I have something you need to hear.
It might come off a bit strong, but I have never been one to mince words.
STOP entertaining negativity! You are stunting your own growth!
Trust me, I know that disengaging from negativity can be challenging.
Especially since it’s literally thrown at us from the news, our favorite TV shows, social media, and even from our friends.
But the consistent exposure can impact our mental, and physical well-being.
That’s not it though, negativity is an enemy of your financial well-being and will limit your wealth potential.
You need to drop the negative influences of all forms, and this how you can do it.
How Negativity Limits You
Everything we do with money originates from a thought and a feeling.
It is our thoughts that create feelings, which then influence the decisions we make and the behaviors we form.
The results we either have or don’t have, are a result of our behaviors.
Thoughts – Feelings – Behaviors – Results
Seeing it in linear form like that might be new to you, but you do this stuff every day. Like when you think: “I want a pizza. Pizza will make me happy. I’m going to go buy a pizza”.
You had a thought, you wanted to feel a certain way, so then you did something about it.
We literally make decisions like this all day; it just happens extremely fast without us realizing it.
So, with that being said, if our thoughts are tainted with negativity, that’s going to impact everything down the line.
Negative and self-limiting thoughts turn into insecurities and doubts, which then alters decision-making.
Our results then become diminished, and we likely did it to ourselves.
How It Impacts Your Financial Potential
So, what kind of negative thoughts about money threaten your wealth potential?
- That financial challenges will always hold you back
- That you will never get out of debt
- Believing you aren’t capable of making more money
- That wanting or having more money makes you greedy
- Thinking investing is something only rich people can afford to do
- Assuming your finances will never change unless you hit the lottery
- Subscribing to the myth that you can’t have both money and happiness.
The list can honestly go on and on, but the main vibe here is that they are negative, and self-limiting.
This energy will sink you before you even GET to a feeling or behavior.
Indulging in negative energy will keep you from really taking control of your finances.
- You’ll hold back in looking for additional income
- Excuses not to save will become your norm
- Debt will either be avoided, or minimally addressed
- You won’t event attempt investing because you won’t see the point of trying
It will convince you that you aren’t capable, which is a massive lie.
You are capable of creating the life you desire.
Your best defense from negative energy is a great offense. You will need to block the influences and essentially re-train your brain.
So, if the goal is to limit the exposure to influences that will either create, or encourage negative thinking out the gate, how do you do it?
Step 1: Start paying attention!
First, you need to start recognizing when you are being negative.
We all are negative from time to time, but when it happens, notice it.
Catch yourself in the moment, pause, and just notice it.
For instance, notice what the conditions are, notice what triggered it, notice how it makes you feel.
I see this a lot in the comment sections of extreme debt repayment stories.
“Sarah and Joe paid off $100K of debt in 1 year!”, and the comments are FILLED with haters.
The hate however is usually just a reflection of limiting beliefs.
You don’t believe YOU could ever get yourself out of debt that fast, so you find excuses or ahem, “reasons”, to discredit their success.
Getting in the practice of simply noticing negativity is valuable training for your brain.
It will put you on alert and the more you do it, the quicker you’ll get at stopping it in its tracks.
Step 2: Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings
Noticing is the first step but then you should start writing it down.
Journaling in some way or form is crucial.
What will you be writing down? To start, an overall summary of how you thought and felt.
Each day, jot down some thoughts about how you felt earlier in the day.
What did you think about and how did you feel? Were you enthusiastic about the day’s opportunities, or a bit down and out? Write that down.
Did seeing the success of someone else put you in a bad head space? Write that down.
If you aren’t used to doing this, you don’t need to go all deep into the meanings-yet. You just need to start capturing the overall mood and tone of the day.
It will begin to give you an introspective view, which if done intentionally, can be therapeutic in itself.
Do this for a week and then take inventory of what you have been thinking and feeling.
Are you spending most days in a negative space? This acknowledgement is key as you work towards improving the areas related to the discomfort.
Eventually, you will journal at more frequent intervals e.g. mornings and evenings. But above all, just get in the habit for now and you’ll get more comfortable with it.
Step 3: Reject The Notion That You Are Supposed To Be Broke, Busted, and Burned Out
Take a look at the memes, articles, and media that you consume.
Those “Life sucks. I’m so depressed. Life is hard” messages will TAKE OVER YOUR THOUGHTS if you aren’t used to viewing them with a hardened mind.
It’s even more annoying being a millennial.
It seems on every only platform, I’ve noticed more and more messages reinforcing the depressed, broke, and busted millennial.
Whether it’s a Buzzfeed quiz, tweets, a meme, or some article on why social media is making us depressed, it seems we are inundated with these messages.
Now I understand, self-deprecation can be funny at times.
And I get it, we’ve had our challenges. The student loan crisis has been frustrating, and most of us entered the workforce in an unstable economy.
However, if you aren’t careful, your brain will allow you to dwell on those misfortunes.
In other words, it will become your financial identity.
