By Marc Barlow, Educator and Author of “Redesign the Reality in Your Finances: Understand the Why to Change the How of Your Spending”
Whether you’re 15, 25, 45, 65, or 85 years old or older, throughout time and place, there are many trappings in the world that try to rob us of our peace, joy, contentment, and money.
Materialism is one such culprit. Materialism and comparing one’s Monday-through-Friday life with other people’s highlight reels are fertile ground for living beyond one’s means. As a result, to combat this debt-producing spending, people need to learn to practice gratitude.
The core of gratitude is that it allows us to celebrate the good in our lives in the present moment. By identifying and affirming all the good, people are able to focus more on what they have, and less on what they don’t have.
The Buddhist saying “enough is a feast” is counter to the more and more seemingly materialistic prompting of our modern world. However, through deep, honest reflection, many people would realize that they actually have “enough,” and that “enough” is truly a feast. When “enough” becomes a feast, the voids in people’s lives no longer need to be filled with the buying of “things” and that money can then be used for fulfilling life goals, investing in their futures and the futures of their children and grandchildren, and becoming financially free.
Right thinking is the raw material for the right actions. People’s actions will naturally reveal the direction of their thoughts. Therefore, how has your thinking affected your current financial reality? What beliefs do you hold about yourself and your future that don’t align with you being the best, healthiest version of yourself? What lies do you believe about yourself that are holding you back and making you doubt that you can be financially strong?
Simply changing how you spend your money won’t be enough. You first need to understand why you do what you do to change yourself, your relationships, your future, and how you spend your money.
What I have found is that all good things are gained in the long haul. Fulfilling things that bring real contentment usually take a large investment of time, energy, and priority to yield their positive results. Relationships, health, spirituality, wisdom, and, yes – even finances – have no quick fixes. If such quick fixes existed, then the world would be filled with far stronger marriages and relationships, as well as healthier and happier people who are financially viable.
The world today doesn’t align with this long-haul perspective. If an internet search doesn’t yield a response within seconds, we automatically hit refresh. If a relationship gets rocky, we abandon it and find another one. And, if we want or feel like we deserve something, we buy it immediately on credit and have it delivered overnight from halfway around the world.
As a result, as part of the success equation, for me, money and “things” have little to do with true “success.” Therefore, being truly “successful” means continuing – or even beginning – to invest in what matters most: relationships, health, spirituality, and your legacy of wisdom that has been gained through years of experience.