One thing that some people never seem to learn is the difference between an end and a means to an end. It’s very important that everyone learn it. You need to get it straight in your head because it’s going to affect the way you act. If you are constantly getting them confused, you are going to end up making some very bad decisions. For example, some people don’t understand the fact that Money is always a means to an end, not an end unto itself. This is why you see millionaires who are preoccupied with making additional millions, and billionaires with making additional billions. They don’t realize that money has no intrinsic value. It is only worth what can be bought with it.
Think about it. You can’t eat money. You can’t wear it. You can’t live in it. You can’t drive it. It has no capacity on its own to bring you any kind of pleasure. If you already have more than you could you could ever spend, then the superfluous amounts in your possession are worthless. So is any extra that you could potentially earn. Therefore, the purpose of having money is to acquire what one needs and wants – stuff like food, clothing, shelter, transportation, healthcare, vacations, and entertainment, all of which are ends. There is no use in storing up more money than can be utilized for that purpose. By doing so, you are wasting your time and energy.
But not everything can be clearly defined as being either an end or a means to an end. Education is a prime example. It depends on how one views it. Some people get great pleasure out of learning. So, to them, education would be an end. To me, however, it has always been a means to an end. I went to public school and college so I could prepare myself for a good career (another means to end) so I could earn a living (another means to an end) so I could support my wants and needs (ends). That’s why, at this point in my career, with about 12 years left before retirement (another end), I have little interest in any additional education. For the most part, I’m just running out the clock on my working years, putting away only what I absolutely need to put away, and spending the remainder.