Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Keys to building Sustainable Wealth - Key 3 Building a Healthy Money Mindset

Relapse! is a painful word for those working in the mental health circles. It is even more painful to those fighting addiction and it is very painful to the alcoholic falling of the wagon after years of sobriety.

But why mention this in a post on a money mindset?

The answer is simple. Human beings easily relapse into old ingrained habits, beliefs and attitudes. Freud told us that people often revert back to previous ego states (modes of being), he called this regression. Regression often occurs when we are faced by a situation that is difficult to deal with. Regression happens when we struggle to deal with new challenges and fall back to old behaviors.    

We could speculate much about how regression works, but often old ways doing, old habits and old beliefs are comfortable and safe, and they very often prevent us from changing. For most of us our current behaviour, beliefs, and attitudes, have gathered enough momentum to keep going, the way they are going.  

Habits of thought, habits of action, habits of beliefs ...

The shocker is that our current behaviour, attitudes, beliefs and habits are producing the exact results they are designed to produce.  The results we find in our lives are the very outcomes of ingrained beliefs, attitudes, actions, and habits (credit goes to Steven Covey and David P. Hanna for this concept). 

It is logical that to be whole financially, we need a combination of the correct money mindset and money habits. I covered some ideas about basic money habits we have to implement in my previous post. Let's now consider some ideas on how to develop a healthy money mindset.  

Steps to Building a Healthy Money Mindset  

Disclaimer time: the information I am outlining below is based on my own experience and I am providing it as suggestions. Please regard it only as that, suggestions. It is necessary to seek the advice of a recognized financial planners or money coaches before making important decisions about your money.

Step 1: Clarify your personal 'price tag'

What do you think are your efforts worth, in money, per year? 10K, 20K, 100K, 1000K ... Determining your personal worth in monetary terms is often unpleasant and we don't like to attach a price tag to ourselves (at least I don't like it).

Yet, this personal perception of worth may be acting as an unconscious upper limit, a glass ceiling, to our earning potential. If we attach little value to our personal efforts and worth, we may only pursue business or career opportunities that make little money, or less than we could have earned. Such self-beliefs definitely limit our potential by restricting the opportunities we are willing to pursue.

A millionaire once told someone that he (the millionaire) is always bidding at business deals in the value of a millions. The millionaire's earning ceiling was set higher than the average person's.  To achieve more you have to aim higher.

I also think that if people start to earn over this unconscious glass ceiling to their worth, they often start to engage in self-sabotaging behaviors. This is only speculation, but the destructive actions of many of the wealthy celebrities, may add credence to my argument. Unexpected large amounts of money appear able to drive some of us crazy.

In order to identify our 'earnings glass ceiling', we have to determine the level of earnings that create cognitive dissonance in us. It may be conceptualized in our minds as 'I cannot make so much for doing that' 'my efforts aren't really worth so much' It occurs at the level of earnings that makes us uncomfortable. We must realize that this self-imposed earning limit is rooted in self beliefs and may be restricting our potential.

Writing an essay of 200 - 300 words titled "I believe that I am worth ..." my help to identify the elements of this core belief, giving you material to work with for your personal development. Writing an essay on "What I believe about money and where I learnt it", may also be helpful. Don't forget to challenge such limiting beliefs on a regular basis.      

Step 2: Clarify the picture of your desired wealth destination

Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People tells us to begin with the end in mind (habit number 2). In Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill also emphasizes that all success and achievement begins in the human mind and then flows into our physical reality.  Many authors emphasize the necessity of visualizing your success destination. I also agree.

Creating a picture of a tangible outcome motivates us toward achieving our goals; it clarifies where we are going. Writing down what you want to achieve with your life is essential for success.  The following process was helpful to keep me motivated.

In your mind picture the outcomes you want to achieve in your major parts of your life, then write it down.  Use positive words, and write it down as if it has already happened. Mix in positive emotions where applicable. 

For example: career goal; in five years from now by, 31 August 2016 [insert a definite date], I will be earning 40 000 per month from my successful ________ business/as a _________ (insert job title you aspire to). [Also write down how you feel about achieving this goal, and write down a picture of what the success looks like]. Write down such a statement for your body (physical health), your family, your mental growth, spiritual growth, etc.   Repeat your personal affirmation regularly, even daily,  until you believe it deeply in your spirit.  

Step 3: Clarify what you will give in order to get to your destination

It amazes me how often in today's society we lose track of the old law of sowing and reaping, giving and getting, and doing unto others as you would like them to do unto you.  Perhaps we have become so 'enlightened' that we think these laws no long apply (sorry for the ranting). But life does not reward something for nothing. This part is curiously missing from many sources of personal development.  

