In Cervantes’ classic tale, Alonso Quixana, a humble farmer, summons his considerable courage, and under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha he sets out to defeat the forces of evil. In one classic scene, the magnificently deluded hero takes on an army of ferocious giants, in reality a field of windmills.
And don’t you know? Most of our efforts to defeat financial security amount to the same thing. With the best intentions in the world, we tilt at windmills, while overlooking the true source of our problems and their solution.
With the best intentions in the world we work to shift limiting beliefs. We boldly challenge the windmills of laziness and lack of focus. We do brave battle with our family histories.
There’s no question of our courage or sincerity.
But we might want to take a second look at our premises.
Financial security arises from the inside out
What I’m about to say may not come as a surprise, but if you’re tilting at any of the aforementioned windmills, you haven’t fully seen the implications.
Financial security is an inside out proposition.
It has nothing to do with your bank balance or credit card debt. It’s not the result of discipline or the product of your childhood training.
It’s 100% the product of your moment to moment thinking.
Financial security doesn’t require a battle with limiting beliefs
By definition we recognize that a limiting belief has no inherent validity. We understand that it’s a thought. But because it’s got some momentum behind it, because it has become familiar, we think it has more significance than other thoughts.
But it doesn’t. It’s still just a thought.
When you see–really see–that limiting beliefs are simply thoughts like any other thoughts, you also see that you don’t have to work on yourself or your circumstances to get free from them.
After all, when you see that the giants are windmills, you don’t have to work on yourself to stop doing battle.
Financial security doesn’t come from trying harder
When we’re in the grip of financial insecurity, trying harder only makes it worse.
Most of the mistakes we make about money are rooted in wishful thinking or fear, and often both. We try so hard to get it right–or worry so much about getting it wrong–that we can’t think clearly.
When instead we see that financial insecurity is an infallible sign of insecure thinking, we can step back, do the sensible thing, and stop trying to think our way out.
And as soon as our thinking settles down, wisdom and common sense will suggest the simple next step.
Financial security doesn’t involve working through family history
Memories are simply thinking in the present about what we thought we experienced in the past. When you see this, sorting through your family history as a way to resolve financial insecurity doesn’t make any sense. There’s nothing to sort through when you see it as thought. Or thought about thought.
As the saying goes, there’s no there there.
(And what a relief it is to drop that drama, eh?)
Financial security is rooted in your innate wellbeing
The only real security is the security that comes from recognizing your innate wellbeing. The wellbeing that is always there underneath the sturm and drang of the human experience.
The sun that never goes away no matter what the weather may be.
When you remember that you are always okay, that the only thing that can obscure your wellbeing is thought, you know where to look for your security.
You can use your sense of wellbeing as a touchstone or a compass with which to navigate your financial life.
This isn’t about living in la-la land
You might be concerned that navigating your financial life by means of a peaceful feeling means abdicating responsibility. That you’d be living in a la-la land.
Don Quixote lived in a fantasy world in which he believed windmills were giants. We live a fantasy world when we believe that our security rises and falls with external circumstances.
When we believe that our security depends on our circumstances, we cling to what we think will make us happy and we cringe from what we think will make us sad. Both clinging and cringing take us out of the present moment. They throw us into the past or the future and cause us to disengage from life.
That’s living in la-la land.
But when we see that security is an inside job, we stop tilting at windmills. We will still experience ups and downs related to money and wealth. That goes with being human. But we won’t need to be terrorized by our thinking.
We’ll still see giants from time to time, but more and more often they will look suspiciously like windmills.
Photo by Mirari Erdoiza via Fotopedia.com
We’ve all had friends who repeat romantic mistakes.
You may know a dreamy-eyed romantic who confuses surface and substance. Or perhaps your friend is a sad-eyed victim who sees deception and shallowness behind the face of every prospective mate.
From where you sit, it’s easy to see where they go wrong. Their preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides their innate wisdom and common sense. Dazzled by dreams of the future or blinkered by the memory of past disappointment, they can’t see clearly in the present.
The same thing happens when it comes to money. We may be dazzled by visions of wealth, spend more than we can afford, make shaky investments, or buy into the latest scheme for making money online or off. On the other hand, fear of financial insecurity may cause us to shut down. When that happens, we deny ourselves even small pleasures or starve our businesses because we are afraid to invest in equipment, training, or help.
Just as with romance, when it comes to money preoccupation with attaining happiness or avoiding disappointment overrides your innate wisdom and common sense.
Whether we’re talking about love or money, the problem is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding: the fallacy that your happiness and wellbeing depend on outside circumstances. And because it doesn’t work that way, the harder you try to manage your circumstances to get what you want or avoid what you don’t want, the farther away you get from the very experience of security that you seek.
And the less secure you feel, the more confused your thinking becomes, and the less access you have to the wisdom and common sense you need to make good decisions in the first place.
But as soon as you stop looking outside of yourself for happiness and wellbeing, your thinking begins to clear. You feel secure, because you are secure. Because you don’t need external circumstances to be one way or another in order to be okay, you don’t argue with reality, and you see your circumstances more clearly.
