Chasing money for its own sake distorts your values.
You often end up sacrificing too much for it. You may sacrifice your self-esteem, your health, your time, and your reputation. It’s also not uncommon to sacrifice your friendships and relationships.
Naturally, when you first come across the idea that chasing money is not in your best interests, it triggers your reptilian brain. If you’re like most people, the idea will shock you. You will find it deeply disturbing.
You may want to fight. You may freeze. You may be ready for flight.
Still, I’m not suggesting that you escape the grid, turn your back on capitalism, or find an alternative way to get by without the money you need for food, shelter, and transportation. Nor am I suggesting you renounce your needs, wants, and desires for a full life.
Instead, I want to point out an irony — the more you chase money for its own sake, the less you have of it. Conversely, the less you chase it, the more you will have of it.
Money is Only a Symbol
Recognize money as a symbol of exchange of value. The ancient Babylonians saw it as a convenient alternative to barter and built a civilization around the idea of exchanging one thing of value for another.
Although we still think of money as banknotes and coins, money is becoming increasingly abstract, numbers on a computer server. In the future, it might disappear altogether as we see on Star Trek.
A Cultural Paradox
Since the day you were born, you’ve been told that money is the source of good. The more you have it, the better your life will be. You’ve also been told the opposite: money is the root of all evil. If you’re a little confused by juggling this polarity, it’s understandable.
As a result of this paradoxical way of thinking about money, you may work hard to earn as much as you can because you see it as the source of good. Then, you will work equally hard to get rid of it because you see it as the root of all evil. It’s common for people who receive their lottery winnings in a lump sum to get rid of all of it and return to exactly where they used to be before.
The way to get out of confusion about money is to recognize it as a symbol. When you stop seeing it as something tangible, then you can focus on value. Instead of chasing money, begin to focus on how you can generate value.
Civilization vs. Our Natural State
Your ideas about value are controlled by your mindset. Depending on your mindset, you will either see the world as a place of scarcity or a place of abundance. From that perspective, you decide your values.
Although nature leans toward abundant, producing too much of everything in overwhelming profusion, from blades of grass to clouds in the sky, we humans, trapped by the belief systems of our cultures and civilization, tend to favor scarcity thinking.
The Anathema of Scarcity Thinking
If you do not have enough money, then your mind is operating a zero-sum paradigm to run your life script. In other words, you have a scarcity mentality.
You believe there is not enough for everyone and that you have to fight for what little that you do have. It’s usually a losing battle. Besides feeling exhausted by the struggle, the competition always seems to be getting better.
Because of this besieged mentality, you find it difficult to share recognition or profit. You even feel a sense of adversity toward people who are helping you at your work or in your business.
If you have adopted a scarcity mindset, you are reluctant to admire other people. You resent their success because you believe it does not reflect well on you. When I published my first novel, I was surprised how the editor-in-chief of the magazine I was working for at the time did not share my joy.
The Blessings of Abundance Thinking
Conversely, if you have an abundance mindset, you see the same world see it in a different way. You spontaneously stop chasing money and start pursuing value.
Since you believe that there’s enough for everyone, you no longer focus on limitation. You don’t waste your time and energy on conflict and negativity. You don’t try to stifle your creativity to fit it. You stop trying to compete for wealth, power, and recognition.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the psychology of money, let’s look at X ways to change your money mindset:
1. Focus on your strengths to increase your contribution.
The alternative to chasing money is to begin to focus on generating value. When you do this, you stop having money problems. You replace scarcity with abundance.
This shift in your money situation starts with your mindset. It’s a shift from scarcity thinking to noticing abundance everywhere.
When you have an abundance mentality, you see money for what it is — a symbol of exchange of value. Since you now view money as a means and not an end, you focus on what you can do to contribute value to the world in exchange for the money you need to meet your needs.
When you generate value for other people, they start thrusting banknotes into your wallet and transferring digital numbers into your bank account.
Now that we have a better understanding of money, let us now turn our attention on how to think in a more abundant way.
2. Change doubt and disappointment into positive self-talk.
Your words have power. When you say something to someone, it has an effect on them and yourself.
When you think about something, what you say to yourself influences your reality. First, it triggers feelings. Then, the thoughts and feelings stimulate action. And, of course, an action is a causal event.
Since you think thousands of thoughts a day, it’s almost impossible to monitor your thoughts. And it’s not even necessary, as most of your thoughts are merely a sport’s commentary of what is going on in your life.
Still, you can stay alert to those thoughts that stir negative emotions. Thoughts of apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, and pride are setting you up to fail. They are robbing you of the energy to take constructive action.
When you feel these negative emotions, pause to discover the thoughts behind them. Once you find them, explore positive options.
For instance, let’s imagine you feel irritated.
When you pause to reflect on the source of this irritation, you find that you dislike the work you are doing because it’s boring.
