Money: An Idea backed by Confidence

Shaun H. Ruff


It has been discovered some time in the 1960’s that the inability of a person to define the words or symbols of a language or a subject makes the full understanding of that language or subject outside the grasp of a person. A person will be unable to fully understand and grasp how to control that subject fully, making him or her appear dull or even stupid on that particular subject. For example, a person who is working in a workshop who does not know what a hammer is, when asked for a hammer by one of his colleagues, might guess at what it is and present a screw driver to his colleague instead. We use words to describe concepts of the world around us, hence not knowing the concept fully can hinder person’s understanding of the world around him or her. So not knowing the definitions of words or symbols closes the world off to one to some degree. An obvious example of this is when people near you are speaking a language which you don’t understand – you hear that they are speaking alright, but the words seem to be a stream of “blah blah blah…” which you don’t really “hear” because you don’t understand it.

This principle can occur with any subject whether you are just learning it or whether you have learnt it in the past, but had words you didn’t fully understand. Where else could such principle apply? Well, for now and the purpose of this article how about the subject of money?

 Money! We use it every day in almost every aspect of our lives. Every business is driven by it and many times in our society we judge success by it.

It could be the solution to many problems or the stumbling block of a person, group, business or nation. There are many analysts who teach of the best ways to manipulate it and how to make more of it. It drives some men to great heights in pursuit of it, and shoves others still to great depths of depression and apathy in search of ways to make it and reach it, with little success. It seems to be the major cause of stress and the objective of many to attain more of it.

But, what is it? Is it paper bills with heads of state printed on it or coins made with cheap metal with a coat of arms on one surface? Perhaps. However, using the above reasoning maybe there could be something more to know. Do you know the definition of money, to start with?


Here are some of the most widely accepted definitions. Money has been defined as:

  1.  “Anything that serves as a common medium for exchange in trade, as coins or notes”.Money is a good (product) that acts as a medium of exchange in transactions.
  2. Classically it is said that money acts as a:

a.    unit of account,

b.    a store of value, and a

c.    medium of exchange.

Most authors find that points 2a and 2b are nonessential properties that follow from 2c, above. In fact, other goods are often better than money at being stores of value, since most monies degrade in value over time through inflation or the overthrow of governments.


There is another definition of money that few people are aware however or at least that many of the dictionaries are unaware of. It is a definition that I discovered whilst reading a text on the subject of money. The definition is that:

Money is an IDEA backed by CONFIDENCE.

Let us have a look at it from that viewpoint and see if it’s workable. In fact, we could even put this into a very simple formula:

Money = Idea X Confidence


$ = I X C


$ = I X C

As stated earlier, in order to understand a particular subject it is necessary to define the terminology being used within it.

So, an idea can be defined as, any conception existing in the mind as a result of mental understanding, awareness, or activity. We can assume then that any concept derived from the above definition is an idea which could potentially equal money when coupled with confidence. Right? Let’s take a closer look at this.

An idea could be something subjective, an idea about the subject of money itself, which a person holds to themselves and which then manifests itself in how they experience money. As an example, a person who has the idea that they never have enough money and believes this (has confidence in this idea) will always seem to have just that amount of money- never enough. A person who holds the idea that money isn’t easy to make and has confidence in that idea will experience that money isn’t easy to make.  A person, who has the idea that they have plenty of money for what they need and want and believes that, will have that experience of money and so on. However this subjective view only makes it possible to obtain an objective view. How?

An idea could also be objective regarding other things besides money, where an idea about the physical environment for instance could be translated with confidence into it monetary equivalent. Such an example would be the idea of producing affordable motor cars so that every family in America could own one. That was the idea behind Henry Ford which he made a reality by establishing the Ford Motor Company and simultaneously developing the nation’s trust in the reliability and the need for motorcars and that they could afford it. That idea along with the confidence he inspired made him a fortune.

Another idea was that of a new dark weird substance, a failed attempt at a medicinal mixture, which was taken and slightly altered and sold as a drink to quench any thirst. That was the story of the beginning of Coca-Cola. An idea that there was such a substance that tasted so different compared to the thirst quenchers that existed around that time and that it actually did quench a thirst and tasted good was something that began Coca- Cola on its way to becoming a multi- billion dollar brand.

