Rich Mind, Poor Mind

With the recent purchase of a car (a significant investment for us) – not to mention the media’s relentless reporting on rising gas and food prices, a recession, and the housing crisis – I’ve, not surprisingly, been thinking about money a lot lately.

Money is weird. Or, rather, our perception of money can be weird in the ways it can so easily shift about. Even with just the suggestion of a change in circumstance, I can go from feeling relatively rich in one moment to comparatively poor in the next.

And that only matters because when I’m feeling rich, it’s easy to be hopeful, patient and generous. When I’m feeling poor, I tend to be pessimistic, panicked and grasping. When I’m feeling rich, I have clarity and focus. When I’m feeling poor, I’m convinced I should stop everything I’m doing and do something completely different instead. When I’m feeling rich, I feel stable and in control. When I’m feeling poor, I feel wobbly and defeated.

Now I am not experiencing anything close to genuine poverty in a moment of feeling “poor.” So far, it’s luckily been momentary “downs” in the ordinary ups and downs of business (and life). Add a bit of worry, a few rounds on the mental hamster wheel of “what ifs,” and – presto! – I can feel “poor.” It’s an unhelpful (over)reaction to possibilities, rather than a constructive response to realities.

Since realizing my most constructive responses come from my “rich” mindset, I am trying to retain that sense of hope, patience and generosity, clarity and focus, stability and control whether I feel rich or poor, whether in an upturn or downturn. I know people who can do this, whose response to crisis is even greater focus and persistence. I admire them greatly because I still find it quite challenging; I still have to make it something of a game (i.e., fake it until you make it); I still have to practice not obeying the fear (it’s not that others don’t feel it, they just don’t act on it).

I’m finding that cultivating a sense of abundance and gratitude makes it much easier to maintain a rich mindset, as does engaging in resourcefulness. When I bring my ingenuity to making do with what I already have, I prove my personal power and dispel a sense of want. In the same way there is plenty of food in our cupboards to nourish me without making a trip to the grocery store anytime soon, I already have more than enough knowledge, skills and ideas to sustain my present livelihood. I just have to be a bit more creative and do a little more work to prepare the ingredients than usual…

* * * * * * * * * *

Does your perception of your financial circumstance change your behavior or work habits? How do you stay focused on your goals in the down moments of your business?

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