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Insights: Chasing a pot of gold
September 16, 2008

Chasing a pot of gold

“There are those that have money
and those who are rich!”

- Coco Chanel

Rainbows extraordinairre

Where we live, we get to see some fabulous rainbows.

A combination of two different oceans, mountains, valleys and ‘four-seasons-in-a-day’ type weather is guaranteed to keep rainbows off our list of rare phenomena!

One of my favourite snaps was taken about six months or so ago and features a house in our valley that appears to be bathing in the luminous light at the end of a spectacular rainbow.

I chose to use the pic on our web page to advertise Insights. The web version doesn’t do the original sufficient justice but if you’d like to take a peek, follow this link:

Yesterday, Cape Town weather remained true to its unpredictable and volatile reputation with hot, windless conditions on Saturday giving way to fierce winds and driving rain yesterday. Variety is certainly not something we lack in this part of the world!

As I watched yet another amazing rainbow display enacted over our valley yesterday, I got thinking about the mythical pot of gold that is supposed to lie waiting for those fortunate enough to find their way to the end of the rainbow.

Pass the straightjacket!

Of course, the rainbow is the product of an optical illusion of sorts, meaning that the end shifts as the position of the viewer shifts. So, had I descended on the residents of the house featured on our website, in the hope of sharing the spoils of their good fortune, I would have been greeted by blank stares (and, quite possibly, a straightjacket!)

The famed ‘pot of gold’ is, to my mind, a classic analogy for so much that is wrong with society today, and I thank it for inspiring today’s message.

Pot-of-gold chasing

South Africa, aptly labelled the ‘rainbow nation’ by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1994, is a vibrant country, a land of tremendous beauty, unparalleled diversity, vast opportunity, wonderful climate and then some.

It is also, in my opinion, a land where ‘pot-of-gold chasing’ is endemic.

What do I mean by this?

Well, you just have to socialize with South Africans to understand how caught up people in this country are with chasing down illusory ‘pots of gold’.

Every braai, every cheese and wine evening and every potjiekos party is dominated by talk about the next great money making opportunity.

  • “Did you hear how Boet and Barbara made big bucks by exporting widgets to central Africa. You should see their new mansion in Sandton?”

  • “You won’t believe it. Vuyo and Pat bought a brand new 4x4 the other day. Guess how - by selling slot machines in the townships.”

  • “Carol told me how Piet and Penelope are coining it by making and selling imitation hand guns in the suburbs. They’ve just put in a spanking new kitchen.”

  • “Tom and Lindi have made an absolute fortune from buying and selling property. I’ve heard they’ve found this great new system that’s barely legal, but who cares if it works!”

I’m sure you’ve heard something vaguely similar!

My bank balance is bigger than yours

On the one hand, it never fails to amaze me how resourceful South African are. On the other hand, it always saddens me that we find it so difficult to conceive of our success being measured in any way other than by the size and scale of our bank account or our material possessions.

Interestingly, at the social occasions my wife and I attended during our six-year stay in the UK, it was almost an unwritten rule that you could talk about pretty much anything - except your (or someone else’s) financial standing. That was regarded as a rather impolite and insensitive topic to pursue!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d far rather be enjoying a beer and braai in the great outdoors than discussing prospects of a few hours sunshine at a dingy tavern somewhere in Blighty!

A recipe for frustration

But I do sometimes wish more South Africans could learn to forego the ‘money=meaning’ mentality in favour of an appreciation that money is just a facilitating commodity for something far more important.

If you spend your life chasing a ‘pot of gold’ you will inevitably end up disappointed or frustrated or both.

Now, it may be that your get rich scheme actually pays off, but, despite popular belief, coming into a pile of money will not necessarily bring more meaning to your life. All that will happen is your viewpoint will shift and the elusive pot of gold will simply shift with it.

Am I suggesting that you should eschew making money in favour of a life of modesty and frugality, living on organic parsnips and wearing leather thronged sandals?

No, far from it!

I am not suggesting that there is anything wrong with wanting to have – or having – an abundance of money. To me it’s the attitude to money that counts.

What's your 'end game'?

To make my point let me ask you which of the two sets of questions below you identify with most?

  • "Is having money your ‘end game’ in life? Does the pursuit of it consume most of your time energy and resources? Is your single-minded focus on acquiring money or material possessions driven by your belief that it will raise your standing in the eyes of society and hence bring meaning to your life?"


  • “Is the experience of joy, happiness and fulfillment your ‘end game’ in life? Are you attracted by the idea of having money as a commodity that can help facilitate that ‘end game’? Do you pay attention to your inner voice and what it is you really desire for yourself, in the knowledge that this is what gives life it’s meaning?”

In South Africa today, as in much of the rest of the world, the pursuit of material things has, for many, become an all-encompassing frenzy spurred on by global commercialism. This great ‘pot-of-gold’ chase has turned the search for meaning into a headlong dash towards frustration, despair and bitterness.

Its not out there... it's inside!

Through life coaching, hundreds of thousands of people are starting to awaken to the fact that a life of true meaning and joy comes not from the external recognition of the material trappings that we have accumulated but from our own internal recognition of who we are and what we are here on Earth to do.

The realization is powerful and profound and those that experience it want to share it.

Why not join us?

Perhaps you have a passion for helping other people reconnect with their authentic selves and be the best they can be while unlocking your own barriers to personal freedom, confidence and growth?

If so, the New Insights Life Coach Training Programme for home study could be just what you’re looking for. If so, I invite you to take the first step to inspired action.

Contact me today!

I’d love to hear from you.

With warm regards


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