Limiting beliefs about money are so ingrained in our culture that we don’t even know they are limiting beliefs.
For example, you’ve probably heard idioms about money from your parents, or you may have heard (and absorbed) some in conversation that you haven’t examined very closely. Like” money doesn’t grow on trees.” Or that “money is the root of all evil.” No matter where you are or where you come from, there’s a good chance you have inherited some limiting beliefs about money.
What are limiting beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are beliefs that hold you back from achieving your goals or dreams. A limiting belief about money can prevent you from applying for a job with a great salary, or asking for a pay rise. It can prevent you from even trying to get your dream job because deep down you think you aren’t worth it or don’t deserve it.
It can keep you from jumping on a plane to take a much-needed holiday, from studying to propel yourself into a new career or from buying that outfit that makes you feel like you’re about to walk the red carpet. It can even stop you from leaving a relationship that’s not working out, because deep down you doubt you can manage on your own financially.
These beliefs tend to be rooted deep in our psyche. They come from how your parents raised you, the culture and society you grew up in, and your own personal experience.
The problem with having limiting beliefs about money is that they are detrimental to your business, your career, and your life – and they keep you stuck.
Here are three enormously limiting beliefs about money, followed by the BFB way of ditching them:
Limiting belief 1: “Money doesn’t buy happiness”
We’re often taught to believe that wealthy people are miserable because of their wealth. There are many stereotypes that reinforce that view (think Scrooge in A Christmas Carol or Mr Burns on The Simpsons). Money can certainly isolate you from friends and family who may envy your wealth (and there are plenty of shows depicting how money can tear families apart), but there’s also the spiritual belief that forgoing worldly possessions and living simply brings you greater contentment, happiness, or peace.
Instead of believing that money can’t buy happiness, you can redirect your limiting belief into an empowering one – like money gives you freedom or the resources to enjoy the things you like (such as allowing you to jump on that plane to go live/work/play on an island). Or staying at a five-star lodge vs a dodgy motel in Europe.
Whatever it is you want to do, you need money to do it. Having money alleviates a lot of stress that comes from the lack of it. It allows you to feel secure, so you don’t worry about letting others down (like, god forbid you get hideously ill without a medical plan or find yourself old without a pension). It can also help you help others.
Limiting belief 2: Money is the root of all evil
This comes from a scripture in the Bible: “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” If you live your life thinking of money as inherently bad, you’re always going to limit yourself when it comes to achieving financial freedom. Subconsciously, there will always be doubts and resistance in your mind that limit your ability to earn money and become wealthy.
Money itself can’t be evil. It’s just a form of energy, a neutral means of exchange. But obsessing about money and its acquisition isn’t going to do you any favours. You will always be a slave to chasing money if you’re caught in the cycle of craving more and more money. The most crucial thing you can do to improve your money mindset is to stop obsessing about money or thinking that more money will solve your problems.
To change your mindset, you need to stop thinking of money as intrinsically good or bad, but rather as a tool for living the life you want.
Money has no moral value. It is just something that allows you to buy things and live your lifestyle in a certain way.
Once you stop assigning a moral value to money, you will release the resistance you have towards generating greater wealth and become closer to achieving your financial goals.
According to this highly-cited study, published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, your beliefs (and attitude) about money contribute more to your financial satisfaction than your actual financial progress. By letting go of this limiting belief around money, you open yourself up to attracting abundance.
Limiting belief 3: Money doesn’t grow on trees (aka I/we never have enough money)
When you say that money doesn’t grow on trees, you’re also stating that money is a scarce resource. This means you’re coming from a place of scarcity, where there’s never enough money (to do what you want to do).
If you’re stuck in a scarcity mindset, you’ll act accordingly (in most cases, not do that thing you want to do). If you believe that money is scarce, money will be scarce.
What if you believe the opposite? What if you believe that money is something you have the power to create at any time? What if you believe there is enough money for everyone?
My story provides a great example of this:
Growing up, money was always scarce. Limiting beliefs like the above were such a part of my childhood that I took them on as gospel truth.
“You have to work hard to make money;” “money doesn’t grow on trees,” “Money is evil,” so it’s better to work hard and live a simple life (yet, all the while struggling for and obsessing about money, constantly being in a state of anxiety around the relentless lack of it). Both the pursuit of money and the absence of it were a dominant theme in my childhood.
Unfortunately, I also took on the belief that I’m bad with money. Perhaps this was a gender stereotype that was reinforced by lack of any kind of financial education (“i.e, women are useless with money”). Even though I studied economics and had some idea about how to save or grow money, I didn’t do much to improve my finances, because I was just bad with money. I didn’t have any power or control over my situation.
Luckily, I read some books including Louise Haye’s You can heal your life, Abraham’s Hicks’ Money and the Law of Attraction, and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. While some of us might dismiss self-help books, many of these ideas are rooted in business coaching and personal finance and I went on to learn similar insights from The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and The Psychology of Money.
This helped me change some of these beliefs. Instead of worrying that “I don’t have enough money”, I’d just do what I wanted to do and trust that it would all work out. So, while I have always tried to live a minimalist lifestyle, I travelled extensively, never quite knowing where the next cash influx would come from.
I’ve completed several degrees, without quite knowing why or how I’d manage financially. I’ve lived a large part of my adult life as a digital nomad before the term was even coined. I’ve taken risks and had crazy adventures, without considering how I would pay for it all (mostly). And in some cases, how I would ever pay it back (note: this is not recommended!).
While I’m not exactly there yet, I’m a lot closer than I used to be when it comes to attracting money. I now believe that I have enough money. I try not to stress in quiet work times and enjoy more time to myself, because clients recruit me instead of me chasing them like I used to. Money flows to me. It’s a difficult balance to walk (or tightrope), but it’s worked out so far.
My next challenge is to change this belief to an abundant one, namely “I have more money than I could ever need.” I can then use my attracted abundance to help others, which is a defining goal or purpose in my life. Changing my belief to “I am great with money,” will be next on the list.
Blue-footed booby success formula: How to ditch limiting beliefs about money
- Identify your limiting beliefs. Simply write down every belief you have about money
- Challenge these beliefs. Write down as many alternative beliefs or ways of thinking that challenge every single belief. Be creative 🙂
- Start noticing each time a limiting belief comes up in your daily life and try immediately replace it with a more positive and empowering one. You can also say these positive beliefs (or affirmations) on a daily basis.
- Write down your financial goals. Take small, tiny, blue-footed booby-style steps towards achieving them. Be courageous.
Financial freedom starts with your mindset. To have and do more, give money a more positive role in your life. Don’t allow disempowering and limiting beliefs about money to prevent you from achieving your financial goals.
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Lastly, remember to join the blue-foot flock! We’re always looking for nomads, dreamers and status-quo challengers like you to be part of our little clan. Blue-footed, left-handed, foot stompers and anything in between.
“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”