Of the top five areas that my clients typically want to work on (career, love, money, body, time), money is the one that seems to feel the most rigid and hard to change. After all, your job pays $X, your expenses are $Y, and there is something that feels very “out of my hands” about that.
My goal in today’s blog is to put money back into your hands. Here is how.
We each have a set of beliefs about money, and it is those beliefs that keep us in our current rigid paradigm. The thing to realize is that these beliefs are not necessarily “the truth,” they really are subjective; for this reason, at the Handel Group®, we call them “theories.” They are “theories” because they can be proven wrong. I used to have the theory that if I had been financially wronged, I had to right that wrong. In my mind, it became a matter of principle and pride, even if it didn’t make financial sense. I call this theory my “justice theory.”
My justice theory was tempted to raise its head again the other day. I ordered $10 glow-in-the-dark el-wire for an event, and the webpage said that I would have my wire well before the event. Two days before, I noticed that my el-wire hadn’t arrived yet. I went back to the website, and saw that the estimated delivery date was now two weeks AFTER the event! The vendor had misrepresented shipping times, and now the wire was being shipped on a boat from China. Seriously? I had had great plans for this el-wire, and now it was too late to order another in time.
When the wire finally arrived a few weeks later, my justice theory was tempted to kick in. It reasoned that I should return the wire, get my $10 back, and make the vendor pay for return shipping. Except the return process wasn’t quite that easy, as the vendor does not routinely offer to pay for return shipping. I could tell that it would take a bit of a fight, a few email chains, and a trip to the post office to make this return happen. Now, had I been in the throes of my ”justice theory,” I would have done all of that work to return the $10 wire. Because I was wronged, and I need to right the wrong.
Those of you who don’t have my justice theory are probably shaking your head right now. As you should, because the problem with my knee-jerk reaction is that it does not make financial success. In the time it would take to fight for my $10 return, I could instead do so many things that could make me more money. I could:
- better research investment opportunities for my retirement money.
- have the time to take the subway instead of a cab.
- hem my pants instead of sending them to the tailor.
- attend a networking event and meet interesting people who might be able to help me in the future.
All of these things would likely be worth more than $10 to me. And yet, if I let my justice theory cloud my thinking, I would have spent that time to return $10 el-wire.
Luckily for me, I caught that theory dead in its tracks, and made a choice. I chose to keep the el-wire, and give myself permission to spend the time wisely somewhere else. I chose to follow a new theory, which says that “it’s best to spend my time in a way that most creates the life I want to live.” Returning that el-wire did not create my dream for wealth as well as not returning the el-wire, and so I didn’t return it.
I know that this is a simple, somewhat idiosyncratic, example, but consider that you each have your own wacky theories around money that have you acting in a way that does not create the wealth you want. What is yours? Write a note and share.
Want to learn how to find and debunk your bad theories around money, or any other area of your life? We have two options for you: Sign up for one of our Design Your Life Weekends this fall in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto. OR come to our Change your Mind About Money teleseminar.