I keep on hearing stories about how people keep on struggling even after they get hefty raises or they receive a large sum of money. They still continue to believe that if only they get a little bit more money then they will finally be alright. Some believe that it is about the money, yet sometimes it is about their beliefs. It does not matter if they make $20,000 or $50,000 or $80,000, if their belief is that money is a struggle then it will continue to be a struggle. Beliefs are powerful; there is a saying, “whether you believe you can or you believe you can not, you are right.”
One exercise that I use to help explain why some people struggle with money is to have them answer two questions:
• Rich people are?
• I am?
Rich people are:
• Good looking
• From rich families
• College dropout
• From an under-privileged family
Do not cut this list short. Take some to create your list.
Then notice the differences. For example, some use education as a reason why they are not rich. There is a lot of statistical evidence of how college graduates make more money than those without a college diploma. Thus, people believe that there is no hope to get ahead unless they have a college education and thus many not even try if they have not graduated from college. Yet, there are also many people who never went to college who make 6 figure incomes. Yes, a college diploma is needed to get in the door to many companies. Yet, it has not stopped others from becoming rich because a college degree is not the golden ticket that many suggest. It just gets you in the door. Once in, determination and energy is required to prove that you are a valuable employee. If you do not have a college degree, you need to break down a few doors. Yet, once in, energy and determination can carry you to where you want to go including a 6 figure salary.
Many people may read this article and question how a belief can have so much power determining whether a person is wealthy or not. They will say that this article is all hog wash. Yet, beliefs play a larger part of our experience than people want to believe because beliefs work on many different levels; some levels are obvious while others are not so obvious.
• Beliefs affect determination
If a sports team going into a game believed that they could not win the game (especially when the other team scores the first points), the team would be morally defeated. They will have less energy going towards winning the game then going towards “look it is happening (we are losing) again.” Many people give up when they hit the first few bumps in the road because they believe that they can’t do it. Yet, persistence can pay off, if your beliefs do not get in the way first.
• Beliefs affect ability
I was talking to some friends about surgeons the other day. The good surgeons usually have a strong belief in their abilities (some call it ego). The question was raised, would you rather have a surgeon who constantly second guessed himself or a surgeon that instinctively knew what to do? For me when seconds count (e.g., when there is bleeding), I rather have someone who is confident in their beliefs and not second guessing themselves because their first instincts are usually right. A strong belief in your abilities can increase your ability by making you more confident.
• Beliefs affect prayer/attraction
We have heard of “power of prayer” and “law of attraction” and how many have benefited from this. For others, they wonder why their prayers and intentions towards attracting what they want have not been answered. It is important to realize that only 10 percent of our thoughts are conscious thoughts, the rest are unconscious thoughts based on our beliefs. So if we think about what we want only 10 percent of the times and counteract it with negative thoughts and subconscious opposing beliefs remaining 90 percent of the times, what do you think we will attract?
• Beliefs affect what we see
There are millions of pieces of information of which we can only process a small fraction of this information. Our mind process the information that it believes to be important (based on past beliefs on how things work or what we expect to happen). Thus, we do not see what is there now but see what we have seen in the past or expect to see.
• Beliefs affect actions
We take action based on what we believe we see. How many people have quit because they believe that their task was too hard or impossible? Our actions may be counteracting our intent unconsciously. I have met many people say that as soon as they get ahead there is always something that comes up whether it is a trip, car repair or other item. No one consciously sabotages their success. Yet, I have heard too many similar stories. For example, a student who one time saved over $800 only to spend it on a trip that she did not want to go on, just because she did not believe that she was entitled to money. In addition, how many times do people look over their shoulder as things are going good waiting for something to mess them up? Their actions can sabotage their success. Look at how the power of prayer and law of attraction can effect how something always comes up either through their actions or an event that looks like a coincidence (but is it really).
So how do we change our beliefs? The hard part is recognizing the destructive beliefs. We can not fix something that we do not know that it is broken. So ask yourself,
• What do I believe about money?
• Rich people are _____?
• I do not want money because ______?
Do you have a hidden belief that you did not know about? You can also pay attention to what happens in life because what happens can be based on your beliefs. If you see the same outcome over and over again, what belief do you have that may have caused the outcome?
Once you know what you beliefs are, you can change them by:
• Creating a new belief that is the opposite - if you believe rich people are greedy, than believe that they are generous.
• Gather evidence to support the new belief – find examples of rich people who are generous
• Make a new decision about events – if you decided rich people are greedy for not giving as generously as you believe they should, see the gift that they give as a generous gift.
It may take time to change your beliefs. It took you many years to form them, so do not beat yourself up if you fall back to these beliefs from time to time.
For more on beliefs read, Beliefs.