If you’re going to have an extraordinary life, you must master your emotions, that is, understand and control them. This is especially true when it comes to money. Because as many of you have learned the hard way, there are consequences when you let emotions run rampant.
“The quality of your life equals the quality of your emotions.” – Tony Robbins
We all have an emotional home – a place that we are most comfortable with, and therefore experience the most. Shame. Fear. Guilt. Power. Freedom. These are just a few of the common emotions we associate with money. We have trained our brains to react to financial circumstances with those emotions. We make these choices unconsciously, and therefore we often select emotions that do not serve us in a productive way.
We’re not wired for happiness; we are wired for anxiety. We are wired for what’s wrong. We are wired for survival, which means our brain is constantly looking for anything that could hurt us. This serves us well when we’re crossing a busy intersection, but it does not serve us if we permanently live in that emotional state, always fearing what danger might lurk around the corner.
Your brain is not designed to make you happy. That is your job. The good news is you get to choose which emotions you want to experience the most. And because your unconscious beliefs drive your emotions, you first need to address the beliefs you have about money.
Your unconscious beliefs about money are keeping you from the life you really want.
“I’m not one of those people.” “Rich people are greedy.” “Money is the root of all evil.” (By the way, it says “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.”) Do you have one of these beliefs, or one like it? As long as you’ve got negative connotations to “rich,” your chances of achieving the wealth you desire are slim to none, because at an unconscious level, we all move toward the identity that we think is aspirational. As such, if you have a negative belief about money and you begin to have some monetary success, you will unconsciously sabotage your success to remain congruent with your deep-seated beliefs.
Most of these beliefs were not chosen consciously; they are a product of our environment or experiences in our formative years. But the great news is that you can choose for yourself what you believe now – so choose something that serves you. For example: “I am blessed to be a blessing,” “I am a force for good,” or “I am an abundance maker.”
Create a compelling future, because it’s essential to maintain the vision and hunger necessary to keep going when things are hard. If you’re missing a compelling future, you will not use your physiology effectively. You will not ask good questions. You will come up with language and meanings that sabotage the future you really want.
Once you have created a compelling future, it is time to put that vision to work.
The numbers that make us squirm
Everyone has a threshold of control – a limit to what they are comfortable dealing with around money. Certain numbers – whether gains or losses – start to make people squirm. They are the numbers that take us far beyond what we’ve ever experienced before, a depth and level of the unknown that scares us.
A leader must expand his or her threshold of control, expanding in confidence and ability. Otherwise you stunt your growth, condemning yourself to a mediocre life rather than the compelling future you envisioned for yourself and those you love. You must build the emotional muscle necessary for this the same way you would build your physical muscle – by repetitively lifting more than you think you can, embracing discomfort now so you can break through your limitations.
Tony experienced some painful moments in his journey to success that allowed him to break through his own thresholds of control.
When you create change, you create uncertainty, which goes against the core need structures that many people have. So you need to develop tools to be able to break through your threshold.
How to break through your threshold
You can change how you feel in an instant by changing your physiology. Think about it: how do you stand when you feel proud or excited? What does your posture look like when you’re ashamed or depressed? If you sit down to look at your financial statements and you immediately adopt a slumped posture, you are telling your brain how to feel. Sit down, full of energy – or even stand – the next time you approach your finances and be astounded at how different you feel.
Tony’s favorite way to train his brain to respond with the emotions he knows will serve him is a process called priming. This tool involves consciously stacking what you’re grateful for, consciously owning what is already beautiful and actually taking it in not as a disassociated thought, but as something in your gut. Spending at least ten minutes each morning focusing on the things he is grateful for allows Tony to respond with gratitude whatever the circumstances he finds himself in.
You don’t need to be perfect; all you need to do is interrupt your negative patterns. Use these tools to train your brain to respond to money with emotions that you actually want in your life. Consider the consequences if you continue to accept your current emotional patterns around money. Is that what you want?
Now think of what would be possible, allowing yourself to really believe it. What would life be like if your approached your finances – or those of your business – feeling confident and grateful. What would change? What could you do that you couldn’t do before? What would be possible?
The formula for wealth
What is wealth? There are people that have lots of money, but they aren’t wealthy, because wealth is really a state of appreciation. If you feel scarcity around money now, you’re always going to feel scarcity, no matter how successful you become. You don’t get beyond scarcity; you start beyond it. Abundance is a mindset, not a dollar amount. Cultivate gratitude for the things you have now and everything that is added will feel like a bonus. Remember that 75% of the world is living on two dollars a day. Your worst nightmare is their greatest possible dream.
You want a formula for wealth? Trade your expectations for appreciation and your entire life changes in that moment. The lack of appreciation is the only thing that will make you truly poor.