In as much as recognizing that money is a measurement has served me (see insight #6 ‘Money is a Measurement’), sometimes even that can be a trap. I once noticed that by becoming too convinced that my income was a reflection of the service I was providing people, that when I didn’t need money for anything – I stopped serving people.
I don’t want my behaviour that inextricably linked to a ‘meaning’ around money. In fact, I don’t want my behaviour linked to any meaning around money at all. It’s too socially and emotionally charged.
The ultimate freedom for me is remembering that money only has the meaning I give it. This is true of everything of course.
I remember when I was a little kid, my Dad showed me how to fold my money with the big bills on the outside so it looked like I had more of it. Twenty $1 bills wrapped in a $20 bill made me look like a millionaire!
It wasn’t until I was 35 years old and challenging my beliefs around money that I realized since that day, I’d always folded my money that way. My Dad’s light-hearted demonstration had made money mean something to me – more was better, looking like you had more was better, etc. These ideas served me in some ways, but they also obviously limited me.
Once I could see the lie, I just stopped believing in it. (I now fold my money with the $1’s on the outside, so I look broke and don’t get mugged!)
To uncover all the lies I’ve grown up to believe about money would take a lifetime. As a shortcut I practice reminding myself that money is nothing. By this, I don’t mean it’s nothing because it’s ‘only a measurement’ or because it ‘only exists as digits in a computer’. That’s a half-ass version of nothing. I still care about measurements and numbers in a computer.
By ‘money is nothing’ I mean that it is like monopoly money. Just some pretend, made up, make believe symbol. To have a conversation about ‘money’ that includes any emotional attachment means I am believing in a lie. It’s like believing that monopoly money is real. It’s not real and if I were to get mad about money while playing monopoly, it would be laughable.
When money is nothing, like in monopoly, I can make offers and take risks fearlessly and without attachment. It’s just a game after all so we may as well have fun playing.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
- What does money mean to me?
- How is this a lie? (i.e. How is it a made-up belief?)
- What would I do if I were playing monopoly?
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