“What put 100,000 children in the sand? Belief can. Belief can.” – John Mayer
Woah John, that’s a bit heavy, but it illustrates a point. Let me rewrite those lyrics just a bit…
“What can put all your money in a stinky trash can? Belief can. Belief can.”
That’s better, a bit lighter and more relevant to personal financial planning, don’t you think?
You can change your entire world in an instant by changing your perception and belief. We’ve all done it whether we know it or not. But it takes perserverance and wherewithal to change beliefs, that have been part of your thinking patterns for so long. The neural pathways have been burned with the same thoughts over and over. Maybe they’re thoughts of financial failure. Maybe they’re thoughts of financial success. And if you’re lucky you’ll have no thoughts at all. Just kidding, although that’s pretty much what The Buddha was going for, apparently.
You might be thinking – bull-oney. This is all a bunch of new age crap. Well, have you heard of the term “neuroplasticity“? Using brain scans, scientists have shown that certain parts of the brain light up in one certain thoughts and feelings, and then light up in different ways with other thoughts or feelings. And then when you change your thoughts, new pathways can be grown and old ones can die away – altering your brain chemistry as well. So the trick here is to shape your brain by changing your thinking patterns to the ones you want, and in our case for financial planning success. So let’s start taking a look at your brains money neural pathways and get to using some of that neuroplasticity to our advantage.
1) Awareness – first things first, you’ve got to start with awareness. If you aren’t aware of what beliefs about money are holding you back, you can’t change them to ones that will bring you money success. This is best done when you’re in an anxious or worried state, because your thoughts will be going crazy with financial worries. Write them down or type them out. Don’t try to change them yet.
2) Gather Your List of “Negative” Money Beliefs – take a good week – at least – or more to do this. Are you constantly worried where they next paycheck will come from? Concerned about how to pay off your debt? Wondering how you’re doing to save for you kids’ college fund? Maybe thoughts or sayings pop-up like “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “rich people can’t get into heaven.” Anything and everything continue writing down your negative financial thoughts.
3) Try to Find Your “Core” Financial Beliefs – as you read over your list, start looking for patterns, group them together. Most likely there will be a core negative belief that shows up. You’ll have positive core beliefs as well, probably but those don’t necessarily need to be changed. Also what images pop into your mind? Maybe you an image flash through your head of mom scolding you, at six years old, because you spent money on candy Images from childhood. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. This can be a good way to identity core money beliefs. Watch out, you might bump into some core beliefs about yourself too. Scary!
4) Transform Your Negative Beliefs into Positive Ones – you can do this in a couple ways. You can write the opposite of the negative belief, or you can just write out what you’d like to believe. Write out as many as you can, and hopefully more than your negative beliefs list. HINT: don’t be irrational or delusional about this. Make sure your beliefs are RATIONAL. Don’t say “I want to make $10 million in the next year” if you are $100K in debt and only working at Taco Bell right now. Sorry, I believe that dreams do come true, but not like that. Something more like “I know I deserve to have a financially successful life, so I begin looking for new opportunities to make money” – this is a good rational belief example. If you say some kind of irrational belief like this yourself, more likely than not, your mind will reject it anyways. Stay rational and realistic.
5) Start the Reprogramming – everyday read your new belief list. I’m dead serious about this here. Whether you want to write them out again, read them over, or read them aloud it’s up to you. Yes, some people call these “affirmations” and they are. But they aren’t magical words that make reality go “poof”, and what you want is going to appear financially. We are working on reprogramming your brain/mind, plain and simple. No hocus-pocus law of attraction junk, or pointless self-esteem boosters. We are talking more akin to therapy techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is shown to work in many cases for reprogramming the mind. It’s really quite fascinating stuff, but that’s beyond the scope of this site.
Give it a try and let me know what you find with your comments below, or send me an email if you’d like. Good luck on changing your brain for financial success!