"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Proverbs 23:7
What do you think is your biggest problem with money? Is your income too small to take care of your everyday needs? Are your material desires always in excess of the money in your pocket? Is your bank account continually empty? Do you always have to borrow money to survive? Are you unable to accumulate enough funds to achieve your major financial goals?
Over several years of helping persons to improve their relationships with money, I have come to realise that the root cause of the financial issues they experience has little to do with figures and balances. For most people, the number one problem is not a lack of funds or viable opportunities. Instead, their major obstacle has to do with how they think about money.
Negative money thoughts are common
Thoughts are very powerful contributors to a person's eventual success or failure in any venture. Many people do not recognise how much they can sabotage their hopes and dreams by simply thinking negatively about themselves or the outcomes of their activities. When it comes to money, there are a host of unsupportive thoughts that can derail your plans for a bright financial future.
In T Harv Eker's Millionaire Mind Intensive, a seminar which trains participants to understand and recondition their thoughts about money, many harmful financial beliefs are exposed. "Money is the root of all evil"; "Getting rich takes too much work"; "Being wealthy isn't for people like me" are some of these damaging ideas that people often have about money.
As Eker explains, the thoughts you currently have about money stem from your past experiences, as well as how you were cultured to deal with money. Since your thoughts lead to your beliefs, your feelings govern your actions, and your actions determine your results. It is very important for you to learn how to control the way you think about money at all times.
A random thought can change your result
When I was much younger, I participated in the Spelling Bee competition for the parish of St Andrew. I had confidently spelled all my words until there were just three competitors left. At that point, I started to consider that I could eventually win the competition. Instead of being ecstatic about this possibility, I actually became disheartened.
If I won the parish meet, I knew I would have to spend a lot of time preparing for the national contest. That didn't sit well with my plans for summer fun! Then I took a look at the prize books for the top three participants. I had already read the second-place title, and had no desire to read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which was the first prize.
However, I really wanted the Famous Five book that was available for the third-place winner. As the spell master called my next selection, 'cannonade', an easy word which my brain knew very well, I heard my mouth utter the wrong combination of letters. As I collected my desired book prize, I breathed a sigh of relief that my spelling journey was finally over.
Developing a fear of poverty
Although this experience happened over 30 years ago, I can still recall it vividly. Today, I recognise how much my wandering thoughts had influenced my final placement in the Spelling Bee. Over the years, there have been many other occasions in which negative thinking has led to less-than-exceptional results in the personal and financial aspects of my life.
As Napoleon Hill states in Think & Grow Rich, a person with negative money thoughts can develop a crippling fear of poverty. While insisting that "fear of poverty is a state of mind", Hill declares that it is "sufficient to destroy one's chances of achievement in any undertaking". Hill confirms that this "most destructive fear" leads to doubt, worry, lack of ambition, over-caution, and procrastination.
The process of changing long-held unsupportive beliefs about money and breaking free from a fear of poverty can be extremely challenging. In fact, it can sometimes feel like you are taking two steps forward and one step back. However, with the action plan outlined below, you can accomplish this necessary phase in your financial growth.
Towards a positive money mindset
1. Understand the immense power of your thoughts. Read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen and learn how your mind can control your results.
2. Develop an awareness of your negative thinking. Read T Harv Eker's Secrets of a Millionaire Mind to understand the roots of your poverty-minded beliefs.
3. Recognise that you don't have to be defined by your current thoughts. Create a vision for your desired future by reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.
4. As Eker declares, "Don't believe a word you think." Stop unsupportive thoughts from creeping back in your mind by substituting them with the positive declarations in his book.
5. Act in spite of your fears and they will disappear. Read Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and discover how to use your thoughts to achieve financial success.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, The 3 Ms of Money will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more tips on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to email@example.com.