6 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Money

 

 

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alternation of old beliefs.”

—John Dewey

 

As a culture, we’re obsessed with money.

 

I don’t say this because we lust after the lives of the Rich and Famous or because we treat billionaires like royalty or because we measure success based on how much we earn or what car we drive (though that’s all true.)

 

No, I say this because the majority of people in this country still struggle with money—or more accurately, the lack of money. (I’m sure there are folks who struggle with too much money but I’ll save that for another discussion.) It’s our constant worry about money that is the obsession.

 

People who come to my trainings are no exception: They struggle with money issues.  Even though they’ve attended prosperity workshops, have repeated 1001 affirmations every day for decades, study every investment strategy du jour and have a lifetime of working really hard, they still have trouble making ends meet or having enough money to do what they want.

 

So here’s what I think. If you’re in that money struggle boat, rather than bailing to keep your leaky relationship with finances afloat, let’s sink that sucker!

 

Pay closer attention to economic news. You can always find something “out there” to confirm why you can’t do well financially. For many, a favorite economic “truth” is the “bad job market.” (Be sure to ignore the fact that many people find awesome jobs or create their own jobs within this same market.) You can also use shaky international markets, the national debt or scandals on Wall Street to justify your personal money problems. (I know it’s a stretch, but with imagination, you can even blame China’s uncertain economy for your credit card debt.)

 

Reaffirm our cultural attitudes and beliefs about money: This is a gold mine! Forget those prosperity mantras. Take our underlying cultural beliefs to the next level by reaffirming that: “It takes money to make money.” “The game is rigged.” “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “More month than money.” You can also add in a few generic beliefs like “Life is hard” or “That light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train!”

 

Confirm our cultural archetypes: Forget those vision boards!  Paste images of Ebenezer Scrooge on your mirror — do you really want to end up like that? If you’re an artist, musician or actor, find images of “starving” artists to solidify in your mind that you will never make it. (Ignore the fact that people who are much less talented than you have been wildly successful.) Remind yourself of all those stories about the people who worked their tails off for fifty years then died the morning after they retired.

 

Reinforce your familial beliefs about money: Maybe your family looks down on people of wealth as shallow or greedy or self-absorbed. Maybe as a child you heard that “people like us don’t live like that.” Your church might have contributed by telling you that rich people can’t make it to heaven or that poverty is somehow spiritual. Dig a little and you’re sure to find nuggets of “truth” you can use to make your financial straits even worse.

 

Work even harder knowing you won’t succeed: You may feel like you’re on a hamster wheel, running as fast as you can yet not getting anywhere. Run faster! While doing so, reaffirm that “No matter how hard I work, I’ll never get ahead.” Repeat to yourself that this job or this employer is “sucking the lifeblood” out of you. Memorize the words to “9 to 5” and sing along with Dolly Parton.

 

Avoid any personal responsibility for your situation: You can feel guilt or shame. In fact, those feelings will help you sink the ship. But taking personal responsibility—acknowledging that you have the power to affect your outcomes—is dangerous. Be determined and consistent in blaming some external force for your money woes (See #1).

 

 

Okay, so obviously I’m being facetious. If you have money issues, I don’t really want you to make them worse! The point I’m making is that if you’ve been stuck in a financial struggle, you’re already doing some of the above.

 

Stuff happens. But ongoing money struggles come from conscious or unconscious attitudes and beliefs, and these beliefs dictate our habits and actions. It’s virtually impossible to get yourself un-stuck from money difficulties if you keep a grip on your beliefs and attitudes. Period.

 

The good news is that these conscious and unconscious beliefs that hold you back can be re-wired. In my NLP (neuro linguistic programming) trainings, we use various tools to release limiting beliefs and implant attitudes that support your goals and desires. Once these new beliefs are firmly in place, your actions, habits and even perceptions change.

 

Let me give you an example: Say, someone has the belief that “I’ll never get ahead in this company.” What kind of energy would they bring to work? What kind of work would they produce? What would they talk about, think about on the job? Self-fulfilling prophecy, right?

 

In contrast, imagine someone holding the strong belief of “I’m the kind of person who makes it in this world.” Odds are they would walk with confidence, talk with confidence. They would be aware of opportunities. They would work with enthusiasm, knowing it was leading them to where they want to go. And that too would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

If you have been stuck in ongoing financial worries, I invite you to investigate your current underlying beliefs about money, release the ones that don’t serve you and adapt new beliefs.

 

To your TOTAL empowerment!

 

Mahalo—

 

Dr. Matt.

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