Changing Your Financial Thermostat
Research has shown that our thoughts and beliefs around money are largely formed before the age of 7. These beliefs collectively form our money blueprint or financial thermostat.
As author T. Harv Eker puts it:
Your financial blueprint consists of a combination of thoughts, feelings and actions in the arena of money. It consists primarily on the information or “programming” you received in the past, and especially as a young child.
Programming leads to your thoughts
Thoughts lead to feelings
Feelings lead to action
Action leads to result
There are three primary “programmes” we are influenced by:
The First Influence: Verbal Programming
What did you hear repeatedly about money growing up? What your parents believed is likely the basis of what your own beliefs are today. They remain in our subconscious mind and we are often not even aware of them, but they conditioning our thinking (Remember: Thinking leads to feelings, actions and outcomes).
Some common phrases you may have heard while young that have negatively conditioned your money beliefs are: money is the root of all evil, rich people are bad, you can’t be rich and spiritual, money doesn’t buy happiness, filthy rich, and we can’t afford it.
Taking this last one, Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) suggests a way to reshape this thought. Changing “I can’t afford it” into “How can I afford it?” As he explains:
“One lets you off the hook, and the other forces you to think. By automatically saying the words ‘I can’t afford it,’ your brain stops working. By asking the question ‘How can I afford it?’ your brain is put to work.”
The second Influence: Modelling
What were your parents like in the arena of money when you were growing up? Were they spenders, investors, business owners or working 9-5?
Children learn by imitating and copying what they see adults or other children do.
The behaviour they witness growing up is as important that the word they hear.
Third Influence: Specific Incidents
The third primary “programme” refers to experiences we had when we were young around money, wealth or perhaps rich people. Emotionally charged incidents are extremely important as they shape our personal beliefs.
If you were mocked at school for wearing hand me down clothes or not being able to afford the latest cool trainers. Perhaps you were desperate for a particular toy or present for Christmas but ended up disappointed or hurt.
These emotional scars can lurk in our subconscious minds and we attach a belief to them such as “I am not worthy of love” or “I don’t deserve nice things”.
It sounds crazy that not getting that bike for your tenth birthday can have a lasting impact on your finances, but our subconscious minds record everything.
I was working with a coaching client recently who had decided to apply for better paid jobs. One application form he completed asked for previous salary details which revealed 2 interesting points.
Firstly, all his recent jobs, over the past 10 years had paid around the same salary. Secondly, he felt very uncomfortable about applying for jobs at a significantly higher salary.
It was clear that he had a financial thermostat set at the level of his currently salary and need some coaching around shifting that higher.
Think for a minute How would you feel applying for a job at twice your current salary?
How does your emotion and your body react to these questions? Do you feel excitement and a smile appears on your face?
Or is there internal anxiety, discomfort or even fear?
Right there you have realised your blocks that are holding you at the material level you are currently at.
These blocks are nothing but old, unnecessary and false programs and beliefs that have been programmed in your childhood and now they are working on autopilot, making you think you cannot exceed a certain financial barrier. And despite the fact that you may really want to and are making major efforts in this direction, nothing in your financial world is currently changing for the better.
When we were children, we were taught how to think about money but often not in a deliberate or constructive way. We learned how much or how little we can have and how difficult or easy money can be obtained. Some of us were taught to think that rich people are greedy. We may also have been taught to believe that having money is bad and far from being spiritual.
Do you ever find yourself saying “I just can’t get ahead”?
When some additional money comes in, you find that it slips away almost immediately. Maybe the car or the washing machine will break down or you will buy something you don’t really need. Immediately unplanned expenses crop up and before you look back the extra money will melt away.
Be completely honest with yourself. Have you not had such experiences in your life?
It explains why statistically nearly a third of lottery winners eventually declare bankruptcy.
4 Steps To Change Your Negative Money Mindset
1. Let Go of Past Money Mistakes
There are probably tons of financial decisions in the past that I wish I could go back, erase, and do-over. Unfortunately, that isn’t how life works. The only thing we can do now is to use what you have learned from those experiences to help make better decisions today.
Once you accept the financial failures in the past, you are able to move on from them, but it usually requires a change in mindset. Starting with a fresh perspective on money, can be a breath of fresh air.
It is time for you to do the same thing. Let go of your financial failures and start to move on!
2. Eliminate Scarcity Mindset
The scarcity mindset is believing there is never enough. In your mind, you believe that no matter what you do, there will never be enough.
But, in almost every case, that simply isn’t true. There will always be enough; it may not be exactly what we want or like. But, your needs will be met.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and Space X once tried as an experiment to live on $1 a day. Once he found he could survive on packet noodles and day-old bread it shifted a fear of never having enough. Which he credits as laying the foundation of abundant minded thinking.
The opposite of a scarcity mindset is an abundance mindset. In order to have a healthy relationship with money and move towards financial freedom, then seeing your life through an abundance mindset will be a game-changer.
3. Reflect Gratitude
Be thankful for what you do have. Look around and see what you have.
As discussed on a previous episode of The Fearless Finance podcast an attitude of gratitude will always find the positive no matter what may be currently going on around you.
4. Commit to What You Want
According to T Harv Eker, the number one reason most people don’t get what they want is that they don’t know what they want.
The financially successful are totally clear about the wealth they want and are unwavering in their desire to attain it. They are fully committed to creating wealth. As long as it’s legal, moral, and ethical, they will do whatever it takes to have wealth. Rich people do not send mixed messages to the universe. Poor people do.
Look at your salary or income over the last 10 years, does that reflect your financial thermostat?
Be honest about what you really want. What level of wealth do you desire? What can you do to achieve this?
If you found this post useful you may enjoy the Fearless Finance Podcast.
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