Do you find that despite your best attempts to elevate the quality of your life, you are unable to either make money or hold onto it? The reason is not because you’re DOING something wrong, it’s because you’re THINKING something wrong.
It’s your stories about money that dictate your experience of it. And only once you know what those stories are can you change your money thinking, thereby changing your life.
In today’s episode we talk about the right questions to ask yourself that will reveal the roots of your stories about money and your attitude towards it.
Free yourself from your limiting thoughts and assumptions, and replace them with liberating, consciously chosen beliefs in order to change your money thinking.
As humans we all use stories to sift through life’s events.
Mostly, the stories that you tell yourself are not your own, they are an unconscious amalgamation of your experiences in the ‘World Out There’. When it comes to money, this is doubly true.
[4.33] The problem is that your thinking drives your behaviour, and most of your thinking is in fact stored deeply in your subconscious. Which makes it difficult to observe, and difficult to know for sure why it is that you behave as you do.
So how do you know what your thinking is if it’s stuck deep in your subconscious? [5.53]
- Your actions point to your underlying thoughts, so if you observe your actions and take the time to probe and journal them you can discover what your subconscious is thinking.
- Ask the right questions. Only once you KNOW what it is, can you change your money thinking.
[6.30] There are three constructs in our thinking that are the pillars of our money behaviour:
- An Event.
- The Interpretation of the event.
- The Assumptions that we make based on that interpretation.
So today, start looking for signs in your life that reveal your real attitudes towards money so that you can change your money thinking.
[11.36] Some prompts:
- What is your earliest money memory?
- How did money show up in your parents relationship?
- What were some common sayings you had around your money when you were living at home?
- Complete the sentence:
- Money is…
- Rich people are…
But more than anything, become a mindful observer of your words and actions and you can change your money thinking, and change your life.
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- What’s your money type? With Monica Shah
- When meaning and money meet with Kim Potgieter
- Reprioritising for financial ease and confidence with Donna McCallum
Quotes from this episode
“If you are unable to make money, unable to hold onto your money, unable to invest your money, unable to enjoy true financial freedom, the reason is not because you’re doing some wrong, it’s because you’re thinking something wrong.” – Lisa Linfield
Lisa Linfield: 00:21 Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. As humans, we all use stories to sift through life’s events, stories that either help us or hurt us. Most times, those stories are an amalgamation of many different things we’ve seen, heard or experienced from the world out there. Something our parents told us or dynamics we watched unfold in the family or the millions of inputs from TV shows, movies, social media posts and magazines that tell us how much money we should have and where we should spend it.
A year or so ago, I taught a group of teenagers about money. We were discussing the stories we told ourselves about wealth. I asked them what they thought when they were waiting for their mom to pick them up and two woman arrived, one in a huge Porsche SUV and one in a little Honda jazz. They all admitted that they would think that the big Porsche lady was wealthy and they’d feel sorry for the one in the Honda jazz.
The story they were telling themselves was that wealth is equal to what I call show and tell. How is it that the money stories of kids could be so far off? I explained to the kids that in my experience, is seeing behind the curtains of so many people’s finances, that much of what others see the Porsche, the big house, the holiday house, is all in fact owned by the bank with the drivers paying an absolute fortune and interest every month for the ability to use the bank’s car and that paid for the bankers to sit on the beach.
When I explained this to them and explained that the owner of the Honda jazz was in fact me, and that not only to have enough to retire right now, I could probably also buy the Porsche in cash, if that was where I chose to spend my money.
You could see the light bulb go off in their brains. As much as I know in my head that wealth is very seldom show and tell, when I arrive at school or at a function and everyone is in their fancy cars, there is a small piece of my heart that still wants to defend itself, to protect itself from the shame and judgment that my critical voice, Crayola Deville as I call her, shouts in my head. “If you really had wealth, you’d be driving a much nicer car. If you really had wealth, you wouldn’t be working. If you really had wealth, you’d be flying first class not being scrunched up in economy.” Why is it that money thinking sits so deeply within each one of us? That for me, despite my knowing that my wealth comes from choosing to drive a small car, fly economy, and that I work because I love it, why is it that I still think like the teenagers that I taught?
The root of all of this is that the world out there keeps telling us this. It keeps telling us that money itself has power. For some, the power is positive and for others it’s negative. Some see money as opening significant doors and others see it to destroying lives. The problem is, money in fact has no power. It is neither positive nor negative. It is a story we tell ourselves about money that gives that money all the power it has.
This quote by Warren Buffet is one of my favorites, of all the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before the head money, they’re simply jerks with $1 billion. The problem is that our thinking drives our behavior and most of our thinking is in fact stored deeply in our subconscious, which by its nature, is difficult for us to observe in order to work out why it is we behave as we do.
