Money, Power, Respect? No, You Have It Backwards

by Zack Arenson

“Money, Power, Respect”: it has come a long way from just being the title of the debut album for hip hop group The Lox. It has become somewhat of a cultural saying that Generation-Y has kept alive. The theory behind it is simple, like the lyrics say, “First you get the money. Then you get the mothaf*ckin, power. After you get the f*ckin' power, mothaf*ckas will respect you.” I think we all agree that could be said in a much more pleasant way, but we understand the meaning.

Now, in certain scenarios, I can’t really argue against that thought process. When you are brought up in that “fast-life” lifestyle, that is typically how your mindset needs to be to survive. However, I am here to tell you that in the “real world,” that process is completely backwards. It should actually be respect first, followed by power, and finally, money, but I guess that wouldn’t sound too catchy in a song.

The reason why the money, power, respect path is flawed is because typically, when you put money above all, it translates into ego and hatred, not power and respect. Your ego will become so inflated you won’t be able to tell the difference between having power and just being a d*ckhead. When you’re a d*ckhead, people aren’t going to respect you, they’re going to hate you. You can do your own research on this one, but when people hate you as a person, life tends to be miserable.

Now, if you flip this equation around and go in the order of respect, power, and money, it may take you a little longer to get to where you want to be -financially speaking - but in the long run, not only will you be happier, but you’ll also be a better person for it. At the end of the day, life is all about being happy. It’s so cliché to bring it up, but we’ve all seen or read about people, who have more money than they know what to do with, being miserable human beings. What is the point of having all that money if you hate yourself, everyone around you, and you are just a prick?

Respect is earned; you can’t buy it, which is why it needs to be your first priority. This is one of the major flaws in the M-P-R scenario. In essence, you’re buying your power and respect. You need to put in the work and obtain the respect of your peers, partners, and influential people in your life. Yes, this takes time; however, in the grand scheme of things, when someone respects you, they typically trust you to a certain extent, as well. When someone trusts you, there are really no limits in which your relationship (business or personal) can flourish. With this respect, comes the power, but it’s not the typical power you might first think of.

Power, in this sense, is the power to influence another’s decision making, change someone’s life path, or just the power to make a genuine difference in the life of someone, or lives of multiple people. This isn’t power in the sense that you have the ability to tell someone to wash your car, or go pick up your dry-cleaning. When you gain someone’s respect, not only do they respect you as an individual, but they also respect your opinion. When you can sway an individual’s opinion, you have more power than you know. The problem with this is it can be used for good or for bad. So this can still be a tricky scenario for some people. It is a slippery slope between swaying people’s opinions for the betterment of themselves, or for you to appease yourself.

Now most people don’t agree with putting money on the back burner and worrying about it after gaining respect and power. I agree that, even though it sounds materialistic, money is one of the most important things to living comfortably in the world today. You are generally able to do so much more when you have the means. In the end, it is up to you if you use that money to help people or just spend money to spend money. I am not going to sit here and tell people how to spend their money, especially when they are the ones who have earned it. I will say this, though: some of the most generous people in today’s world came from absolutely nothing.

The majority of them gained respect, earned the power, and made ridiculous amounts of money. These are the people who are changing the world. Look at the Steve Jobs’, the Bill Gates’, and Oprahs of the world. They put in the time and effort to reverse the money, power, respect guideline, and it not only paid off for them, it paid off for you, me, and the rest of the world, too. The beautiful thing about respect, power, money, is that when you get to the money, it typically strengthens your respect and power if you use it the right way.

I will promise you that if you put in the time to gain the respect of influential people in your life, obtain the power to lend them a helping hand and impact their lives when they really need it, you will come across the opportunities to make as much money as your heart desires. Everyone at some point in his or her life is given a break. How you obtain that break and how you use it, and what you make of it is solely up to the individual.

I began this article with a quote from a Lox album, so it’s only fitting I end with one as well: "The future is nothing but a series of probability. Made up of decisions that we make right now. These decisions lead to certain events into the future. Every human being has this capability to determine their own future. Some are just more in-tune than others."

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