The fact is success comes at price and achieving the goals as described in step 2 will cost us something.  We have to determine exactly what we are willing to give in order to attain our goals.

For example: In order to earn 40000 per month from my __________ business I am going to give the following:
Excellent customer service, ethical conduct, constant improvement of my skills and the business, etc. I order to have an attractive healthy body I am going to give 5 hours a week of exercise, eat healthy foods, etc.

Step 4: Clarify the obstacle in your way, and how you will overcome them

Military commanders know that it is necessary to know their enemies in order to overcome them. In much the same way we have to know the enemies that are going to prevent us from achieving our goals, and there are always enemies/obstacles to overcome.

One of my major enemies is procrastination.  After we have identified our enemies, we have to develop plans to neutralize them. At this juncture, write down your major enemies, and how you are going to neutralize them.

Write for example: I am learning to overcome procrastination and have to guard against it. In order to nullify this enemy to success I am going to cultivate the habit of doing crucial things as soon possible by scheduling my critical tasks on a weekly basis and doing them when scheduled (be very specific and use action words).    

Step 5: Reprogram your mind to expect wealth not scarcity

I agree with Richard Cordock in his book the Millionaire Upgrade where he states that our minds, just like a computer, may be reprogrammed to think differently.  Most of us have to work at cultivating a wealth mentality.  But why is this important? Well, for one, a wealth mentality assumes that there is enough opportunities for everyone to go around, and poverty mentality does not. Which one has the possibility of success?

Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich suggests that most people fear poverty instead of expecting wealth. It is a general law of life that what we expect to get is the thing we get.  If you fear poverty, your focus is on poverty, and poverty will be what you produce in your life.

The way I see it, our thoughts range from wealth thinking on the one pole, to poverty thinking on the opposite pole, both produce different results, see the illustration below:

[Wealth consciousness ]  vs   [Poverty consciousness]   
I expect to be successful                I expect failure                                                    
I am generous                                I am stingy
I see opportunities                          I see problems and limits
My world is expanding                   My world is shrinking  

Programming our unconscious mind to expect success and opportunities requires discipline to continually challenge our thinking, beliefs, and attitudes. The following questions may help us to identify where on the continuum of wealth thinking vs. poverty thinking we are located.

Write down the answers to the following questions: 1) How would my friend describe me, as a predominantly positive or negative person? 2) Would my friends describe me as wealth conscious or poverty conscious if they look at my words, actions and habits? 3) What do I really believe I will gain from my life? Wealth or Poverty? 4) What reality about money am I communicating to those  closest to me, ideas about wealth and abundance or ideas about poverty and scarcity?    

Read the following post for more information on programming your unconscious mind for success.

Step 6: Keep kicking - Don't give up

The process outlined above should help us to identify areas for personal growth. It identifies habits of thought that need changing in our lives.  It determines the starting point of our growth to a wealth mentality.

Achieving a worthwhile goal is rarely easy. It takes dedication, persistence, faith to achieve. Changing deep seated beliefs is a very difficult challenge and takes much persistence. There's a reason why biographies are written about those who overcame difficult challenges on the road to success.  

In closing, I am sharing a story I often draw inspiration from (cannot remember where I heard it the first time).

The tale of the old donkey that fell into a grave ...

It's a story about an old donkey living on a farm with an old farmer. One day, the donkey, not seeing very well, fell into an open grave on the farm.  The old farmer found  the donkey in the grave an tried to help him.  Not being strong, the farmer wasn't able to lift the donkey from the grave.

After a long deliberation the farmer decided that since the donkey was very old, he would bury the donkey while still alive, thinking that the donkey had lived a good life.

The sad farmer, using a shovel started to shovel ground on the donkey's back. But, every time he threw a shovel load on the donkey's back, the donkey merely shook the earth from his back on stomped it below his feet. This process continued for a number of hours, with the farmer shoveling and the donkey stomping, until finally, the donkey having stomped enough ground below his feet, simply jumped out of the grave. Happy to graze on the grass beside the grave.

Life is difficult, people may throw crap on us, and we sometimes feel like we're in a grave. Those are the times we have to keep stomping, consistently doing the work our goals require.  So, let's keep kicking and never give up.

Thank you for sticking with me through this very long post. Congrats for reaching the end of it! Hope you found it inspirational. Please feel free to share your experiences on this topic in the comment field below.         

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