Any idea that any person could possibly have could be interpreted and could possibly be a source of money if it had the second component of this equation added to it. Each part of the formula is vital for the completion of the formula just as one might have eggs, flour and sugar each separately existing, but in order to have a cake one would need them to be mixed in the proper ratios to make a mixture which when baked would result in the final product of a cake. All these elements exist as very separate items, but joined together we have a new substance – a cake.

The second part of the formula is Confidence.

Confidence can be defined as full trust; belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing. So we can again assume that confidence, belief in the powers, trustworthiness, or reliability of a person or thing could potentially equal money if it is backing an idea.

Confidence can also be viewed as both subjective (Internal) and objective (External).

In the case of a subjective viewpoint, if a person has confidence in themselves and their idea of themselves then we find that this factor would increase the persons influence and ability to earn and any particular person would earn more the more his confidence grew since usually so would his abilities and confidence in those abilities. Conversely a person would generally have less money if he or she had very little self confidence or belief in their idea of themselves.

Taking an objective view of confidence we would see that confidence would be the belief in a thing by a larger amount of people than just one. It could be the facts that can be proved and can be agreed upon broadly by a group of people and thus fully trusted because one and all have seen it working and have no or very little doubt as to its trustworthiness or reliability. An example of confidence in something is in the idea that if you were to throw a ball into the air, you would expect that the ball would come back towards the earth’s surface again due to gravity. One can experience
this easily and has confidence in this.

Another example would be if you light a match it generates light and heat. You would have confidence in it because it is something you have observed and can therefore trust and other people can experience the same thing if they too struck a match. Then we have agreement that something would do a certain thing and that becomes trust and confidence in it.

            The last part to this equation is the “=” (equals) sign. The definition of this is that one thing is equal to another. So money would theoretically be equal to the idea and the confidence in that idea. It also shows an exchange factor. There must be something for something, money for an idea backed by confidence, in this instance. There is no such thing as Something for Nothing. The something could be anything, in this instance we speak of money, but before money we had the barter system. An example of the barter system would be Joe gave Thami four chickens in exchange for ten loaves of bread for instance.


We’ve established what Ideas are and what Confidence is so far and with that we take the next step of putting them together and seeing what we get.

The idea of supplying food to people is an idea which is backed with the confidence that people need to eat and also the confidence that people want to eat a particular food. The exchange of the product of food in our model would be money.

You might have noticed that it becomes easier to have confidence in those ideas of things that are easily proven or agreed upon by people. That we need to eat as human beings is obvious to virtually all people. It is an idea – a very widely agreed upon idea at that, and supermarkets, restaurants, farmers, etc take advantage of that idea to exchange their relevant products for money.

People flying between places was not possible in 1801 so the amount of confidence that you would have to have in some such idea would be enormous to earn any amount of money from it. That is why it didn’t produce any financial reward for anyone at that time.

The amount of money produced becomes a factor, but this is a matter of magnitude and will equal the magnitude of each of the components of the formula. The greater the idea of value that a person has of something the higher the amount of money that can be potentially made if there is some degree of confidence backing it up. Such an example could be the idea of having really fancy sunglasses. The idea of having fancy sunglasses of a particular name brand might have a high esteemed value and thus a sunglass manufacturer appeals to these people and generates the confidence that his product can trusted and delivers something that a person can trust. The idea could be that the sunglasses provide better protection from UV rays or perhaps it delivers the image of wealth and success.

The exact ratios of ideas and confidence to money have not at this time been factored in, but suffice it to say that these are the component factors involved in money generation. They have been known for many generations and were covered in texts like Napoleon Hill’s bestseller, “Think and Grow Rich”. The above definition was introduced to me while reading a text on “Money” by Lafayette R. Hubbard, a modern philosopher and has given me a basis from which to operate with more confidence in this particular economic climate. Try it out and see if it works for you in your business or activities that you are engaged in, by using an idea and backing it up with confidence. An example could be, by keeping your business policy on delivering when you promise (idea) and actually delivering, thus building confidence in your clients that you can be trusted (confidence). The number of ways that this formula can be manipulated is endless. Think of examples where you’ve seen the formula being used and the results it produced and use it to contribute to a more stable and affluent future for you and the economy.

By David Janneman inspired by Lafayette R. Hubbard and Napoleon Hill

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