Is making money simply down to hard work or good fortune?
How is it that some people seem to attract money easily into their lives, whereas others struggle to get by?
I believe it is determined by our money mindset, that is, our thoughts and beliefs around the subject of money.
Some of the beliefs we choose may be limiting, otherwise known as “money blocks”. These blocks form our own personal brand of sabotage. We choose to believe certain perspectives about money. And then we watch the evidence to support these perspectives manifest in front of us!
From an early age, we adopt either a scarcity or an abundant mindset. We choose to believe that money and riches are limited, and so it is. Or, we choose to believe that money and riches are plentiful, and so it is.
A lot of our beliefs are not even ours to begin with. They originate from our upbringing, our conditioning, and our environment. They are our parents’ thoughts and their parents before them. It is therefore important to consider what we learned as children and pay attention to how that has shaped our mindset.
These beliefs about money have been hardwired in our brains as we have grown up and we have accepted them as true. But, if a belief is only a thought we keep thinking, are they even true at all?
To evaluate your current money mindset, consider the following questions:
- What were you told about money growing up? Recall all the statements you heard your family make about money. These might have been influenced by religious doctrine – “money is the root of all evil” being an illustration of this.
- What was your experience of money in your younger years? Did your parents talk about their money worries openly? A friend of mine recalled that every week her family would sit around the kitchen table and count out the money they had for the week, with the emphasis being that there was not enough! Did you have to go without regularly?
- What do you think about rich people? Where does this belief come from?
- What is your immediate reaction when you hear someone has won the lottery? Is it excitement for them? Or is it jealousy? Resentment?
- Do you believe you have to work hard to earn a lot of money? Where does this stem from? If you have a strong work ethic, is it because it was demonstrated to you by your family?
- What does ‘wealth’ mean to you? Does it simply mean riches, or something else?
- What role does luck play in accumulating financial wealth? Do you consider yourself lucky?
Once you have answered all these questions honestly you will have some understanding of what your money mindset is.
The “truths” I heard about money growing up were ‘money doesn't grow on trees’ and ‘I'm not made of money’. I remember my father coming home from work on Thursdays and handing his wage packet to my mother in a very sombre fashion. It was always a very functional affair, with no joy attached to it whatsoever.
I was brought up to believe that you must work hard to earn a decent wage. You must get a good job, put in the graft, do the hours, and then you will be rewarded. It was what my parents believed, as did their parents before them and so on.
We were by no means poor; I never went without food. But money was tight and whenever we had an influx of money, along came a bill or unexpected expense to drain it away! My parents fostered the idea that they were not lucky with their finances, and the evidence they saw backed them up.
This is a common belief - that rich people are somehow luckier than the rest of us. Whilst this is understandable, it surrenders the notion of control over our own circumstances. If we consider ourselves unlucky, then we will never be rich. End of story.
Another more harmful belief is that all rich people are bad. This belief can cause significant issues in trying to create money. Consider the possibility that you hold this belief but are running a business and want to be incredibly profitable. Immediately there is a conflict. You want to be rich, but rich people are bad, and you do not want to be bad. You are sabotaging yourself with your own beliefs. For the record, I know plenty of rich people who are extremely nice. It is so easy to fall into the trap of stereotypes and generalisations.
Another statement which causes much debate is ‘money makes people happy’. I think this statement is fundamentally flawed. Money itself does not make people happy; it is what money can do for people that makes them happy. Money is just a means of transaction. It has no personality; it is neutral. Money buys choice, and choice allows freedom, and it is freedom that ultimately makes people happy.
So now that you have some understanding of your own money mindset, what can you do about it?
The good news is that neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to change, enables us to think differently on a long-term basis. We can literally re-wire our brains. This means that we can undo the thoughts and beliefs that that are currently not serving us well.
The points to remember are:
- Awareness is key. Once you become aware of your thoughts, you can start to change them.
- Be vigilant, look out for signs and traits and feelings that you might have along the way. Recognize these feelings and address them.
- Examine where the thoughts come from. Are they from your past or are they from now, in the present? Did it even come from you?
- Challenge your thoughts. Just because you have always believed it does not necessarily make it true. Challenge thoughts regularly and consistently to see a change.
Using affirmations is a powerful way of rewiring the brain. If you think about the time that you have spent thinking in one way, then it is going to take some time to rewire that, so be patient. But be determined and be consistent with your pursuit. Affirmations that are used daily are powerful and repetition is key. It takes time for the new thought to embed. Keep going until the thought becomes natural.
If you have a negative thought about money, or experience undesirable feelings on the subject, have a bank of affirmations on hand to use. These will help to counter the effects. For example, ‘there is never enough’, becomes, ‘my life is abundant’. Abundant is a great word to use as it leaves the reference to money out of the equation. You can then back up this affirmation by listing all the things you already have in your life for which you are grateful.
A remarkably simple affirmation I would recommend is - my life is truly abundant.
This is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes time, effort, and patience. If it took you decades to wire your brain one way, it will take some time to reverse this. But it will be worth it. Once you master your thinking about money, look out for new people, fresh ideas, different opportunities, and more money to come into your life. This is about opening your mind to serendipitous moments that will enable you to make the fortune you desire. Watch out for signs that this is working, be open and you will surely see them.
"Money grows on the tree of persistence" - Japanese Proverb