On any given day of busking, I earn between five and thirty dollars in
Which isn’t a ton of money, but that’s not the point. Because the
significance of that currency far exceeds its monetary value.
In fact, a friend
of mine once asked me if I did anything special with that money at the end of
Absolutely. It’s one of my favorite rituals. I roll
that money up into a tight little wad and stuff in my back left pocket,
opposite my wallet. That way, whenever I’m not busking, I can still feel
that roll of money as a totem of several key principles.
First, the marketplace
rewards honest labor. Make no mistake, busking is hard work. Both physically
and emotionally. Singing and playing original music, in public, as loud as you
can, for two hours straight, for complete strangers, requires courage and
stamina and skill. And so, every time a patron smiles and drops a dollar into
the my case, I know that I’ve truly earned that money.
The second reason I keep
the roll in my pocket is to remind myself that no amount of money is
insignificant. A dollar is a dollar. And even if I only earn a few bucks each
time I perform, those bills accumulate quickly. Compound interest is a
Third, the roll of money locks me into a prosperity and
abundance mentality. Remembering that wealth is flowing into my life from all
directions. And believing that my work is a welcome presence that creates value
in the world.
Finally, keeping that wad of ones in my back pocket makes it easy
for me to leave tips for other buskers. Those kindred spirits of the streets.
Those fellow artists foolish enough to put their whole heart on show. By
tipping them, it keeps the gift in motion and keeps money in circulation.
Trusting that once my roll is depleted, I can simply grab my guitar and go earn
This reminds me of an intriguing study conducted
by a marketing professor who found that handling a wad of cash may actually be
as good at killing pain than ibuprofen or aspirin. Researchers revealed that
those who counted money before taking part in an experiment where they were
subjected to low levels of pain, felt less discomfort than those who did not.
Fondling notes and coins, they discovered, helped ward off pain by boosting
feelings of worth and sufficiency. After all, humans start experiencing events
with money starting when they’re three years old. And so, each person builds up
these associations over time into a very thick construct that can be elicited
simply through touch.
Holding the money, then, illuminates the neuronal pathway
and ultimately reduces pain. The significance of the currency far exceeds its
The lesson, then, isn’t to become a street performer. Or to
start carrying around a wad of cash everywhere you go.
Rather, to create a
totem for yourself. A positivity device. Something personal and tangible that
helps you point to a larger picture of meaning.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.
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