Personal Development

Obsessed with Money? It’s not a bad thing!

The root of health is in our finances

Woman fanning 100 dollar bills

I was not comfortable talking about money as a child. I was raised to believe that there was not enough money for me. And we didn’t talk about it unless we were talking about our “lack”. Ironically, we had money but had an expensive lifestyle from moving countries frequently. We were the “broke” rich kind of family. And I had a “poor person” mindset.

“Broke” mindset caused me anxiety as a teenager. 

Money-health is a critical part of your wellbeing so financial anxiety caused me stress. I was quickly becoming obsessed with finances, checking my bank accounts daily and always looking for more opportunities to make or save more. Obsession was taking over. And an uncontrolled obsession was on its way to causing an addiction.

Money also plays a massive role in your career. So if you have a negative money mindset, you can develop a negative career mindset too. Your career allows you to infuse your purpose with earning income. So if you have a negative perspective on your finances, you will probably have a negative view of work too.

Broke mindsets are born from scarcity

My obsession with money started when I grew up. I grew up with a scarcity mindset. I believed that there was not gonna be enough money for me and that I would not be able to own the things I wanted. I believed that I needed to save every penny if I was going to be financially secure. 

Scarcity mindset is like drowning… when you are underwater, you can think only of oxygen.

I felt like I was financially drowning and all I could think about was money. I was obsessed with money. And it was bad news. While it motivated me to earn, I was not able to live a financially or emotionally healthy lifestyle.

Here some examples of my scarcity mindset in action:

  • I only applied to 3 universities because I had to pay application fees for each of them. I didn’t apply to a college I was interested in because the fee was $20 more than the others.
  • I conveniently forgot my wallet when I went out with friends so that I didn’t feel obligated to buy anything. This worked at the mall and restaurants. I even did this at a theme park and watched everyone else go on rides until one of my friends decided to pay for my ticket.
  • After saving $10,000+ for my first year of university I panicked because I felt like I didn’t have enough (this is enough if you live in Canada) and told my parents I was taking a year off so that I could make more money. They talked me back into going to school, but I was so scared that I applied for 10+ scholarships to protect me from my “lack.”
  • As a young adult, I refused to let my spouse buy anything that would be considered “unnecessary” or “extra” to what we needed for survival. This caused some resentment and significantly impacted our happiness. 

When I write these examples I can feel the physical effects of the scarcity mindset. I feel the stress… the obsession. Thinking about financial “lack” easily slips back in, and I could let myself spend the next 5 hours obsessing about my finances… but I won’t. I’ve done a lot of work over the last 4 years to develop an abundance mindset instead.

Obsession can also come from a place of abundance.

And this is a healthier obsession with money. An abundance mindset means understanding that there is enough money out there for you. You know that the things that you want to get with that money are going to be yours. They’re available to you and you can have them.

The abundance mindset allows you to take a breath. You’re no longer drowning. You know that you’re going to be able to get to things that you want no matter what. So you don’t feel the need to become obsessed to the point of unwellness.

Here’s how this has changed my perspective:

  • Things that I want are worth buying sometimes. Now, this doesn’t mean that I make irresponsible money decisions, but that I see the value in spending money on things we desire. For example, we just bought a new TV. It’s 4K and has a smart remote that we can speak to. The negative obsession with money would have restricted that purchase and told me to save the money “or else we may run out of cash.”
  • My income can change and I don’t panic. Although I am focused on increasing our overall income, I know that I can adapt if I start to earn less or if our financial situation changes. This made 2020 much easier to manage emotionally because my “abundance mindset” allows me to adapt to financial changes rather than freak-out about them.
  • I happily spend money on my health/wellbeing. This includes gym memberships, fitness classes, yoga, gym equipment, new running shoes etc. Simply put, 5 years ago I would not use my money on any of these things. Why? Because I “didn’t have enough” to invest in the things that were important to me. I let my scarcity mindset dictate my health.

Here’s what I have realized. Money does not have value by itself.

I have a healthy obsession with money because it equips me to do great things. It allows me to invest in my life, give to others, keep my family healthy, and live happier. I want more money because I want to have a greater impact in all those areas. 

Money has value because it equips people to impact their lives and the lives of others. Having money “for the sake of it” is not helpful to you or the economy. The lifestyle that you can have as a result of money, is more important than the dollars themselves. By focusing on your lifestyle you can take the pressure off your finances and approach money with a wellness-focused mindset. 

If I hadn’t changed my mindset, my obsession with money would have become an addiction

Addictions are behaviours that interfere with areas of life that are important to you. The substance/behaviour becomes a dominant thought and disrupts the lifestyle that you want to live.

For example, a money obsession becomes an addiction if you are thinking about making it, keeping it, or spending it to the point where you are no longer taking care of your wellbeing. It also affects your closest and most important relationships. My scarcity mindset almost got me here.

If you can think of nothing else except for the pursuit of money it has jumped from an obsession into an addiction.

But an obsession with money can be healthy when it helps to drive your desires and motivate you to grow.

In fact, it’s wired into your brain to be motivated to pursue financial income. The brain is wired with cells that form a “reward pathway”. They are stimulated by making money in the same way as they are by eating a piece of chocolate, or consuming a drug.

When overstimulated, the reward pathways become trained to respond only to the thing that you are addicted to. And unfortunately, it becomes less sensitive over time. This means that you need more of the “substance” for your brain to get the positive reinforcement. Although you are making the same amount of money, the brain doesn’t think there is enough and forces you to focus on getting more and more. This is how an obsession with money can become an addiction.

Financial well-being relates to your physical and emotional well-being.

Your health relies on your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. And money is vital to take care of them all.

Money and wellness are deeply intertwined. You risk negative implications to your wellbeing if you allow money to be ignored or to become an unhealthy obsession.

For people to be happy they have to earn $60,000–75,000 per year, but earning beyond that does not affect levels of happiness. Beyond that money is just a tool. It equips you to make the impact in the world that you want to make.

If you are obsessed with making an impact in the world (big or small) then those obsessions can drive an obsession with money in a healthy way. Your impact is the financial driver, not the other way round. The key is to keep the focus on your purpose (being healthy) and allowing that to drive your desire for financial gain.

3 ways to develop a healthy obsession with finances.

  1. Let go of a scarcity mindset. You need to understand that there is enough for you (and you are enough) to have the things you want.
  2. Have a purposeful and intentional reason that you want to earn an income. Think more deeply about the purpose of money in your life (not just that you want to earn money because you need it to survive). What is the value that money is adding to your life? What is the deeper purpose of it?
  3. Budget and plan your finances so that you are not drowning. Lack of money reinforces scarcity and a budget can help to minimize that. It’s only natural that you need to think about money if you are overspending. Overspending can feed the unhealthy obsession. Budgets limit overspending. Knowing that you are stewarding your finances well, can relieve the stress and pressure of an unhealthy obsession. If your budget is built with an abundance mindset, then no matter how much income you’re earning you will always feel like there is enough.

It’s our mission to help you prosper in your life

We built KNOWLEJOBLE to help you prosper in your career. And to prosper in ALL areas. Not just in your personal and professional growth, but also financial growth. I’m very proud of my personal growth and credit a lot of my success with having a strong grasp on my financial wellbeing. It all started with learning about abundance and scarcity mindsets.

Money massively impacts our well-being, both positively and negatively. It dictates our ability to show up well for ourselves and our workplaces. If we are not financially healthy we cannot be our best selves at work. And we then will not be able to pursue the career growth and abundance that we are hoping for.

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