Health versus Economy

The human mind has three states: the reasonable mind, the emotional mind and the wise mind.

The reasonable part of our mind is where we use our logic and opinion.  We focus on what is right and what is wrong.  We use facts and details but it doesn’t consider other human qualities.  I worked many years as a corporate guy and I have met several people who are stuck with a job they don’t like.  The common reason they don’t leave is because their job allows them to put food on the table and meet their other basic needs.  It is logical and it is right.

The emotional part of our mind is the voice of the emotions we are feeling.  Our feelings can be happy, sad, fear, doubts, angry, fatigue, lonely, etc.  People who act based on their emotions are very easy to read because they tend to process less mentally the situation.  We need to veer away from making decisions when we are emotional because emotions are inconsistent and do not consider facts.  Today you can be bubble, tomorrow you can be sad and melancholic.  That is why you will see people who are emotional driven are unreliable and impulsive.  Many of my blunders in life were a result of impulses and pure feelings.

The wise mind is the balance between the reasonable and the emotional mind.  You are wise when you consider the feelings yet you are able to consider also the rational aspect.  The wise mind focuses on truth, understanding and objective.  These are people who are reflective and insightful.

We are in a precarious situation.  Ever since COVID19 hit us, there is this constant debate between health versus economy.  Many look at this issue as Life versus Money.  Some even go to the extent of quoting the most misquoted verse in the Bible which is the ‘money is the root of all evil’.  In this perspective, the issue becomes Good (Life) versus Evil (Money). To tackle this issue using this pattern of thinking is a recipe for disaster.

The wise way of tackling this issue is:

One, you need to get the facts straight.

First, money is not the root of all evil.  The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.

Second, health doesn’t pertain to just physical health. It also include mental, emotional and spiritual.  To be very specific, COVID19 is supposedly just a physical health crisis.

Third, economy is not just about money,  Economy creates jobs, jobs that allow people to put food on the table, to bring their children to schools, to buy things for their loved ones.  Isn’t it that is what life is all about?  We often times equate work or economy with money, which is wrong.  Work or Money is not life, but it is an enabler.

If you consider these facts, it is unwise to even consider looking at this issue as Health versus Economy.

The problem for us now is everyone is looking at the increasing number of cases of COVID19.  No one is keeping tabs on the number of people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional health concerns.

Two, I understand the plea of the doctors and medical frontliners.  What we need to understand also is everyone is exhausted. Everyone is hurting.  Thousands of companies have already closed.  Millions are unemployed and increasing.    Millions of families are or about to be displaced because they don’t have money to pay for rent or pay for their mortgage.  We have to consider also the pain of these people.  To send people into lockdown, prevent them from working and give them nothing to eat is murder.

Three, If we could have defined this problem properly, we could have managed this and isolated this problem as just a Public Physical health Crisis.

We did not use our wise mind and dragged our economy with this issue.

Looking in hindsight, was it even possible to deal and manage this crisis in isolation and not drag our economy with it?  I believe it was possible.  The problem was, we did not even care to consider it as a possibility.  We just acted on impulse and followed other countries.  Countries that are different and have more resources than us.

I believe in the Philippines that someday it will rise as a nation with character.  We just need to elect more wise people to lead us.

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Love and Money

There is a common practice or notion among Filipino families that they should bear more children so that in the future, their children will save them and pull them out of poverty.  So the more kids you have, the higher chances you have in gaining financial freedom.  When the kids grow up and are strong enough to earn money, their parents require them to remit money. Some parents would even stop working and tell their kids, “Kayo naman kumita ng pera at supportahan ‘tong pamilya” (It’s your turn to earn a living and support this family). Parents with this mindset equate love with money. That’s why when their kids don’t give enough, they are labelled as ‘walang utang na loob‘ (you are ungrateful).

If we want to grow as a nation, this practice has to stop in this generation.  It is a retrogression. As best-selling author Dean Pax Lapid wrote in his book Be Happy, Healthy, and Wealthy Today (co-authored by Bro. Bo Sanchez),  “Children are not investments with a rate of return; they are commitments of our parental love.”

As parents, we need to support our kids until the day we die without expecting anything in return.  We feed them, we send them to best schools possible, we equip them to be better citizens.  When they are ready, they will start their own family and love others.

It is not the obligation of our children to feed us, to shelter us and to provide us with our needs. If your children do these things to you, that is because they love you, not because it is their obligation.

For parents who require their children to remit money, I believe that deep inside, they don’t want that either. I believe nobody wants to feel helpless. They just don’t know of any other way of surviving.

I believe there are two reasons behind the existence of this practice:

1. Lack of financial knowledge.

For me, Financial Management is a life skill. It has to be taught in schools, regardless of the course. Whether you want to go into business, practice your profession or manage a household. A lot of people think that handling money is only for businessmen, accountants and financial advisers. Believe me. Everyone needs to learn this. There are lots of materials on the Internet and seminars offered everywhere.

I am an Accountant and I had this wrong thinking before that I will be able to learn Financial Management naturally. I was proud. I learned it the painful way. I made lots of business failures because I didn’t know anything about money. I am still learning up to this day. Knowledge and skills do not naturally come. You need to deliberately learn and practice them in order to embed them into your life.

If you are starting your career, don’t just learn the technicalities of your profession, learn how to handle money. Your financial wisdom should grow as well.

2. Believing that “Money is the root of all evil”

“Money is the root of all evil” is a crazy religious belief. It is the same reason why poor people hate the rich.

Money is just like any other resource. It is like gas, Internet, food, electricity, and so on. Our purpose defines the effect of these resources. Take for instance the Internet, if you connect to the Internet to research on how to reduce poverty then using the Internet is good. If you use Internet for pornography or sending the details of a drug trade, then using the Internet is bad. Another one is electricity. Electricity powers our appliances and lights up our homes but it can be used to electrocute someone also.

Same thing with money, it all depends on the purpose why you want money. Is it because you want to buy a new car to show off to your neighbor? Is it because you want to buy a condominium unit so that you can have a mistress? Is it because you want to send your kids to school? Is it bacause you want to buy books and share it to the needy? Is it because you want to put up an orphanage so abandoned kids will have a home? Your purpose is what makes money good or bad.

For me, there is only one reason why we need to be wealthy and that is to bless other people. We came into this world naked and we will leave naked as well. We don’t own anything. We are practically borrowing them. All of us are passersby in this world. If you are blessed with resources, ask yourself, are you a good steward?