Saturday, 26 November 2016

Money Doesn't Care What You Think!

Two years ago I wrote a post called "Guilty", where I explained how making large sums of money had triggered a guilty conscience within me. I began to ask myself the question "Is it morally OK for me to earn such huge amounts of money, when millions of people across the globe are living in poverty or working long, back-breaking hours whilst often contributing far more to society than I am?". It seemed at the time that I was pretty much answering my own question. There was no way I could justify what I was doing in the context of how valuable it was to society as a whole. I was struggling to find any kind of personal solace from my work as a trader. It bugged me enough to consider giving up trading altogether.

Since then, I've had a complete u-turn on this belief. In fact, I now realise that this was a limiting belief that was stopping me from being even more successful financially. I went through a period of deep introspection, where I basically pulled apart all of my views about the world: from perceptions of myself and other individuals and groups of society, to my views on major topics such as religion, race, science, politics and history to deeper views about the very nature of humans and our role in the universe. You see, I thought I pretty much had it all sussed. I considered myself to be well educated and had a staunch view on almost every subject that was fairly unlikely to shift without very strong evidence to the contrary. Yet at the same time considered myself to be extremely open-minded and non-judgmental. But once I started to dive deep into my thought processes and belief systems, I soon discovered that I was not as open-minded or non-judgmental as I thought. In fact, I found out that I had dozens and dozens of beliefs that were  not totally my own but appropriated from other people and were often totally misguided, downright wrong or worse still, limiting my capacity for growth i.e. they were screwing up my life!

Most of what we believe doesn't come from any objective research, where we actively study both sides of an argument and come to an unbiased conclusion. It comes from snippets of info here and there, often from biased or misinformed sources or from the same people (friends, family, work-colleagues, media outlets) who often have the exact same outlook as we do. Or they were forced upon us as impressionable children and become "fact" because that's all we know or because we automatically trust those closest to us. This is how religion is passed down from generation to generation. Very little to do with choice. Religion is almost always an unchallenged belief passed down automatically from parent to child. Pull apart all your beliefs that you have about the world and yourself and you'll no doubt discover most of them began in your childhood. You'll also discover that many of them have little reasoning or logic behind them and are actually damaging you.

One of my biggest limiting beliefs was around money. As an adult, I saw that occasionally I was getting labelled as stingy (usually by women!) and whilst I would always deny it and go to great lengths to argue that I had to be careful with my money because I didn't have much, I knew that deep down, I was always very conscious about how much money I had. I would obsess over silly little things, such as searching around for hours online just to get a product a few extra pennies cheaper, or timing my round on a night out to make sure that I had bought at least the same number of drinks (or less!) as everyone else. I didn't want to be like this - it wasn't fun and any satisfaction I got from saving a couple of quid soon evaporated. And I never seemed to have much in my  bank account no matter how much I scrimped and saved. But I now realise that I acted this way because I had a belief that I had to be cautious with money.

You think this money cares what you think?! Hell no!!

When I delved into where that came from, it didn't take long to settle at my father. He's one of those people who'd pick empty toothpaste tubes out of the bin that you'd thrown away because, if you struggled for 10 minutes squeezing the flattened tube with every fibre of your being till your fingers bled, you could probably still get out a pea-sized amount of paste for one last brush. But then, he is part of  a generation that grew up believing that we live in a world of lack and that it is noble to save and not waste anything no matter how small. I was always acutely aware that my family didn't have much money growing up and so was super conscious not to ask for any expensive labels or demand much for birthdays. This stayed with me right up to the years when I began trading and I believe were a key reason that I struggled for so long accepting losses. But even more so, I believe that when I did start becoming successful, they placed a ceiling on what I could accrue because I started to feel guilty. Once my limiting self beliefs about money were eradicated, I no longer felt guilty and my trading hit new levels of prosperity after that.

You see, money doesn't care what you think of it! Too many of us are too heavily invested emotionally with money. We don't understand what money really is, which is a piece of paper with a number written on it that serves a function. That's it! But when most of us think about money, we think about what we can buy with it: a house, a car, a smartphone, a holiday, a month's rent, pay off debt etc. So we are invested emotionally in the money. When you see that trading bank decreasing, that red figure getting larger on your screen, you are more than likely thinking about the things you wanted (or worse, NEEDED) to spend that money on. You have too much emotion invested in it. But it stems from a limiting belief about money, which is that money is more than just a piece of paper serving a function (to eliminate the need for a barter system).

Many people see money as the be all and end all of life. They treat it as a commodity, which it isn't; it's a tool which can help you to get commodities. They see it as the answer to all their problems, the one thing that will make them happy (which it definitely won't on it's own, although it can help get you closer towards happiness). Then there's the opposite end of the spectrum: those who see money as negative. They see it as something which you have to be ultra careful with because it's scarce, finite and tough to get (none of which is true). They may think they don't deserve to earn large sums or even fear having the responsibility of looking after it. They use sayings which are ubiquitous in society such as "Money is the root of all evil" and "Money doesn't grow on trees" and what they build is a self-limiting mindset which becomes stuck in their subconscious. And that controls +95% of what you do, so you are pretty much screwed! The sooner you realise money doesn't care what you think about it, the sooner you'll acquire more of it.

Once I realised that money isn't scarce (in fact, it's abundant), I started to change my beliefs. Once I realised that being stingy and scrimping and saving were not as necessary as I was making it out to be, my habits started to slowly evolve. Once I realised that rich people are not all morally bankrupt scammers and being wealthy is a blessing, I began to believe that I could make large sums of money. Once I realised that the more money you have, the more you can help others by giving to charity, being more generous with friends or building a business based on philanthropy (which is what I'm going to be doing in future) it got rid of all my guilt and opened up the flood-gates in terms of the amount of money I was making. Without those limiting beliefs, my subconscious was no longer holding me back and so my trading actually improved. And without that, I couldn't now be working towards something that is truly rewarding and gives me greater pleasure than any material thing I can buy.

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