The story of addictive behavior
is not always one of more:
it can also manifest as the relentless pursuit of less.
The flip side of money addiction is addiction to scarcity. This
dynamic ranges from an opposition to wealth, to maintaining a
comfort zone of focusing on what can go wrong, and even to the
idealization of poverty as spiritual. Examples include gifted
people who can’t convert their talent into sufficient income, or
otherwise dependable people who ignore financial matters until
A comfort zone is a familiar
pattern of behavior—one that’s predictable and automatic—so
you always know the outcome. It’s a gradual process, but once
established, resists change. Think of a comfort zone like your home
thermostat. If the temperature increases or decreases, it signals
an adjustment to return to the set point—the comfort zone. Our
minds and brains both contribute to this default mode. We even have
a comfort zone with our weight, what we order at our regular
restaurant, or the difficulty of starting a savings program.
Most lottery winners manage to
spend or give away their newfound winnings. In the U.S., 80% of
lottery winners file bankruptcy within the first five years. Their
money changed but their mindsets didn’t.
A “Yes” answer to any of
these suggests examination of a pursuit of less:
Do you believe it is more
virtuous or admirable to be poor than to be rich?
Do you believe being poor is more
spiritual than being wealthy?
When you have an influx of money, do
you tend to spend it quickly and/or impulsively and return rapidly
to a familiar state of poverty?
Do you often refrain from making
needed repairs on your car or your home, or from getting medical
care for yourself (such as regular checkups or dental cleaning),
because you don’t feel you can afford to spend the money?
Is it more comfortable for you to
spend money on others than on yourself?
Do you undercharge for your work or
Do you fail to collect money due to
Is it uncomfortable for you to
collect on fees that people owe you for your work?
Does it seem like whenever you are
about to get ahead financially, some crisis happens in your life
that gets in the way and stops your progress cold?
Do you persistently focus on what
can go wrong, or on what you can’t do?
A belief is the mind’s command
to the brain. With the same belief, you will continue to have the
same results. If you change your belief, you can have different
results. The beliefs within us—our own internal map of
reality—determine our perception of what surrounds us, including
what and how we select, register and process. We construct our
storylines from these premises.
We have to bring our beliefs
about money, finances, and wealth into conscious focus to assess how
well they work in present time.
This is a facinating article, especially your stat that 80% of all lottery winners are bankrupt in 5 years. Could you give me your source on that? I've been looking for such a stat for years and just have never found a credible source. Thanks.
I think the essence of change is in your observation that "The beliefs within us—our own internal map of reality—determine our perception of what surrounds us, including what and how we select, register and process. We construct our storylines from these premises."
We truly must understand and accept this truth if we want to change our reality.