And when you see your circumstances clearly, you naturally make better decisions. And then, don’t you know, your circumstances tend to improve. It’s a virtuous circle.
If you’re reading this, odds are that getting rich isn’t your top priority, but even though your humanity is vastly more important than your bank account, you may be living with confusion, anxiety, and feelings of powerlessness around money.
If that feels accurate to you, I invite you to join me for Authentic Wealth, a seven week virtual retreat, a teleconference-based experience designed to shift your relationship to money and wealth. Click here to learn more about Authentic Wealth.
Growing from money by Aaron Patterson
Broken Heart by Loretta Stephenson
According to UNESCO, in 2012, 6,385,982,746 around the world went to the movies. That’s over six billion willing participants in agony, ecstasy, and everything in between.
Because we know that our wellbeing is not at stake, when we go to the movies we willingly, even eagerly, give ourselves over to a whole gamut of emotions, including emotions we might actively recoil from in our daily lives.
Life is like a movie
In a very real sense, we live in movies of our own making. Our thoughts are like reels of film brought to life by the projector of consciousness. That’s why two people can share the same circumstances, yet experience entirely different realities.
One person cringes in the rain, another dances.
It’s why our own experience of a situation can change dramatically with a flickering change of thought. One moment we can be ecstatic about a new project, the next we are paralyzed by the same opportunity.
It’s magical, really. Marvelous. Through thought and consciousness we participate in an ongoing dance of creation, one that is continually producing movies that surprise and delight us.
And that can sometimes scare the crap out of us.
The dance of creation produces some upsetting movies
Sometimes the dance of creation gives rise to upsetting movies, movies which produce experiences we would rather not have. I mean experiences we really and truly do not want.
Intense anxiety, jealousy, and frustration, for example.
But consciousness is the most effective projector imaginable. Because it recruits all of our perceptions, as human beings, we have full bodied, wholehearted experiences of our thinking, not puny impressions of it.
So it is that knowing an experience is produced by a movie of our own making doesn’t make the experience go away. In reality, being human means getting lost in a movie from time to time.
The point is not to avoid getting lost in a movie. The point is to realize that we don’t need to be afraid of what happens when we do get lost.
Even when you’re lost, it’s still a movie
Even when you get so caught up in a thought-generated movie that you can’t seem to get out from under your feelings, it’s still a movie.
Even though you can’t change the reel or stop feeling what you feel, it’s still a movie.
And when you remember that it’s a movie, no matter how crappy or scary your experience may be, you realize you don’t have to get rid of it, change it, or fear it.
You can let it be.
Wait! Shouldn’t you change the film?
When you’re lost in the movie, the best thing you can do is let it be.
The idea that you should change the film reinforces the belief that what you experience in the movie can actually harm you.
And odds are that if you try to change your thinking, running a new film over the top of the old, the projector will jam, leaving you feeling even more stuck, trapped, and victimized by your experience.
But when you understand that all that is happening is that you’re caught up in a very real seeming movie, you can relax a bit. Your experience may not go away, and you still won’t like it, but you won’t be terrorized because you are having it.
As you relax, your sense of innate wellbeing will return, and your wisdom will gradually reassert itself. Your thinking will settle, and in time the movie will change of its own accord.
You don’t have to feel okay to be okay
Understanding the nature of the human experience doesn’t protect you from having one.
Realizing that you’re caught up in a movie doesn’t mean that the movie won’t affect you, but it does mean that no matter what is happening on the screen, you are always safe in your seat.
And remembering these things will remind you that you don’t have to feel okay to be okay.
You might as well enjoy the show.
As a coach I point my clients in the direction of their innate wellbeing. As their understanding of the spiritual principles behind the human experience deepens, their joy increases. They act with greater ease, creativity, grace, and wisdom.
If this resonates and you’d like to have a conversation to see if we are fit, click here to visit my coaching page and schedule an interview.
Photo by Sam Howzit via Flickr
I can get really nervous around brides to be.
I have a lot of thinking about the time, energy, and expense involved in planning a wedding. Some of that is my stuff. Some comes from seeing good people transformed into bridezillas by attachment to their visions of the perfect day.
In their innocent preoccupation with ideals of love, grace, and beauty, they can become disconnected from the feeling behind it all. When that happens, their well laid plans and the need to have those plans unfold exactly as designed drives them and the people around them nuts.
The same thing can happen in your business. (more…)
A few weeks ago one of the participants in the Profit Alchemy course shared this quote from William Morris:
If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
It’s a rule that applies equally well to business. (more…)
When I look back over the years that I’ve been in business, I see that my best decisions have all been grounded in a good feeling.
I’m not talking about feeling blissed out or jazzed or confident, though those things have sometimes accompanied the good feeling.
I’m talking about something simpler, more fundamental: the underlying sense that, in the words of Dame Julian of Norwich, “All is well, and all manner of things shall be well.” (more…)