Healthy perspectives must be cultivated and constantly nurtured.
For some, it’s innate. We all know the happy and positive person who nothing seems to bother. For the rest of us, myself included, having a healthy perspective requires work. But it’s work worth doing. In fact, it’s a superpower.
During the Space Race, JFK was visiting NASA, and the day had turned into night. Engineers and scientists were working long hours in the service of being the first country to put a person into space. Kennedy noticed a janitor earnestly working well into the night. He approached the man and said, “I’m Jack Kennedy, what are you doing?” The man looked at him and said, “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon.”
How you look at something makes all the difference.
That man could have said, “I’m sweeping the floor.” But he didn’t. He looked at his work as a contribution to one of the most impactful moments in our Nation’s history. And he was right. You and I have that choice as well.
My goal is to help you develop a healthy perspective on money and personal finance. If I’m successful, I’ll have done you an incredible service.
For over 20 years as a financial advisor, I’ve been helping people reframe their thinking about money. I’m honored to be named to Investopedia’s list of the top 100 financial advisors many years running.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- A massive dose of reality
- Your superpower
- Who do you want to be?
- How to become that person
- Your perspective on money and personal finance
Let’s get started.
A massive dose of reality
Words and actions have no effect on you, unless you allow them too.
You could scream the most horrendous expletives at me. But if you did it in Norwegian, I wouldn’t have any idea what you were saying. Your words would just be sounds with no meaning. And because of that, they’d have no impact or effect on me. The only way words hurt is if you allow them to.
The same is true of actions.
The worst thing to ever happen to you is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. And I bet it was terrible when it happened, and I’m sorry you went through it. But if it’s still terrible today, you’re giving it enormous power and allowing it to continue harming you. Instead, starve it of the oxygen it needs to live. Stop giving it power.
This also goes for all the little things that get under our skin. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or cuts in line at a coffee shop, the only way that negatively affects you is if you allow it to.
Now, I’m not saying you should become a doormat and let people walk all over you. I’m saying you can choose how you think, feel, and respond. You don’t have to give anything or anyone power over you.
I have good news, or I have bad news. It’s all up to you.
You have choice. You’re 100% in control of how you think, feel, and respond to your circumstances. Personal agency is the belief that the individual causes their thoughts and actions. Embracing this is a superpower. It means you, and no one else, is in control. One of the biggest and costliest mistakes we can make is giving it away.
Why would you give control of this to something or someone? I don’t think we do it consciously. I think it’s a knee jerk response. The trick is to accept ownership and take control of it. To become conscious of our agency, and to become good stewards of it.
Harnessing this superpower will improve your life. Do you want that responsibility? If yes, let’s talk about how to make it happen. If no, stop reading and go about your day.
Who do you want to be?
Remember Winnie-the-Pooh’s friend Eeyore? Eeyore was constantly negative and depressed. Do you know anyone like that? We all do.
On the flip side of that coin are positive people who feel their futures will be better than their pasts. People who don’t let things bother them or get them down. What kind of person do you want to be?
The first step to making any kind of change is deciding to change. Odds are, you’re already a fairly positive person with a healthy outlook on life. But like me, you sometimes get triggered by someone or something. It’s part of being human.
When we decide what kind of person we want to be, and we commit to becoming it, that’s when we tap into our superpower.
How to become that person
We become the person we want to become by catching our negative thinking and feeling as soon as it comes up. The faster we can recognize them, the faster we can reframe them.
According to Wikipedia, “Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then changing the way situations, experiences, events, ideas, and/or emotions are viewed. Cognitive reframing is the process by which such situations or thoughts are challenged and then changed.”
We recognize how we’re thinking and feeling about something, then make the conscious decision to think and feel differently. Ask yourself, “How would I like to think and feel about this?” Then do it.
The more you do this, the better you’ll get and the quicker you’ll become. Before long, it will become a habit and you’ll have rewired your brain. You’ll have harnessed your superpower.
Your perspective on money and personal finance
So how would you like to think and feel about money and personal finance? What’s your current thinking and feeling about it?
Remember the steps:
- Recognize your negative thinking and feeling
- Decide how you’d like to think and feel
- Start thinking and feeling that way
For each of the following go through those three steps:
- Saving money
- Investing money
- Financial security
- Peace of mind
- Personal finance
- Financial planning
- Your work
Those are all really important to think about and consider, but the last one is particularly important. The overwhelming majority of Americans dislike their jobs, and that’s a shame. We spend way too much time at work to not like it. If you find yourself in that camp, how can you reframe your career? Think back to the story about the janitor at NASA.
I don’t want to sound trite, but it’s possible to find meaning and impact in everything. It may not be easy or obvious, but it’s possible. Think about who you’re helping through your work. Consider the positive impact it’s having on others. It’s there if you want to find it. And that’s what this is all about. It’s thinking and feeling on your terms.
A healthy and positive perspective on money will help you be more successful with your personal finances. It will position you for long-term success, and I am confident that’s something you want.
Now you know. Will you accept the responsibility? Will you harness your superpower? I hope you will. We need you at your best.
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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