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Would it surprise you to learn that the deciding factor in whether or not you’re wealthy is not the amount of cash you have, but how you think about money?
The desire for greater wealth is perfectly human, but the path to abundance isn’t just the pursuit of profit, but the attainment of a kind of enlightenment.
A positive money mindset, for many of us, is incredibly difficult to achieve. This isn’t our fault. From the time we are old enough to talk, the majority of us encounter negative beliefs concerning money.
We live through negative money situations. From listening to our parents fight and bicker over a lack of money, to longing for things we are unable to buy because we’re still young, to struggling to find work, gain independence, feed and clothe ourselves.
Even those born into wealth encounter negative beliefs around money. Wealth doesn’t prevent you from having a negative money mindset. We are socially trained to see money in a negative light – just the expressions we have surrounding money are overwhelmingly negative.
Phrases like ‘money doesn’t go on trees’ inextricably links wealth to a sense of lack.
How about the notion of ‘Fat Cats’, the ‘wealthy elite’ and ‘the 1%’? All of which teach us that rich people are inherently greedy, elitist, snobbish, and achieve their wealth by keeping the other 99% down.
Worse still are idioms like, ‘money is the root of all evil’, which go far beyond negativity and actively paints wealth as a malevolent force.
Why We Need A Positive Money Mindset To Create Wealth
All these thoughts, swirling in our subconscious minds, create a negative and even toxic perception of money. It’s no wonder we struggle to muster a positive money mindset.
Breaking through all that negativity and developing a positive money mindset is a lot tougher than it seems.
Money negativity often runs deep; it’s cultural, part of our social consciousness, and constantly reinforced by the people around us, the media, even our history and fictional entertainment.
Yet break it you must, for as long as you hold on to those negative beliefs, the life of abundance you crave (and deserve!) will always be out of reach.
It’s important to understand that a lot of people (possibly even most people) have a negative money mindset and don’t ever realise it.
The fact that so many people share this state of mind has normalised it. Not only is it seen as perfectly fine to think about money in a negative way, it’s often not considered ‘negative’ at all, but simply the nature of money.
In fact, you may encounter resistance to your efforts to develop a positive money mindset, because people are so used to their negative attitudes they’re unable to see them in that light.
As a result, your positivity can come across as over the top, a bit ‘woo woo’, and even irritating to some people. They may even try to discourage you, and shift you to think on their own terms again (especially if you always have before).
Don’t let it bother you!
With any luck your new-found positivity about money will rub off on the people around you, and help them create a more positive money mindset too.
The Difference Between A Positive And Negative Money Mindset
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Okay, great. But what exactly is the difference between a positive and negative money mindset?
Very simply put, a positive money mindset says money is an endless bounty and the world is an unending source of opportunities.
On the other hand, a negative money mindset considers money as a limited resource only obtainable through limited means, while the world is a separate entity to the forces that govern financial aspects of life.
Entrepreneurs generally have a greater capacity for a positive money mindset, because they have already thought, “I can make money doing this!”, and created an opportunity to generate income where previously it didn’t exist.
That said, a lot of entrepreneurs still struggle to maintain a positive money mindset.
Here are a few examples of negative vs. positive money mindsets, and how you can shift from one to the other. Some of them might surprise you, as they don’t appear (at first glance) to have anything to do with money!
Ego Vs. Knowledge
A negative mindset is ruled by the ego. (NOTE: I’m using the term ‘ego’ here in the psychological sense of a person who thinks using their conscious and subconscious, but not they’re unconscious. It relates to your sense of self-esteem and importance. I’m not implying people with a negative mindset are egotistical!)
When someone with a negative money mindset encounters a situation they don’t understand (or at least don’t fully understand), they do one of three things:
- Pretend they know exactly what’s going on in order to ‘save face’.
- Remain oblivious to their ignorance and genuinely believe they know best. (Attempts to tell them they’re mistaken may be met with hostility!)
- Accept the situation is unfathomable but, rather than realising it’s due to a gap in their understanding, or a misunderstanding on their part, presume someone else involved is responsible, and has made a mistake, or is potentially even trying to deceive them.
There is nothing wrong with any of these reactions, they are totally human. But they frequently have negative consequences because they don’t result in positive action that solves the problem, and can lead to hostility and arguments. What they do achieve is protecting the ego, which is running the show.
Conversely, a positive mindset is ruled by the super-ego (again, a psychology term that indicates a person who thinks using their conscious, subconscious, and unconscious). When you have a positive mindset you react quite differently to situations you don’t understand by:
- Quite plainly stating you don’t understand the situation, and asking whoever else is involved to explain it to you.
