The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 14, 2009 • Issue 09:09:01
Your beliefs about money matter
||Save a little money each month, and at the end of the year you'll be surprised at how little you have.|
– Ernest Haskins
Somewhere along the line, a parent, teacher, mentor or friend probably told you money doesn't grow on trees. This expression is passed from generation to generation because it effectively conveys to youths who hope for better things that they'll have to expend effort to bankroll their dreams.
However, depending on the experiences and beliefs of the person attempting to impart this wisdom, the expression can be motivational or demoralizing.
Said with a light heart by someone who acquires and manages money well, it can spur the listener to adopt attitudes and practices similar to the speaker's.
Said in a snide tone by someone who scratches out a living and never saves a dime, it can cause the listener to suspect he or she will not only have to work exceedingly hard but also be exceptionally lucky to do more than just get by.
What were you told about money when you were growing up? What did adults who were important to you say about the topic? And how does that affect you now? It's important to explore these questions to root out potentially self-defeating beliefs you might not have thought to examine.
Make a list
Here's one exercise that will help bring your beliefs about money to light:
- Set aside half an hour of uninterrupted time. Take a pen and pad of paper to a quiet place and ask yourself, What do I believe about money? Write down whatever comes to mind. If this question doesn't bear fruit, ask yourself, What beliefs did my family have about money when I was a child? Again, write down whatever comes to mind.
- Reflect upon each item on the list, and ask whether the belief is something you've adopted of your own volition or something you inadvertently absorbed from your parents, peers, church comm-unity et cetera.
- Identify beliefs that are helping you attain your financial goals and those that are hindering you. Appreciate those that are assets to your life's journey, and make a commitment to reinforce them.
For those that are holding you back, ask yourself if you are willing to give them up. Even if you feel you cannot let go of them, asking the question helps provide perspective, which can begin to lessen the belief's hold on you.
- Make a commitment to explore new beliefs about money and adopt those that are positive.
- Repeat this process periodically and compare notes from prior sessions. Over time, you should observe a shift toward more positive beliefs.
Part of the journey toward achieving your financial goals is to learn from those who have already attained theirs. Countless books have been written on this topic. Following are several to consider reading if you haven't done so already:
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth by T. Harv Eker
- Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
- The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
Try keeping several books like these at your bedside, and read a few encouraging words before you turn out the light and go to sleep.
Books, of course, aren't the only resource available. Many individuals and organizations offer seminars, retreats, workshops, CDs, DVDs, telephone and e-mail support - you name it - all geared toward helping people adopt empowering beliefs about money that will spur them to act in ways that help them attain their financial goals.
Ask colleagues and friends who exhibit financial know-how if they would recommend any such resources, and ask them to explain why.
Use the Internet to identify promising teachers and programs, as well. Then sign up for one that appeals to you, and participate fully.
Even if a particular program or philosophy turns out to be wrong for you, you'll be one step closer to finding one that fits your needs.
And enlist the ongoing aid of someone you trust. If the person you select also wants to join in the quest for financial empowerment, so much the better.
You can listen to each other, help one another set goals, encourage each other when setbacks occur and celebrate every victory along the way.
You'll be more likely to meet your objectives quickly and then set new, bigger goals. And who knows? You just might write the next best-seller imparting wisdom about how to live the life of your dreams.
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