I used to hate money.
Or at least I acted like it.
I used to always say things like:
- “Money isn’t everything”
- “Money won’t make you happy”
- “Rich people are greedy/cheaters”
- “It’s easier for a camel to walk through the eye of a needle…blah blah blah”
What’s funny is that most people would agree with me!
But are all of these things really true?
Sure, some people have it easier than others, and some definitely get lucky or cheat. But there’s also many people who started poor and earned their wealth from years of hard work (and living out of their cars).
Besides, who ever said money is everything? If money won’t make us happy, will being broke make us happy? And are money and happiness mutually exclusive, or can we have both?
By disparaging money, I was merely trying to rationalize my own failure to earn it. Doing so allowed me to stay in my comfort zone and avoid confronting my fear and laziness.
But it didn’t help me.
Over the years, as I grew more introspective, I learned that my beliefs about money were not very productive and I started trying to change them.
Many lessons I learned are found in the best-selling book titled, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker.
Before I share what I learned with you, I think it’s important to clarify: it’s not WRONG to be poor, and it’s not WRONG to not really care about money.
In fact, money alone cannot bring true fulfillment, and I believe that we should never focus solely on money or prioritize money over people.
This material is not intended to make anyone feel wrong or guilty, but rather to offer help and inspiration for those who may need it (as I often do).
Money is important to all of us and having it can make our lives a lot less stressful. But before we can make more money, we have to clear up our beliefs about it.
So with that, let’s talk money.
Money is what we make of it.
The first notion I had to get over was that money was somehow bad.
Money is simply a symbol of value. Whether it is good or bad is completely dependent upon the beliefs and intentions of the person using it.
Don’t get me wrong – some rich people are complete douche bags. But so are many poor and middle-class people.
We’ll find arrogance, selfishness, and greed all up and down the social ladder, not just in the upper class.
As T. Harv Eker writes, money only makes us more of who we already are. What we choose to do with our money depends on our values and what money means to us.
So what does money mean to you?
Maybe it means paying off student loans, being able to afford unexpected medical bills, hiring a gym trainer, going to a 5-star restaurant, surprising your loved one with jewelry, or getting to travel more often.
To me, money means:
- Not having unneeded stress due to financial struggles
- Investing in a seminar or coaching program without worrying about whether I can afford it
- That when my coworkers tell me “you’ve got 40 years left of this,” I don’t have to believe them
To me, money means freedom and independence.
It doesn’t have to mean corruption and greed (unless you’re into that of course…).
It is said of those with divine authority that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth,’ but where does it also say that in order to be ‘meek’ you must also be poor? That is total folly.
I didn’t hate money; I hated feeling inferior.
The second idea I realized was that I resented rich people not because they were greedy, but because their success made me feel like a failure.
- I have to be like them
- I can’t be like them
- That means I’m stupid and worthless
Because of that, I got angry and critical.
The real issue here was not money – it was my self-esteem.
As T. Harv Eker writes, “A lack of money is simply a symptom of what is going on underneath.”
Of course, we are all born into a diverse set of circumstances, and some are more privileged than others (and get a “small loan” of one million dollars).
But that’s not the issue.
The issue is when we GET STUCK in a place where we’d rather not be in life.
The fact is, we can’t control how we’re born, but we can control how we become.
In order to change our circumstances, we first have to change ourselves.
Upon learning this, I went to work on two things:
- My self-confidence
- My beliefs and knowledge about money
I joined a Toastmasters club to build my confidence in public speaking and leadership, because as I’ve discussed in a recent post, self-efficacy is a cornerstone of self-esteem.
I also studied successful people: Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Donald Trump (yes, even him) and many others. They helped me change how I thought about myself and about money.
Instead of resenting rich people, why not learn from them?
It’s not enough to be in the right place at the right time. You have to be the right person in the right place at the right time.
T. Harv Eker
After a couple years of trying different strategies, I eventually joined the local Real Estate Investors Association (REIA).
After several months of prospecting, evaluating properties, negotiating with sellers, and getting rejected, I finally got an 8-unit building under contract and sold the contract to a buy/hold investor.
I won’t say exactly how much I sold it for, but it was more than I make in three months of engineering and I felt pretty damn cool about it.
Of course, I’m still a novice (some people make even more than that every month…or even every day). So I’ll hold off on starting my own 67-step program.
Nevertheless, this first experience proved to me that this stuff ACTUALLY WORKS.
Either you are a person who will be stopped, or you are a person who won’t be stopped. You choose.
T. Harv Eker
What we can do.
One of my favorite quotes by Seneca is: “I imagine many people could have achieved wisdom if they had not imagined they had already achieved it.”
Similarly, Eker writes, “Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.”
So what are these two telling us? Keep learning.
Learning About Money
More specifically, we can learn how to earn, invest, and manage money.
According to Eker, “Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.”
We don’t all have to aspire to be the next Warren Buffett, but we can learn how to be smarter with our money and how to make more of it.
Ideas: tracking our spending (to the penny), learning about stocks, joining a local real estate association, learning how to sell/market more effectively, learning how to start/grow a business, saving at least 10% of each paycheck, cancelling our $200/mo cable subscription….
(Also, check out this fascinating article on how four men from four different social classes manage their money).
Learning About Ourselves
It is also useful to become more self-aware.
If we can realize what makes us feel angry, defensive, or insecure (such as rich people or money), then we can ask ourselves: “Why does this bother me so much, and what can I do about it?”
Ideas: practicing daily meditation, reading books about psychology, reflecting at the end of each day/writing in a journal, joining a Toastmasters or an improv class to build confidence….
Once we notice and understand our problems, we can start to solve them.
To quote Eker, “If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you.”
Most importantly, even if we don’t know what to do, we should at least do SOMETHING.
Obviously we should use our good judgment on what that is, but the only way our goals can be realized is through taking action toward them.
As T. Harv Eker says: “Every master was once a disaster.”
We can get some pretty great results if we can build our self-esteem, strengthen our knowledge, and change our negative beliefs about money.
So here are my two questions for you:
- What would you do if you quadrupled your income this month?
- What does this inspire you to do, and what can you do right now to work toward it?
Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.
For all 17 Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, be sure to check out Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker.
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