- Genuinely believing you know what’s going on and, when it is suggested that that are mistaken, listen with an open mind, consider the possibility, and if (when presented with a logical argument, or proof of your former ignorance), accept you were mistaken and ask for further explanation if needed.
- Accept a situation is outside your knowledge and, rather than look to external forces to assign blame or fix the problem, take responsibility and find the additional knowledge needed to bridge the gap.
We all know people who have a mixture of these reactions, but we’ve probably never stopped to think about the broader implications it has for their overall mindset.
Take that friend or family member who is always ‘right’, even when you both know they are wrong. You know the one; they dig in well past the point they’ve realised they were wrong, refusing to admit it and choosing to argue doggedly on.
They have a negative mindset.
Then there’s the other friend or family member who can regularly be heard saying, ‘I don’t know what that means’, and listening carefully to the explanation given. Or hopping on their phone to Google something they don’t know.
They have a positive mindset.
A positive mindset is a questioning mindset that is constantly thirsty for knowledge, understands that knowledge is infinite, and ignorance of a particular subject is not a ‘lack’, but a reflection of that infinite scope of information and an exciting opportunity to learn.
How Money Factors Into Ego Vs. Knowledge
In a situation that is unknown or misunderstood, a person with a negative money mindset might plough ahead even though they don’t fully understand, and end up paying a lot more for something than they needed to.
They might buy something that’s faulty, or unsuitable for the task, because they didn’t fully understand what was needed, or how it was supposed to work.
They will react negatively to situations like a phone provider calling and telling them they can save money on their plan, assuming it’s a ploy to get them to change to a new plan, buy something else, or waste time on a questionnaire. It usually doesn’t occur to them it might be true. If it does, and they take the time to listen but don’t get the discount (perhaps because they turn out to be ineligible), they will feel hard-done by, as if they have lost out on an opportunity, or even lost money.
When faced with a bill that is more than they were expecting, they will presume it’s a mistake on the part of the provider, and spend a great deal of time and energy trying to argue the bill down. If they really dig in, they may even refuse to pay the bill until it’s been sorted out, incurring fines and late payment fees, all over a bill that was correct from the start.
In the same situations a person with a positive money mindset will recognise they don’t know enough, and pause long enough to learn more, or enlist the help of someone who knows more.
They will happily chat to people asserting they can save them money, at least long enough to ascertain if it’s genuinely the case or not, and if it turns out it’s not the case (i.e. they’re not eligible for the offer), they won’t feel hard-done-by, but glad they took the time to check. After all, had they been eligible, it would have been well worth it.
When faced with an unexpected bill they may query it, wondering if it’s correct, but they don’t assume it’s wrong. It’s merely to ascertain why it’s higher than expected. This allows them to take action to reduce the bill, or plan better in the future. Once they know, they pay the bill.
Switch To A Learning Outlook
To develop a positive money mindset, keep an eye on how you react in situations that challenge your understanding.
If you notice yourself digging in and refusing to entertain the possibility you don’t know everything (nobody does!), or pretending you know something you don’t understand, check yourself.
Admit out loud that you don’t know what something means, or you’re not following the topic or situation.
Ask someone to explain it to you (and be open to the answer!), or take the time to research it yourself until you are well-versed.
Consumerism Vs. Entrepreneurship
Here’s another example that is a lot easier to understand in terms of money.
A negative money mindset gives people a consumer mentality. They look at a flash new car, or designer clothing range, and think about buying them.
A positive money mindset gives people an entrepreneurial perspective, and makes them think things beyond simply purchasing stuff they want. Things like:
“How can I create something like this in my own niche?”
“What is it about their marketing that’s so effective, and how can I emulate it?”
“This brand is amazing, how can I make my own brand this strong?”
“This gives me a great idea for a new business!”
“How can this further my business?”
In other words, they think like an entrepreneur, rather than a consumer about everything. Products and services aren’t simply things that can be bought. They are opportunities for creating new businesses ventures, or expanding existing ones.
Even seemingly unrelated things like hiring a cleaner, buying new clothes, getting a different car, or going on holiday, are viewed through the lens of opportunity rather than consumerism.
The cleaner isn’t just going to make your home clean, they will improve your quality of life, and free up your time to either focus more on work, or relax and enable you to become more productive when you do work.
New clothes or a new car can make you feel like a million bucks and allow you solidify your image as a successful, lucrative brand.
Holidays have a similar effect in both regards, and anything that boosts your wellbeing is an opportunity to not only improve your quality of life, but also the quality of your work, and thus your profitability.
Think Like An Entrepreneur
Ever heard the expression, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck’?
When you think like an entrepreneur by viewing everythin