If you aren’t achieving your financial goals, it could be your mindset — and particularly how you ascribe explanations for others’ financial success — holding you back.
In this month’s Financial Fridays episode we are talking about limiting beliefs. I’m sure at some point I’ll bring this topic up in a Motivational Monday as well, as strategies for defeating limiting beliefs has been on the content roadmap since the beginning. For today, let’s talk about how your limiting beliefs are keeping you poor and simple ways to change your perception so you can increase your chances of ending up in the financial winner’s column no matter where you’re coming from.
The first thing you need to do to change your perspective — and I promise we will get to the finance context here in a moment — is to immediately begin practicing removing “I don’t have time to ____” from your lexicon. We’ve talked about this on the show before, I believe as far back as Episode 7 where we discussed how you can master anything dedicating only five hours a week. Change this “I don’t have time” phrase to “I’m not currently making it a priority.” By doing this, you’re able to articulate to others and yourself what you view as important in life, and you’re able to remind yourself that you are in control of your life.
I talked very recently on this show about making luck and how I often hear others’ achievements written off as “luck.” The same type of barely-valid excuse-making exists in finances, perhaps in a much bigger way as I am constantly seeing people financially prioritize one thing over another and then complain about being unable to pay a bill or attend a trip or repay a debt, yet somehow that same person finds the funds to party hard with bottle service three nights a week.
I even see mainstream media write some things off at times, and very often it’s the comments section of a personal finance article that’s most filled with excuse-making, circular logic, and vitriol. Excuses like:
But how lucky is it to have spent a ton of time studying and learning and dedicating oneself to saving responsibly while the same people adamant that these achievements of others are due to advantages are driving around in Maseratis and living in 8-bedroom homes they don’t need and struggle to afford.
Often times the excuses — these limiting beliefs — go as far as to claim that people succeeding are only doing so because of circumstances that don’t exist anymore or, as mentioned, because of advantages that they themselves didn’t have. While those advantages may truly have differed, if these excuses were truly consistently accurate, why is it that every single day I see someone new posting to reddit announcing their early retirement, and not every single one comes from the perfect house with the perfect parents and the perfect job all from the jump?
Why is it that every day there’s a new teenager hitting some new astronomical milestone on YouTube and half of them come from money and half of them come from money? And yet for every new kid making millions on social media, there’s 10,000 people commenting about how they can’t or don’t achieve the same because of XYZ reasons.
Without a doubt, looking at every financially successful person, there are many who started with a leg up and others who didn’t. Some had to work harder than others to get there. Some got luckier than others to get there. But I would just about guarantee that none of them wrote the success off as luck, which again goes back to Episode 36 last month. If you want to hear about luck, check that episode out. In this one, we’re talking about limiting beliefs, and if you’re the type to use these types of explanations for others’ success, understand that these are your limiting beliefs. You are in control of this. You are in control of changing your situation, and you are in control of changing your perspective from:
“I’m not making that a priority right now.”
If you can’t say that and feel comfortable about it, you’re lying to yourself, you’re making excuses, and those excuses are keeping you broke and making it harder and harder and harder for you to pull away from the cycle of being and staying broke.
When you look at the people who achieve amazing things financially, would they all be broke and inconsequential had they come into this world with one less advantage? Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Arianna Huffington, J.K. Rowling, these are people I believe are the sort who would have found some path to success regardless of their context.
If you are currently not making the money you want to make, if you want a shot at making real money, you need to start by identifying and addressing your limiting beliefs. What excuses do you make for why you aren’t achieving those goals? Of course there are plenty of scenarios that might stop you from doing that now. That’s okay too — change the language to “I’m not currently prioritizing that, because I am ___.” Maybe you’re in school, you’re recovering from cancer, your daughter has a developmental challenge that requires a ton of expensive additional education and care.
Those are legitimate explanations for why your job search or side hustle or ongoing education and enrichment are on hold for now. Even then, get in the habit of quieting your limiting beliefs by simply saying, “that isn’t a priority right now.” Rather than being jealous that the class clown from middle school is now a successful EDM DJ, rather than being jealous that the rowdy kid from high school is one of the biggest celebrities in e-sports, rather than being jealous of the up-and-coming YouTuber who made millions by investing in Bitcoin in 2010, find motivation in that. By the way, all three of those are real examples for my own life in terms of people around me. Celebrate and congratulate their successes as you seek opportunities to find your own. Of course you aren’t starting with the advantages of someone else “above” you financially, but there are many in the past to do well from much less than you have, and many who are doing it right now and many who will continue to do it. The difference is that those individuals are very likely not in the habit of making excuses and letting themselves hit glass ceilings imposed by their own limiting beliefs.
Control your decisions and your actions and your perspective and take real action today to stifle those limiting beliefs. Use that momentum to improve your financial situation — for most of us, achievement of even the most aggressive but mathematically feasible financial goals is limited only by your own mindset.
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