Whenever we are short on money or tight on our finances, we look for financial advice: where can I cut some costs? How can I reduce some expenses? How can I save on interest and taxes? It is all about cutting and reducing. And even though measures like these can help to turn around a difficult situation, it can't be all about restricting: it is also important to take into account the psychological side of the money relationship equation.
What are your beliefs about money? What is your relationship with it? You can save as much as you want and even improve your income tremendously, but if you are not in the right frame of mind, you won’t be successful. What does being in the right frame of mind means? It means ensuring that no conscious or unconscious beliefs about money is interfering with your ability to create wealth and it means making sure that your beliefs support the achievement of your financial goals. For example, if consciously or unconsciously you believe that you are morally compromised for pursuing wealth, that pursuing wealth is “bad”, or that you don’t deserve financial success, I promise you will fulfill your own prophecy and stay "money-less". Why? Because our beliefs drive our actions, and if you don’t believe you deserve to be wealthy you won’t be inspired to take the actions necessary to achieve financial success. Don’t believe me? Check out the book You Are a Badass at Making Money, by Jen Sincero. It is a very interesting resource to understand how the way we think about things can affect our success.
Since the web is full of practical advices on how to save money and increase your gains, let me share with you some practical tips on how to adjust your mindset to support the achievement of your financial goals.
Make sure to visualize yourself achieving your financial goals over and over again. This may seem silly, but it is so important! Let me share a personal experience with you to illustrate this: I learned how to ski when I was well over 30. First time on the mountain with an instructor and I was deadly scared, of course. But I took classes and I did succeeded. Over time, though, I realized that whenever I thought I could fall, I actually did. Any time I anticipated myself falling at a maneuver ahead and visualized myself falling, I changed my behavior to try to prevent that. Nonetheless, the opposite happened: I would actually fall every single time. How could that be? Well, multiple studies show that everything starts in our brain, from playing an instrument, to winning a competition, to achieving our goals. So, if you start your journey to financial success thinking about everything that went wrong this far, or everything that could go wrong, you won’t change the story. You have to start by telling yourself why you want to achieve your goals in the first place. In the process, visualize yourself living the life you want once your goals have been achieved. Actually, feel grateful for it, as if it had already happened. I promised that, repeated often enough, this will become an ingrained belief, and unconscious actions to take you where you want to be will naturally follow.
If you want to grow in any area of your life, nurture feelings of expansion – and fear is not one of them. I read somewhere that Einstein once said that the true concept of madness was doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Regardless of whether Einstein said it or not (I didn’t do my research), I know for a fact that this is a true assertion: if you want a different financial life (or anything different in any area of your life), you will have to do things differently. And taking on new enterprises, be them big or small, always entails risk – and fear. Therefore, make friends with fear. Know it is a natural response of your ego to the unknown, who is trying to keep you safe within the known boundaries of the self, thank it for it and move on. Not only that: think of money in terms of abundance, not scarcity. If you think of money afraid that you won’t have enough, the mindset at stake is of lack. Don’t do that to yourself! Always think in terms of creation, expansion and abundance. Think about how you will spend/invest it your resources when you have them. Take note of any acts of generosity, regardless of how small, that come your way and feel grateful for them. If you start truly believing that your environment is generous with you, you will be predisposed to being generous and thankful towards others, which will make you will feel more positive about your conditions, which will affect your beliefs and, consequently, will affect your behavior, leading you to unconsciously create more of that to yourself. It is a win-win situation.
Choose how you will perceive your reality. In alignment with tip number 2, remember that we always create more in our lives of what we believe. That is called (in psychology terms) confirmation bias. It basically means that your brain is programmed to find in your environment confirmation of that in which you believe. Therefore, if you look around and feel that people are out to get you, you will find nothing but people who act in a way that seems to indicate that they are out to get you. The same way, if you focus on how difficult your life in general is for you, how lonely you are, how much you lack, your brain will find nothing in your reality but things that confirm your beliefs. And what does our beliefs do? They drive our actions! Therefore, believe the world is a place that offers you little to no resources to fulfill your dreams, and that is exactly what you will get.
The equation is BE->GET, not GET->BE. Nothing in our lives start by the WHAT, but always by the WHO. You don’t need to GET the things you need/want in order to become who you want to BE: you need to BE the person you want to become in order to GET the things you need/want. It is because we are usually waiting for the ideal situation to present itself to us in order to act that we never get anything done. Also, think about it in terms of power: why would you give external things the prerogative to determine who you are, how you act, or when you act? You are in charge of your life and you are accountable for the creation of your reality! Take the power back and start your journey by being who you want to become today. No need to wait!
Anything is possible. Truly, it is. If it has been done before, there is absolutely no reason on earth it can’t be done by you. No, it doesn’t depend on background, education, upbringing or starting point. These things may make achieving goals easier or harder, but they don’t determine success. What determines success is your mindset. Therefore, nurture in yourself the belief that absolutely no dream is too big or too out of reach, and don’t stop until you are absolutely convinced of this unequivocal truth. From there, be diligent, do your research, assess risks and make reality-based bets, but put yourself out there and take chances. Challenge what has been done before and bet that your idea can improve the world in a way nobody has ever thought of before. Don’t be afraid of being a pioneer or a visionary. Nothing successful has ever been accomplished without someone being bold and trusting their vision enough to believe it was worth the shot. Dream big: play to win and not only not to lose.
Question what you think you know about money. If whatever you believe you know about money was right or good for you, you wouldn’t be in a financial shortage right now. Therefore, all of that knowledge no longer serves you. Drop it! Let’s make room for new knowledge: be open, stay curious, don’t dismiss anything as silly. Anything that is different from what you know can bring you different results than you’ve got this far, if you use it. So, why not? The goal is to change your current situation, and no change happens through continuity. Read about the strategies that successful people use to achieve their goals, see which of those can be adapted to your life, and go for it. What else do you have to lose?
Associate money with high-frequency feelings that holds transformative power over your emotional and psychological states. To that end, there is no feeling as effective as gratitude to change our mindset and create abundance in our lives. How? Well, when we are grateful we see the world in terms of goodness and generosity. And do you know what that does to your world? It creates more generosity and goodness. Why? Because our beliefs drive it. Remember, once we believe something, our brain looks for confirmation of our beliefs in our surroundings, which does nothing but to accentuate said beliefs. And beliefs drive action as well as behavior. If I believe the world is a generous place, I will be thankful, positive, and generous, which will predispose people to help me and, well, you know the rest of the story...
Can you see how much power you have in your hands, and you didn’t even know it? Now go ahead and put it to good use!