Perhaps, a deeper emotion behind this emotion is pride. You feel upset that you are doing high-value work for low pay.
You now have a choice: continue to think and feel like a victim of your circumstances or choose to feel empowered.
Some options you have in this situation include:
· Finding some value in your work. For instance, focus on how you can improve your performance.
· Think of ways that you can upgrade your skills so that you can do more interesting and better-paying work.
· Decide on a new line of work and reflect on how to switch to something that excites you.
3. Learn to appreciate what you do have so you can attract more wonderful things.
The idea of the power of gratitude is something that we’ve heard so many times that we’re now almost numb to it. When we hear about gratitude exercises to try, we either skim over them or try them out for a few days before we lose interest.
Still, the idea continues to make the rounds because it works.
When you appreciate what you do have, you start to notice what is working in your life.
When you notice what is working in your life, you start to stop doing things that don’t work.
You begin to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. You begin to push those projects that do work and ignore trying to fix those projects that always frustrate you.
As a result of these subtle effects, your reality starts to change. Now even seemingly impossible things now appear much more possible.
By appreciating what you do have, you start attracting more of things that you want need and desire.
So how do you get to this place where you feel grateful?
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to start is simply by choosing something small. For example, be grateful that you took the time to take your evening walk or that you did your yoga stretches today.
It doesn’t matter what you choose to be grateful for — just the act of practicing gratitude will create a positive mind shift.
Avoid trying to notice if you’re getting results. Just focus on the process, not the product; just focus on the means, not the ends.
If you can persist in this simple exercise for a month, your reality will improve.
4. Become a possibility thinker.
It’s easy to fixate on your limited selection of choices in any situation and believe they define the boundaries of your personal universe. This is an illusion.
Think of an experience that you would love to have. It could be the type of person you want to be, something that you would like to own, or something that you would like to do.
Use this impossible wish as a place to begin dreaming about your future. It is something that does not exist right now but could exist if circumstances were different.
Now find the courage to move forward by reading biographies or watching videos on someone who has done what you want to do. Next, decide on one small step you can take in the right direction.
Keep on taking one small step at a time. Gradually, you’ll develop a plan. You won’t see the entire plan, but just enough to keep you moving in the right direction.
Keep a log of every small success you have and of every obstacle that you come across along the way.
5. Find your passion and purpose.
Passion is a strong desire to do something meaningful with your life. It is a desire to express your love for something, usually a talent or a mission. It is a determination to change something that is not working.
For instance, my passion has always been writing. In school, I would write essays. When I graduated from college, I wrote articles for newspapers and magazines. Today, I write blogs.
When I first started to write, I didn’t understand all the complexities of grammar and punctuation, but my passion drove me to learn and to keep on improving my skills. I continue to take writing classes and read books on how to write better.
When you live with passion, your life is infused with meaning. When you feel passionate about something, you’re motivated to act in a constructive way.
So how do you get passionate?
It all starts with identifying your values, your interests, and your strengths. These then shape your dreams. Once you have a dream, then you can set a goal, make a plan, identify obstacles, and develop a schedule of tasks to do to move you toward your desired end result.
6. Build up your self-confidence
Self-confidence is your faith in yourself. Realistic self-confidence affects how you think, feel, and act. This faith in yourself also affects all your relationship and impacts your success in life.
If you do not have the level of confidence that you would like, there are many ways to build up your confidence. Begin to coach yourself to win and avoid negative self-talk. Spend more time with people you love. Set yourself some self-improvement challenges. And, of course, learn to love and accept yourself just as you are.
7. Learn everything with a beginner’s mind
The idea of cultivating a “beginner’s mind” originates from Zen Buddhism. It is the English translation of the word “shoshin.”
When you have a beginner’s mind, you have an open, eager, and accepting attitude towards something that you are trying to master. Even if you are an advanced learner or practitioner, you approach your favorite subject with curiosity. By avoiding preconceptions, you are able to notice subtleties and make new distinctions.
How do you change your life for the better? By resolving the paradox of your love-hate relationship with money. The way to apply these ideas is to befriend yourself and your earning ability.
Make a little program for yourself to take steps to incorporate these ideas into your thinking. Naturally, you don’t have to do everything at once.
For instance, spend a week on cultivating a new habit or point-of-view.
Week 1: Figure out how you can contribute more by focusing on your strengths.
Week 2: Change your doubt and disappointment into positive self-talk.
Week 3: Learn how to appreciate what you do have so you can attract more wonderful things.
Week 4: Study creative thinking techniques to become a possibility thinker. For instance, a good place to start is to study Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php
Week 5: Find your passion and purpose so that you are eager to bounce out of bed each day to do your thing.
Week 6: Take steps to build up your confidence.
Week 7. Refresh your attitude by adopting a beginner’s mind https://zenhabits.net/beginner/ when learning new things.
After the 7 weeks, review what changes have occurred in your life. If you’re pleased with your results, you may want to do a second round.
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