TDW #008: 5 Spiritual Principles Anyone Can Use to Make More Money (Even If You’re an Atheist)
As you may know, I was a pastor for many years before leaving and launching my first business. (You can read that whole story here if you’re curious.)
When I left the church, I didn’t expect so many of the lessons I learned as a pastor to transfer to being an entrepreneur. But I learned an important lesson: business is spiritual.
I define “spiritual” as the invisible structures governing our unseen world. Don’t think too hard about it. It basically means anything we can’t perceive with our five senses. Think of your spirit as your sixth sense. Your gut instinct. Maybe even your “spidey sense”.
Emotions are spiritual. Beliefs, values, and purpose are spiritual. This is the stuff we know is there, just below the surface. But we can’t necessarily see or touch it.
And building a business? That’s as much a spiritual act as anything else. Think of the courage, determination, and grit needing to create something from nothing. That little voice pushing us forward when all we want to do is quit? That’s your spirit.
Guess what? That little voice has other things to say about your business–if we’re willing to listen.
(And just a heads up – my spirituality is on full display here. I’m unapologetically coming at this with a Christian worldview. If that’s not your bag, no worries. I respect that. But you should probably stop reading now. Warning: Bible verses ahead!)
So here are five transferable spiritual principles you can use to make your business more profitable, fun, and fulfilling.
Principle #1: Hard Work Brings Profit
“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 14:23
We know this to be true intuitively, don’t we? Working hard is good. Being lazy is bad. When in doubt, work hard. Don’t just talk about working hard. Actually do it.
You likely have a ‘talker’ in your life. Someone who talks a big game–what they’re going to do, the money they’re going to make, the impact they're going to have. But mere talk doesn’t get results. It’s action that produces traction.
This principle works, but we never quite know exactly how. ‘Profit’ may mean a financial profit. But hard work also yields a profit in:
The benefits are vast and varied. Yes, we want to work smart. And there definitely are times and places when we need to rest from our hard work. But hard work–giving our absolute best in whatever we do–brings timeless benefits.
Principle #2: Skill Brings Opportunity
“Who is truly skilled at their labor? They will work for kings, not ordinary men.” –Proverbs 22:29
Focusing on your unfair advantage is spiritual. Some might call this a “calling” or a “divine purpose”–either way, it’s a deep-seated sense of why you exist on this planet. What you’ve been put here to do.
Leveraging your unfair advantage creates exponentiality. It goes beyond incremental growth and transcends into parabolic growth. Opportunity. Advancement. Notoriety.
Why do we remember names like Michael Jordan? Simone Biles? Tom Brady? Galileo? Steve Jobs? Julia Child? Picasso? Frida Khalo? It’s because they were ‘truly skilled’ in what they did.
Talent only takes you so far. Skill elevates. It’s far more profitable to focus on becoming world-class in your unfair advantage than shoring up your weaknesses.
How do you find your unfair advantage? Try this exercise:
- Take out a sheet of paper
- Put a line down the middle of it
- On one side write “Passionate”
- On the other side write “Proficient”
- Under “Passionate,” write down all the stuff you do throughout the day that you're passionate about
- Under “Proficient,” write down all the stuff you do that you're proficient in
- Look for the items listed under both columns
- Those are elements of your unfair advantage
Here’s the best part: your unfair advantage isn’t something you have to go and fabricate. You don’t have to make it up. It already exists inside of you, waiting to be discovered. (Some might even say it was placed there by a kind and benevolent Creator…but, hey, who’s counting?)
Principle #3: Quick Wealth is Wasted
“Wealth quickly gained is quickly wasted — easy come, easy go! But if you gradually gain wealth, you will watch it grow.” –Proverbs 13:11
Rather than tell you some “lottery-winner-goes-broke-a-year-after-winning” sob story, I’ll share my own experience.
I made $30,000 per year as a pastor. Within 12 months of launching my first business we were pulling in $30,000 per month in revenue. (Side note: revenue is different from income, but still…it was a very big jump.)
While that might sound like a good thing (and ultimately was), it brought on a whole new set of challenges I wasn’t remotely prepared for. Because I didn’t know how to make money I didn’t know how to spend money.
So…I spent a lot of it.
And not on Bugattis, caviar, or a gaudy lifestyle. A lot of that revenue went to:
- Paying employees I didn’t need to hire
- Office space to house the employees I didn’t need
There’s a reason why we’re still telling the story of the tortoise and the hare. Slow & steady–especially when it comes to wealth–wins the race. Growing slowly and sustainably develops the discipline muscle you need to handle wealth.
Principle #4: Wisdom & Innocence
“Be as shrewd as snakes yet as harmless as doves.” –Matthew 10:16
Spiritual people can often be perceived as naive. Overly-trusting. Easy to take advantage of.
Non-spiritual people can be perceived as cutthroat. Do whatever it takes to get ahead. Selfish.
Neither are categorically true. But this principle suggests there’s a good balance between shrewdness and innocence we should seek to embody:
- Not too hard. But not too soft, either.
- No blind trust. But no distrust.
- Willing to listen. But also willing to speak.
- Forgiving. But not forgetting.
“Trust, but verify” as Ronald Reagan once said.
Principle #5: What Goes Around…
“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” –Matthew 7:1-2
You might be tempted to believe this principle is about judgment. But it’s primarily about how you treat others. If you are generous to others, that’s the measure by which others will be generous to you.
Science has a name for this, of course: the Principle of Reciprocity. But like so many other universal truths, our spiritual selves figured this out long before science showed up.
Remember—we’re dealing with spiritual principles. So there’s an element to this that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The act of being generous (or not) brings with it a certain amount of intangible energy. And energy is never destroyed, just redistributed.
Need something? Go give it away first.
So remember: business is spiritual.
If you’re building a business, you’re engaging your spirit. Whether you’re aware of it or not. Might as well engage it with intentionality and create the version of yourself (and your business) the world is waiting for.
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