5 Money Myths That Make Success Harder
Your ability to accumulate wealth depends on how you think about money.
If you belief negative things about money, you may be creating an undertow of self-sabotage that's keeping you from being successful. Here's are the beliefs to avoid:
1. "The rich are not like you and me."
This quote from The Great Gatsby is usually trotted out in news stories that report some appalling excess of some really wealthy person. It's another way of saying "rich people are jerks."
Unfortunately, if you believe that the rich are jerks, you will subconsciously block yourself from becoming rich simply because you don't want to be a jerk.
But consider: while it's true that when it comes to charity, the wealthy give far less to charity than the poor give, that's not true of everybody.
Many wealthy people are true philanthropists and the best of these give quietly and carefully, without much fanfare.
Put another way, while wealth probably makes it easier to be a jerk, it doesn't automatically make you into a jerk. If you're not a jerk now, there's no reason to believe you'll be a jerk when you've got a lot of money.
In other words, the rich ARE like you and me.
2. "The love of money is the root of all evil."
This is often misquoted as "money is the root of all evil," but with all due respect to Saint Paul, both versions are equally untrue.
As I see it, it's the love of power that causes evil in the world. Whether it's a mass crime like genocide or a personal crime like sexual assault, money is incidental. Evil proceeds from the lust to wield power over somebody else.
Insofar as money is a vehicle for acquiring that power, it plays a role, but absent power-lust, money and the love of money are both wonderful things. Money is how you--yes, you!--can make the world a better place.
It's worth giving a little love.
3. "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves."
This traditional proverb is emblematic of thinking that creates poverty. You find it today in personal finance books that recommended that you track every penny you spend.
I beg to differ. The amount of wealth that you're able to acquire in life is directly proportional to the amount that you can spend without thinking "Wow, that's a lot of money!"
So if you're thinking about pennies, you'll never be thinking about millions. You simply won't be able to get there from here.
While it's true that small expenditures DO add up (spending $3.50 every day on a coffee drains nearly $1,300 a year), you should be thinking about the $1,300 not the $3.50. Rather than saving a few cents by buying your coffee somewhere else, spend $400 for a cappuccino machine.
Worrying about pennies is just a distraction. Sometimes you need to spend big to save big.
4. "Time is money."
Benjamin Franklin's famous maxim is true in the sense that earning a salary generally involves the expenditure of time. However, the ideal situation it not to get a big salary but to make money while you're sleeping.
That's why investments, royalties and property are so important to the acquisition of wealth. They all involve an influx of money that's not tied to your time.
Your goal is to BREAK the time/money equation. Believing that they're "equal" is setting yourself up to remain a wage slave all your life.
5. "Money makes the world go 'round."
This line from the musical Cabaret is emblematic of a entire cluster of beliefs about how money is way more important than anything else.
However, as you become more wealthy, money becomes successively less important. Billionaires, for example, just use money to keep score. They rarely worry much about it all that much.
Poor people, by necessity, put the acquisition of money highest on their list of priorities. However, continuing to focus on money like that leaves you thinking like a poor person.
As you succeed, your challenge isn't to make money, but to make most out of your life by finding ways to make others happy. You concentrate on adding value, which later translates into having plenty of money.
In other words, it's relationships (or "love" if you prefer) that makes the world go 'round. Money is just a byproduct.
More about money, belief and success:
- 10 Things Better Than Money
- 3 Emotions at the Root of Success
- 10 Things Employees Want More Than a Raise
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James was recently named a "Top 40 Social Selling Marketing Master" by Forbes, and his blog has won awards from the Society of American Business Editors and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. His writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Wired, Brandweek, and Men's Health, and he is the author of numerous books, including The Tao of Programming, Business Wisdom of the Electronic Elite, and, most recently, Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know.