Money is not something we typically talk about here in America.
Well, that’s not necessarily true. If you’re making a lot of It, people talk, sing, rap, and boast about It. Some do It in a humble way, saying if I️ can do this, you can too. Others subtly show off their wealth with their cars and gadgets. But if you’re struggling to make ends meet, no one talks. It’s like a silence that hangs over the room, but most aren’t willing to stare the problem in the face. Most of us take our problems to the grave. You hope that maybe if you ignore It, the problem will go away.
But of course, ignorance only makes the problem worse.
Last year I️ went through a pretty rough patch with my finances. I’ve written a couple blog posts about my experiences, talking about how It was one of the best worst experiences of my life. I️ found myself unable to save or invest. I️ slept on a coach for 10 months to make It work. And as frustrating as It was, It was also an eye-opener. This kind of setback showed me a lot about myself, some good, some bad.
Setbacks teach you a lot about who you are and what you can handle. They can also show you incorrect ways your thinking and areas you need to improve.
It also showed me that my self-worth had become my net-worth.
Anytime my bank account went below a certain threshold, my attitude, energy levels, confidence, and happiness would plummet. And when I️ got paid, the heavy feeling of low self-worth would go away.
I️’d trained my self-awareness enough to watch It happen, time and time again, yet felt powerless to control It. It felt like there was so much abundance happening around me and online — but not for me.
All I️ wanted was to pursue mastery and create, but my sorry state of finances were telling me I️ wasn’t good enough. How can you help others when you can’t even help yourself?
It took me a while, but the answer came in three parts:
1. Believe things will work out for the better
Every time my bank account was low, money unexpectedly found its way to me. I️ didn’t have as much as I️ wanted, but I️ had just enough of what I️ needed. It was as if God (insert your own beliefs here) was showing me that things work out for the better when you believe and act as though they will. It was a powerful lesson for me about how needs gravitate towards you when you ask for them.
2. Let go of the expectations of what I️ think should happen
Doesn’t It always seem like the more you try the less effective you become? The more you try to beat your head against a problem, the more confused you become. It’s like digging a hole with a fork: you can do It, but it’s going to take a while. Only when you let go of trying to control everything, the answer presents itself. The more I️ tried to control my situation, the less control I️ had over It. By letting go of my expectations, I️ opened myself up to real opportunities to make a difference.
3. Share the story.
-Who doesn’t love rags to riches stories? They motivates us and show us what’s possible. If she can do It, so can I️. It’s okay to not have things figured out. In fact, no one has everything figured out. What you have is a unique story to tell that could change the lives of people facing their own setbacks and failures. Hiding your story out of embarrassment or fear is preventing you from making an impactful change in others. Share your story. Show your battle scars.
Your Net-worth is not your Self-Worth
Have you ever been to a grocery store and your card declines?
Ughh been there. It’s an embarrassing feeling. But you shouldn’t kick yourself when you’re down because you don’t have enough, you should be kicking yourself into action because you didn’t have the self-awareness of knowing whether or not you had enough for groceries.
If you find the number in your bank account is directly linked to how you happy you are and how much you love/hate yourself, it’s time to make a change.
How much money you have — or how much you lack — doesn’t define you.
Self-worth comes from deeper things than money. We gain strength from staying true to our character, and putting happiness and wisdom over wealth.
There’s something to be said that the happiest places in the world are the poorest. That being said, money can enhance your passions and reach. Money isn’t evil, it’s what’s you do with It. Do you control It, or does It control you?
When you’re net-worth is your self-worth, everything you do revolves around wanting more. More stacks, more stuff, bigger stuff. And even small financial bumps in the road turns your hair grey. You’re always worried too. Worried its not enough. Worried you’ll lose everything. It’s a very unhappy way of living.
How do we decouple net-worth from self-worth?
To be honest, I’m still working on this.
One way I’ve found helpful is practicing poverty.
How would you live on $5 today?
It’s easy to lose track of the abundance around us. Practicing poverty is a great way to keep things in perspective. Sleep in a outside in a tent. Eat beans. Go to work on your bike.
Practicing poverty is something icons have done throughout history. Benjamin Franklin, Seneca… The more we can practice poverty, the less beholden we can be to our stuff and standards.
Practicing poverty also gives you superpowers. It turns you into a more capable, resilient person by showing you It doesn’t take much to survive today. If you can live off oatmeal for a week and sleep on a yoga mat, not much can phase you. If this is all I have to worry about, they taking risks to pursue creativity and mastery doesn’t seem that risky anymore.
Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner
“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” — Will Smith
“Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.” — Wayne Dyer
“Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.” — Ryunosuke Satoro