enough, people die.

If the spirit stops moving, the spirit dies.

If you are earning money in your career, but are NOT moving towards becoming the person you wish to become, your career and spirit will eventually die.

Years ago I used to work Frito-Lay, the company that makes Lay’s chips and Doritos. I used to put chips on shelves at Wal-Mart every morning at 4:00 am and I earned a disproportionately high salary for doing so. Walmart employees stocking chips at 4:00am were making $8 per hour, I was making closer to $20 per hour to do the exact same task.

However, every dollar I earned was dead money.

The money was dead because although I was earning money daily, I was not advancing towards my goal of becoming an entrepreneur. The money was good, but my soul was dying. I was becoming a professional shelf stocker and not a professional entrepreneur. I was NOT advancing towards the person I wanted to become. The life that I wanted was not being built with my actions and consequently I was earning dead money that did not help me in my pursuit of happiness.

Many people think that earning money in itself is a good return on time, but in fact, earning dead money is a complete waste of time, waste of spirit and a waste of life.

Would you rather live a life of poverty doing what you love or a life of riches in a life of indifference?

Most people will say that they would rather do what they love and live in poverty. However, 70% of people are not happy with their current jobs or current careers.

70% of people earn dead money every day.

A wise man once said “Talk is cheap and money buys the whiskey.” What this wise man is saying is that most people say whatever makes them sound good: “I would rather do what I love” but their actions do not align with their words.

Remember: Talk is cheap and Money buys the whiskey.

I’m not saying that we should choose a life of poverty out of passion to pursue what we love. I’m a firm believer that we can “have our cake and eat it too”.

I think it’s 100% possible to do what you love, monetize it and become rich.

I believe you can have it all, happiness, love and money. When it comes to happiness, love and money; there is always enough for everyone.

Obtaining happiness and money is a topic of major study for myself at this time in my life. What I find is that the more I love my career, the more I love my daily routine, the more fun I enjoy, and the more money I make.

Fun = money.

Love = money.

Enthusiasm = money.

Money = life.

The more fun, love and enthusiasm I enjoy, the more life I have, and my wallet benefits as well.

I have abandoned the pursuit of “dead money” and if a task or job doesn’t line up with my mission, my vision and who I want to become, I will not perform it.

Do what you love and the money always comes.

Complete the mission and the money always comes.

Provide enough value and the money always comes.

Money is a result of a job well done; it is an effect, not a cause. Actions performed at a level of excellence equate to money earned. Money itself can never motivate someone to be better, achieve excellence or create more value because money intrinsically has no value.

Money is intrinsically dead, we are the ones who breathe life into money. People are the ones who attach external value to money and we use it to build our dreams.

Money is neutral and money doesn’t care. Money doesn’t cry for you when you are sad and money won’t drink champagne with you when you want to celebrate.

Money will, however, buy you a bottle of champagne.

Money can either be alive or dead depending on how we earn it. It is up to us as the wielders of money to respect the neutrality of money, breathe life into money and allow money to flow through us in our personal pursuit of happiness.

Money, life, spirit, happiness, enthusiasm and joy are all currencies and we must allow them to flow.

If we allow money, life, spirit, happiness, enthusiasm and joy to flow through us, we will become congruent. We will prove our integrity and the universe will reward us for respecting it’s laws and creating abundance.

If we shut off our spirit, enthusiasm and joy, then we also deactivate the spiritual power of money and the power of life.

If we deactivate the spiritual power of money, the money we earn will die the moment it touches our hands. Instead of using our earned money to build our dreams, our dead money will build an emotional prison around us where we are forced into slavery for the all-mighty dollar.

When we align with the person we want to become, we earn the Midas touch and everything we touch turns to gold. When we are out of alignment, we earn the touch of death.

Ask yourself; do my daily actions help me become the person I want to become? Am I earning dead money? What is my purpose? How am I achieving my purpose?

We all have the Midas touch if we can find our purpose deep down inside of ourselves. Respect money as a tool; respect the neutrality of money and the power of money. Allow money to live and money will let you live the life of your dreams.

Disobey money, kill money and you will find yourself in financial prison. Don’t let money die.

Protect money and it will protect you.

Respect The Grind,
Stefan Aarnio