Maybe student loans do have you financially strapped; that’s just your situation, not your identity. You don’t have to stay in that place mentally-or financially- just because others are.
What’s “normalized” doesn’t have to be your story.
The hard part comes in trying to swim against the waves of society and where your friends might be. It can feel comforting if you are all struggling together.
Push past that and be the one to break the cycle.
Reject the notion that you are supposed to be struggling and create your own narrative.
Step 4: Flood Your Brain With Positivity
In order to optimize your financial potential, it’s crucial that you believe in abundance.
To help reinforce that idea, I’m big on the power of flooding your brain with a healthy flow of positive and informational messages.
The easiest way to do that? Audiobooks and Podcasts.
If you allow it, your phone can be your biggest resource.
Through these fragile little computers, we can literally learn from the world’s most insightful and successful change-makers.
What a time to be alive!
The best part is that you can do this for FREE.99!
Podcasts are free and through your local library, you can have access to numerous audiobooks.
I listen to roughly 7-10 hours of personal finance, personal development, or business development content each week.
I’m consistently exposing myself to messages that uplift, educate, inspire, and encourage me.
Despite having a full schedule from roughly 6am to 9pm, I “steal” moments to listen.
For instance, I listen during my morning stretches, brushing my teeth, meal-preparing for the week, washing dishes, bike rides to the gym, and pretty much any time I’m in the car.
Yes, while I brush my teeth, Gary Vee, Brene Brown, Brooke Castillo, or Les Brown is providing the soundtrack.
I’m literally using as many passive moments as possible to intentionally flood my mind with thoughts. As a result, I’m mentally moving forward.
Don’t miss any opportunity to improve your outlook. Especially when it’s free!
Step 5: Learn How To Reframe Anything-Including the Ordinary
This is NOT a “look on the bright side” PSA.
I mean, yea, that’s good too, but not quite what I’m getting at.
What I mean is, learn how to extract a positive message out of moments that are less obvious.
I once biked home from the grocery store with 2 full reusable grocery bags slung over my shoulders.
Due to the weight and struggle to stay balance, it took me longer than normal to get home.
Despite the discomfort, it reminded me to keep pushing forward no matter how heavy life can get.
Even if you can’t go as fast, just keep on pedaling forward and you’ll eventually reach your destination.
See what I mean? It was a random situation that I chose to use as a growth opportunity to reflect and learn from.
I simply reframed an ordinary chore into a moment of personal perseverance.
This also works for those “Sarah and Joe paid off $100K of debt in 1 year!” stories.
Instead of searching for the reasons why you could never do what they did, recognize what you can apply to your life.
Maybe Sarah and Joe rented out a spare bedroom, but you aren’t able to. Instead, brainstorm what you COULD do for additional income.
Maybe their parents doubled as weekday childcare, but your parents live out of state. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, consider what weekly or monthly expenses COULD you cut out in order to save.
Regardless of the conditions, Sarah and Joe were consistent and disciplined with their efforts. So above all, that’s what you should take from their story and apply to your efforts.
Train yourself to extract broad lessons without needing the conditions to be exactly the same.
Positive reframing is a skill you can develop. It will prime your brain to see growth opportunities out of obstacles.
Step 6: Check Your Circle
Your friends might be a barrier to your financial success.
Hear me out.
Take an assessment of your inner circle. What type of vibe are they on?
Do they regularly indulge in a negative space and constantly blame the world for their issues? Or, are they taking an active and accountable role in their life?
If the former, it’s time you re-evaluate the relationships.
It’s true what they say, you are the average of the five people you associate with. So, are your associates keeping you stagnant, or motivating you forward?
I’m not saying you should permanently ditch your friends, but you may need to take a step back.
Taking a break from your negative thinking peers while working on the above steps might be worth considering.
It will give you the opportunity to have a clean slate of all suspect influences, and reflect on the impact of the relationship.
Your reflection might reveal you need to permanently make a change in the relationship.
For example, that change might be establishing some new boundaries, or even getting a new group of friends.
I recognize that might be difficult, but it may also be necessary.
Sometimes you out-grow relationships, and that’s ok.
And before I move on from this topic, yes, the source of the negativity in your life might even be your significant other.
Hmm, I will just leave that there.
Step 7: Recognize That You Are The Captain
Lastly, I need to throw another cold glass of water in your face, so get ready.
Nobody is going to fix life for you; you need to be your own advocate.
No one is going to call and offer you a 6-figure job just because you feel you deserve it.
Neither Robert F. Smith or Oprah will be canceling your debt.
If YOU do not take control, you will always be in reactive mode playing financial defense.
You have the power to train your brain. You can reframe your thoughts. And you can positively influence your behaviors.
I can give you every piece of financial advice in the world but it won’t matter until you simply believe in your own ability for growth.
You are the captain, so how bad do you want to realize your visions?
In short, it’s time to make some changes.
Work on implementing these approaches to blocking negativity, and watch your overall outlook improve.
You are on the path towards financial well-being, you don’t have time for the nonsense!