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Overcoming limiting money beliefs

There is a secret psychology to money. Most people don’t know about it, that’s why most people never become financially successful. A lack of money is not the problem; it is merely a symptom of what’s going on inside you.

  • Harv Eker

Limiting beliefs are thoughts ingrained in our consciousness, either to the effect that something good is difficult, impossible or that we don’t deserve it. They could have been formed from early childhood or through relationships in our latter days.

When applied to money, limiting beliefs could be that we can do with just enough money to ‘get by’ in life, or that superabundance is not attainable, or that we do not deserve to be in the circles of the highly affluent in the society. Some even think they are not capable of paying the price necessary to be truly and honorably wealthy.

In whichever form they present themselves, limiting beliefs, even though are in the mind, are strong enough to hold us back from being financially successful.

Many people heard their parents complain and fight over money in their childhood days. In some cases, they were privy to their parents or guardians – whom they respected and looked up to so much – criticize the rich and the source of their wealth. The result was that they silently formed the opinion in their minds that it was impossible to make good money in a ‘clean’ way – that you had to crooked to be truly affluent.

The mind, a wealth mine

In line with what all great thinkers have pointed out over time, Jack Canfield in his classic work ‘The Success Principles,’ reiterates that financial success starts in the mind. According to him, you have to first decide what you want and then believe that it’s possible and that you deserve it. “Then you must focus on it by thinking about it and visualizing it as if it were already yours. And finally, you have to be willing to pay the price to get it – with discipline and perseverance over time.”

He further argues that most people unfortunately, however, never get to even the first stages of accumulating wealth and that too often, they are limited by their own beliefs about money and by the question of whether or not they deserve it.

A personal experience    

My personal experience in the past about limiting money beliefs was sincerely that I seriously doubted if one could afford the good things of life in our country with honest labour. Then, I would calculate what a graduate was earning and juxtapose it on just how long it would take him to be able to afford a good house, a good car and good investments for his twilight years, and would shake my head in resignation and wonder if it was not expedient to leave the shores of our country for the so-called greener pastures.

But in coming across books on mind-building and motivation, I was to start shedding my limiting belief, and come to accept truly that one could become truly wealthy even in Nigeria, doing honest work. I was to come to see that hard work, good planning and taking prompt advantage of opportunities were the trick to shedding the limiting beliefs and moving on towards my personal financial goals.

Identifying limiting beliefs  

Jack Canfield goes on to assert that for a man to become wealthy, he would need to surface, identify, root out and replace any negative or limiting beliefs he may have about money.

Complaints about wealth and criticisms of the wealthy, he says, heard in early childhood, can actually sabotage and dilute your later financial success, because they subconsciously emit a vibration that’s contrary to your conscious intensions.

In his own case, his father had consistently told him that rich people got rich by exploiting the working class, and that money was otherwise hard to come by. So, young Jack and his siblings were left with the limiting belief from childhood that no matter how hard you work, you never get ahead.

Overcoming the limiting beliefs

Jack Canfield advocates a three-step technique to changing the early programming that leads to limiting beliefs about money, and replacing them with more positive and empowering ones.

First, he says to write down the limiting belief, then one should challenge, make fun of, and argue with the limiting belief and finally, he is to create a positive turnaround statement that is opposite to the limiting belief.

Lesson for parents

It is just wise from the foregoing that parents should learn not to inadvertently ingrain their children and wards with the shackles of limiting beliefs about money, but rather let them be privy into healthy discussions about finances and every other matter in their early life.

Don’t let your thoughts limit you…let them empower you!

About Lanre Oyetade

A multiple award winner in Economics and business journalism, Lanre Oyetade has served close to two decades in the media industry, spanning different notable stables, where he is privileged to have risen to the position of a title editor. A masters degree holder in Economics from the University of Lagos and doctoral student at the Babcock University, he is a winner of the prestigious NMMA Capital Market Award for two consecutive years (2004 & 2005), and was also a nominee for the body’s banking and finance and money market awards for two years. In 2013, he also won the Most Outstanding Business-Reporting Title Editor award of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN). A minister in the LORDS’s vineyard, he has been an inspirational speaker and resource person at many corporate and religious fora since early 2004, and has so far authored three books on the capital market; on personal effectiveness, and on personal finance, in 2008 and 2014, respectively.