When it comes to money, this is doubly true. So many of our memories, so many of our thoughts, so many of our views about money come from when we are young kids, what our parents did around us, what we witnessed in the world out there, and all of those live deeply in that subconscious that processes at 11 million bits per second. And despite our conscious telling us all the good things that we know are true, that’s only 50 bits a second, and it will never hold up to the subconscious.
If you are unable to make money, unable to hold onto your money, unable to invest your money and able to enjoy true financial freedom, the reason is not because you’re doing something wrong, it’s because you’re thinking something wrong. So how do we know what our thinking is if it’s stuck deep in our subconscious? Two ways. Firstly, our thinking is like an iceberg, where our actions point to our underlying thoughts.
So if we observe our actions and take the time to probe or journal them, we’ll be able to discover what our subconscious is thinking. Secondly, if we ask the right questions and keep asking until we hit the answers, then we will be able to know, and only once you know, can you change your thinking.
So what are the right questions? Well, there are three constructs in our thinking that are the pillars of our money behavior. The first is an event, something we did, saw, read or witnessed around us that happened in the world out there or to us directly. The second is the interpretation of that event, and the third is the assumptions that we make based on that interpretation. In order to find out the thinking, we often need to reverse engineer that, to go backwards. The aim is to be able to take yourself as an observer of the situation, work backwards and then rework the thinking. Once you see it in its entirety, you want to then question whether firstly, the interpretation was correct, as often the interpretation of any event is based on the adult that is with you and their hang ups or issues in life, but us as kids, take it as the truth.
The second thing we want to do is to replace those assumptions with the correct interpretation and assumptions. So let me take you through two examples, one lighthearted and one that I personally struggle with. Let’s say you’re in the parking lot, politely waiting, indicating for a space, and just as you put yourself in gear to go into it, a huge Porsche SUV cuts in front and takes your place. “You see, all rich people are idiots.” You yell out loud. Now, that is a beautiful moment to question your thinking and journal about it later.
So you could ask yourself two streams of questions. Firstly, why do I assume that people who drive Porsche Cayenne are rich? Now don’t accept the answer because they are very expensive. Ask yourself, what are my earliest memories of people driving expensive cars and what was said about it? You see, you want to get deeply back to the event, the memory. Who was there? What did they say? How did it make you feel? Then you need to question the assumption. Is it really true that people who drive expensive cars are wealthy? Yes, the person may have a high income which enables them to qualify for the loan, but wealth is the assets that you have that generate the money for you to sit on the beach. The Porsche eats money, it does not generate money.
The second question I would ask is why do I assume that all rich people are idiots? And work backwards from that? Who in your life, when you grew up was rich and according to your parents was an idiot? What experiences led you to believe that assumption? Then find examples of rich people who aren’t idiots so that you can change your limiting belief.
For me, one that I struggle with is around earning your own business. When I was in first year university, the interest rates in South Africa shut up over 20%. My dad owned a manufacturing business and all the machines were financed and he couldn’t afford double the payments. So my whole adult life, owning a business means that you could lose everything, not just lose the salary, you could lose everything you ever had. I remember clearly coming home from university and the computer that had all my essays and work for the year was gone. Of everything that happened through the period, for me, that was the most impactful symbol of losing the business. They take everything, even your computer.
So as you can imagine, leaving a large corporate salary to set up my own business has been a really deep journey on this assumption. If I’m honest, it definitely slows my business growth as I’m scared to invest in case I lose everything we’ve worked so hard to save. So is my assumption always correct? No. And I regularly store examples of people and types of businesses that don’t result in you losing your life savings.
So today, I want you to start looking for signs in your life that reveal what your real attitude to money is. Not the good one that you tell the world out there, the real one, the one that drives your behavior and your current situation. If you believe rich people are idiots, you will never have wealth. Why? Because your subconscious will protect you from putting yourself in a situation when you will be the idiot.
There are many prompts I can give you. What is your earliest money memory? How did money show up in your parents’ relationship? What were the most common sayings you had around your money when you were living at home? Complete the sentence, money is? Rich people are? But more than anything, become a mindful observer of your words and actions and in go mining for the real reasons and assumptions.
I’m Lisa Linfield and my deepest wish for each one of you is that you free yourself from the terrible assumptions that each one of us have about money and replace them with liberating assumptions, with assumptions that give you energy and enthusiasm, with assumptions that help you to change your money life.
I’m Lisa Linfield. This is Working Women’s Wealth. Take care and have a great week.