For ages, mankind has speculated on the power of the mind. You can find quotes as old as the Bible “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Or as new as The Secret proclaiming the “law of attraction.” Wise men of many philosophies and faiths have thought what we believe has an influence on who we become.
Could the same apply to our financial affairs? Could it be that the things you believe are conspiring to keep you from accumulating wealth? If that's true, what kinds of thoughts could be holding you back? And, if so, is it possible to replace them with thoughts that would help you to reach your full financial potential?
Consider these ideas that could be holding you back:
1. You believe you can't accumulate wealth on your salary. If you're spending your entire paycheck, it's easy to believe you'll never build any savings. How could you possibly save hundreds of thousands when you're barely making it to your next payday?
2. You think money is evil. It's a common belief. An often misquoted Bible verse is that “money is the root of all evil.” It's actually the “love of money is the root…” Religious people of many faiths believe you should separate yourself from the world and its riches—essentially telling us becoming wealthy is something to be avoided.
3. You think you don't deserve money. You may think a hefty bank account is the reward you get for being a good person. However, if you’re like most of us, you have a few things in your past that aren't a source of pride. It’s easy to believe you don't deserve to have any money. In fact, it would be wrong for you to have a growing bank account or IRA.
4. You think all rich people are dishonest and unethical. Many believe anyone with deep pockets had to lie, cheat, or steal to get where they are. In turn, that makes your poverty something to be proud of. You may tell yourself, “I chose to be virtuous and poor, rather than rich and thieving like them.”
5. You think rich people are lucky and aren’t. The idea is reinforced every time you see a new mega-lotto winner announced: Accumulating money is a matter of sheer luck. And, since you can't control luck, you have no control over the fact you're still poor.
6. You think you'll lose friends or family if you become rich. You've seen some friends achieve financial success and gradually disappear from your life. You don’t want that to happen to you, so you equate accumulating money to losing your friends. Therefore, you assume the best strategy is to make sure you don't build any net worth.
Whether you believe any of those negative financial thoughts—or you just want to take control of your finances—consider taking these positive financial thoughts to heart.
1. You are not your money. Having—or not having—a big bank account is not a reflection of your value as a person. You shouldn't judge yourself or others that way, nor should you let others judge you.
2. Recognize money is just a convenient way to store wealth and make trading possible. Remember: wealth is just a tool. Use your rising economic status as a way to measure whether you're achieving your financial goals.
3. Having money or lacking money is not a virtue or an ethical lapse. Any sweeping generalization of the rich or poor is wrong and bigoted. Judging a person’s moral fiber solely on his or her wealth is wrong and could trap you in a false money paradigm.
4. You determine who your friends are. Accumulating money doesn't have to change you or who your friends are. This holds true especially if you don't flaunt your wealth in front of them.
5. You can affect your financial future. It is not solely up to luck. Many people accumulate wealth by saving just a little each month and letting it accumulate. It may be hard to save money on your income, but it's probably not impossible.
Scientists, philosophers, and theologians will probably continuously debate how our thoughts affect our future. But, in the meantime, you won't hurt yourself by thinking good money thoughts. Who knows? Perhaps what you think will help you accumulate millions!
Gary Foreman is a former financial planner who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website. The site features thousands of articles on how to save your valuable time and money. Follow The Dollar Stretcher on Twitter.