Not surprisingly, scarcity thinking came up during the Wealth Makeover calls last week. One common concern was how to meet financial setbacks without going into scarcity thinking.
During the calls we talked about the essential wholeness and wellbeing that is our factory default as human beings. How we are each an expression of and participant in the dance of creation, part of the formless energy or intelligence out of which everything arises and to which everything returns.
We talked about how the experience of scarcity or abundance is a function of thought, not circumstances. Consider how easy it is to be elated about getting a new client only to be deflated moments later by comparing yourself to someone else in your field.
Or how a funk about not being able to afford to travel more can give way to a wave of gratitude as you contemplate something you love about your home.
If you reflect for just a minute on your own experience, you can readily see that what seems like more than enough money in one moment can seem woefully inadequate in the next and vice versa as your thinking about your circumstances changes.
We live in the feeling of our thinking, not our circumstances.
At first blush it might seem that a smart approach to being happy and prosperous would be to manage your thinking. Think happy thoughts, have a happy life. Think prosperous thoughts, have a prosperous business.
In other words, just say no to scarcity thinking.
But it doesn’t work that way. (Besides, when you think about it, it’s kind of superstitious, don’t you think?)
It’s said that we have upwards of 80,000 thoughts a day. We notice and track only a tiny fraction of those. It’s simply not possible to manipulate your thinking to create the experiences you want.
Fortunately it’s also unnecessary.
You don’t have to fear scarcity thinking precisely because it is just thinking. And thinking can’t damage the wellbeing that is your factory default. At most it can only obscure it temporarily.
When you see that all that is going on when you’re afraid, angry, or insecure is that you’re experiencing your thinking, you can relax a bit, even though the experience may be quite intense.
When you remember that you are the thinker, you don’t need to fear the content of your thinking.
When you don’t fear or struggle with the content of your thinking, your mind is free and open to new thought, including the insight, wisdom, and common sense to live peacefully and well.
And that’s why you don’t need to fear scarcity thinking.
Photoy by Images of Money
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
I was rooting around for a topic for this week’s post, wondering what would be a slam-dunk for me (why not?) and what would be of service to you (duh!) when I had a brilliant idea.
I could write about Mark, as in Mark Silver.
Mark is a dear friend, but before we became friends, he was my coach. I hired him when I was feeling terminally stuck. With his help, I created one of my best (if I do say so myself) programs, Authentic Wealth (see the sidebar), and generated about $30,000 of new revenue.
Oh, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
Humans are creative. Creativity is part of our nature. We don’t have to try to be creative; we just are. If that’s so–and I believe it is–what’s up creative block?
Given that we are so blinking creative, human beings have developed innumerable ways of losing contact with their innate creativity. That said, here are three that are tried and true.
Looking in the wrong places
We experience creative block when we don’t find ideas where we expect or think we want them to be and then conclude that we have a problem.
It’s not looking in the wrong place that’s the problem (though it made a nice subhead, don’t you think?). I mean, if we’re talking about creativity, can there be a wrong place to look?
The problem is believing that you have a problem when you don’t find what you think you need or want.
Believing you have a problem is like putting a clamp on the hose connecting you to your creative source. The more serious you think the problem is, the more you constrain the creative flow.
What really sucks is that on some level you know this, and knowing it you lean on yourself, further constricting the flow.
That would be why the subsequent desperate scavenger hunt for ideas doesn’t usually reveal treasure after that first round of frustration. You can search high and low, but if the creative flow is constricted, you won’t see the gleam of inspiration even if it’s staring you in the face.
Which brings me to a second common way to generate creative block.
Overlooking the obvious
Sometimes the creative thing to do is so obvious that we overlook it.
You know this one if you’ve ever puzzled over what to wear only to end up with the first thing you took out of your closet. Or agonized over what to write for the About page on your web site only to find the answer staring up at you from a forgotten note or email.
I’m not going into detail with this one because it happens so often to most of us that you’ll find plenty of examples in your life in the past week.
Why do we overlook the obvious? One answer lies in a third common way to generate creative block.
If believing we have a problem is clamping down on the connection between us and our creativity, comparing our creative process or output to someone else’s is like dropping the hose. We instantly abandon our personal access to creativity as we try to figure out how to splice into someone else’s.
What’s more, we feel the disconnect. Adding insult to injury, we interpret that feeling as evidence that there really is something wrong.
That last bit is important, and it applies to all the ways in which we generate creative block. The block is insignificant compared to the belief that the block is a problem.
Worrying about creative block holds it in place
Worrying about creative block not only holds it in place, it is the block. Without worry, what we’re calling creative block doesn’t exist. In its stead are any number of moments in which any number of thoughts are freely flowing through your mind. Some you like. Some you don’t. Maybe you pick one to follow, maybe you don’t. But until you worry about it, you don’t have a creative block.
Wait a minute. Is that practical?
I can hear some of you rolling your eyes (can you hear eyes roll?). Isn’t this talk of blocks and worry just word play?
After all, if you need a creative idea, and you don’t have one, you still have a problem, don’t you?
What you have is an unmet desire that may and may not have any number of consequences (none of which, it’s worth noting, exist in the here and now).
Call that a problem of the “This needs worrying about!” variety, and you will continue to feel cut off from your creativity.
Call it a problem of the “Hmmmm…” or “Huh?” or “I wonder…” variety, and you can expect–sooner or later–to have an insight or aha that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Rely on the connection, let go of the content
As a human being you have continual access to the infinite flow of creative thought. You don’t get to control the content, but you have a a lot of choice about how connected you feel to that flow. The more connected you feel, the more likely you are to recognize inspiration when it comes along.
Your leverage is in trusting the flow, not sweating over the content or the timing.
Photo by Jessica Merz via Flickr
Last week on the monthly Goldilocks coaching call we talked about planning, goals, and productivity, and when to pressure yourself to follow through and when not to. After all, setting a goal-less goal and navigating from a nice feeling might work some of the time, but aren’t there times when you simply need to push through?
Maybe. Maybe not.
There’s pushing and there’s pushing.
We’ve all had experiences of pushing through that feel fantastic. We’ve all had experiences of pushing through that feel crummy.
What I’d like you to see is that the feeling that accompanies pushing through will tell you whether or not it’s a good idea. (more…)
A number of years ago I found myself at the first meeting of the new year with my mastermind group. Given the nature of the group and the time of year, it seemed logical to set goals. Logical maybe, but it wasn’t happening for me.
I searched my thoughts and found myself without any compelling goals. I could have devised some, but they would have been made up, based on shoulds and oughtas and might-as-wells rather than on vision, service, or–dare I say?–fun. So I decided to invoke the power of the mastermind to protect me from mindless goal setting and keep me in the slipstream of reality.
The result was what one of my buddies christened OSMolly: (more…)