I recently had a conversation with someone who has struggled with an issue (which I am deliberately obscuring). She (call her “Tammy”) considers herself an exceptionally smart person (and brags about this frequently) which made the following exchange odd. (Note: Tammy makes an extremely low income)
S: “Making more money is an important step in healing your finances.”
T: “Making more money doesn’t work. Look at this article proving that making more money doesn’t decrease the amount of debt. Decreasing expenditures is the ONLY path. Making more money doesn’t work.
S: “The article says that what happens is that as we make more money, we tend to SPEND more money as well. So the relation of making money to getting out of debt requires we go deeper: “IF your expenditures don’t rise, THEN if you raise your income it will help heal your finance.” this isn’t unfair: your chosen path, “Reducing expenditures”, doesn’t work either, unless you make another IF/THEN: “If your income does not decrease, THEN reducing your expenditures will help heal your finances.”
Or as Mr. Macawber said: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
If you don’t see the hidden “IF/Then” then NEITHER approach: decreasing expenditures OR increasing income, makes a bit of difference.
In other words, healing your finances isn’t a matter of lowing expenditures OR increasing income, it is a matter of the RELATIONSHIP between income and expenditures. Anyone who focuses on one without acknowledging the power of the other is headed for disaster.
And if you have negative beliefs: “I CAN’T make more money.” then you will discard all evidence that suggests making more money will help.
“I don’t WANT to limit my expenditures!” means you will try to earn your way out of that hole.
“90% of people would die broke without pensions, social security, or other social aid. Saving and working obviously doesn’t work.”
Now wait a minute: Tammy has told me countless times how superior her intellect is. She clearly believes herself smarter than 99% of people…and now her reason for not trying is that she are average? What the hell stops her from focusing on the 10% of successful people, rather than the 90% who fail?
I’d say fear. That IF you focused there, Tammy would see that these people do NOT see the world the way she does. They have different beliefs, values, and emotional anchors. They are willing to take different paths and do different things.
To decide: “I don’t want to do those things” is reasonable. To let your own personal aversions warp your view of reality such that you default to black and white (it is one or the other) as opposed to fuzzy thinking that actually works in the real world (it is the relation between the two factors) is dangerous.
Dangerous because there is no way to have a psychological flaw or rigidity in just one area of your life. They will pop up everywhere you don’t have the vision to see them.
This kind of thinking can sabotage all four basic arenas of life: Career, finances, physicality, relationships.
How can Tammy break this pattern?
There are probably countless ways, but it won’t be just “figuring it out.” Tammy lives in her head, and by not connecting to her body, she is robbed of a core feedback mechanism. She can hallucinate anything she wants, and rationalize it with that terrific mind of hers.
The Morning Ritual is my personal “Go-To” great, because Tammy’s pattern feeds on unprocessed fear. By placing yourself in a positive state EVERY morning, you are creating just a little clear space where your ordinary fear-driven patterns loosen their hold, and you can see new possibilities.
And it takes a brief enough period of time, and costs NOTHING to do, such that if you declare it is important, perhaps critical, and don’t do it you have clearly defined a locus of damage in your life, and can focus there.
WHY might Tammy be afraid of making more money? Here are some common destructive beliefs:
- It takes money to make money
- Money is the root of all evil.
- If I make more money, I won’t know who is a sincere friend.
- If I make more money, I’ll just have more problems.
- If I make more money, I will intimidate my reference group and lose intimacy
- I mustn’t earn more than my parents
- Marketing/sales is whoring/lying.
- I am just not the kind of person who can make money
- Money doesn’t matter to me: the best things in life are free
And so on. There are equivalent poisonous beliefs in every arena. If you have them, ask where they come from and if you believe them with your adult mind. If you don’t, and they do not serve you, then you need to research the means of CHANGING negative and limiting beliefs.
This is part of “being the hero in the Adventure of your lifetime.” The hero believes she has X ability, and the solution requires X+Y ability. The entire story is then about gaining that “Y” (“Rocky”) or learning that “Y” was always within them (“The Wizard of Oz”) , or partnering with a “Y” to accomplish, together, what cannot be done alone ( “The Magnificent Seven”)
But it requires the ability to shift from one logic system to another, one form of reasoning to another, paying attention to the real world while simultaneously holding onto your dreams…and committing to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to reach them with integrity.
She is not to blame for her programming–it probably happened in childhood. But she IS responsible for healing it. There is no one else who can.