Book Notes: The Energy of Money
Life is hard when you don’t do what you truly value because you are putting all your energy into trying to get rid of your fears rather than into materializing your dreams.
You can dream about money, you can tell the universe you want money, but if you don't take any action towards it, it will never materialize. Money is prevalent in the things it can buy, the places it can take us, the security and confidence it provides. When we think about money, we have to start from the beginning. When did we realize money was such a powerful source? Was it from our parents? Was it from a friend? All of the people in our lives have instilled upon us THEIR beliefs about money. As children, we had no choice but to listen to what the adults around us were saying. We had no concept of an alternative opinion. Our past circumstances may have dictated where we are now in life, but at this moment in time, we have the power to change that. All it takes is purposeful action.
This post contains affiliate links. See Disclosures for details.
I want to go over this book I read awhile back called "The Energy of Money" by Dr. Maria Nemeth. While I love the practical side of saving, I also like the psychology of how we do what we do. This book talks about harnessing the energy of money to fuel our dreams. If we've been doing some introspection about our relationship with money, we probably have learned a little bit about how our past has formed our relationship with money. Because of this influence, we may at this time be living a life that is less than ideal. Many of us are pretending to be someone, many of us fearing who are, and few of us not knowing who we really are. Why is this important? This is important because when it comes to money, we may be living off of someone's idea of it, not our true acceptance of what money can do for us and how it can shine a light on our true desires.
I completely recommend picking up the book because it has a lot of insight and lots of exercises to help you understand your money energy and how to align your personal goals with that of your money.
Questions for our Inner Selves
The book discusses in great detail a misalignment in the way we think about money. It’s worth noting that money can fuel and foster who you are meant to be, but it has to start with understanding who you are.
This here is a quick exercise of understanding who you are. I can’t do the exercises justice in this post, but I will do the best that I can. Here are some questions to ask yourself?
Who We Pretend We Are
What are you pretending when it comes to money?
Are you hiding how successful you are so that others aren't envious of you, so that they don't treat your differently?
Are you saying you are successful even though you are in debt?
Who We Fear We Are
What have you done that you have not faced regarding money?
What money related incidents would you want to forget?
What money related incidents don't make you proud of yourself?
Why do you believe you deserve what you have now?
Who We Really Are
What do you value?
What gives you joy?
Standards of Integrity
In "The Energy of Money," the Standards of Integrity is the basis of understanding the quality or a trait that we value in ourselves and that we want to cultivate and share with the world. This can be loyalty, strength, honesty, intelligence, goodness, etc. Sometimes, we are so quick to see this in other people, but not in ourselves. We admire these traits in others because inside ourselves is the possibility that it also exists and we have a connection to it. Integrity is what makes you whole and complete. Don't fear it! It is your original condition before the influences of the world got to you. There is a book by Don Miguel Ruiz called "The Four Agreements" that also discusses this. "Thousands of agreements you have made with yourself, with other people, with your dream life, with God, with society, with your parents, spouse, etc. The most important agreement is the one your make with yourself." Frustration, anxiety, discomfort can be signals that we are not living according to our Standards of Integrity. Stop pretending!
The Standards of Integrity are there to help you power your Life's Intentions. Life Intentions are your purpose. They take the form of "I am." Life's Intentions should bring joy and meaning. What are your Life's Intentions?
to be a successful entrepreneur
to be financially free
to be creative
to be well educated
to be physically fit and healthy
to be an adventurer
to be a great mother/father/brother/sister, etc
to be a good friend
to be surrounded by love and beauty
The list is endless which means the possibilities are endless.
Remember again that money is not only about acquiring stuff. It's about using it's energy to power your Life's Intentions. To buy you a plane ticket so that you can be an adventurer. To buy you an education so that you yourself can be an educator. To fund a business so that you can be an entrepreneur. To allow you to buy good food so that you can be healthy. To buy you time so that you can be a good and present parent.
Goals Focus You and Your Money
The point of Goals is to allow you to focus your Money Energy into something that makes you feel fulfilled. If the Goal does not do that, then you are not adhering to your Standards of Integrity or your Life's Intentions. If you are spending money on items and things that do not bring you closer to your Goal, then you need to change direction.
Busy is a Choice
The busyness of our lives isn't necessarily the result of us being positively goal oriented, but instead is an attempt to move away from fear or doubt. Dr. Nemeth posits that many of us are caught up in driven behavior that are not anchored to our Life's Intentions. The rat race is a symbol of Driven Behavior. Sometimes, we do get caught up in being busy, in saying "yes", in being involved with people that we may not necessarily even like. Being busy can sometimes be used as a sign of success, but is it really? Is endless activity without true purpose being successful?
The questions is not that we're driven, but in what ways are we driven. If you are driven by worries, doubts and fears, then the result will not be what you want. Driven behavior feels extremely urgent because we think it's important. These are 3 characteristics to Driven Behavior:
Repetition - You do something over and over again even if it causes you trouble. Take a look at your relationship with money now Are you constantly overspending, paying your credit card late often or making promises to other people and not keeping them? What is it that you promise yourself not to do only to do it again.
Limited Satisfaction - You are too tired, worried, distracted to enjoy it. Do you just want to get through your weeks? Are you paying for cable but don't have enough time to watch it? Are you paying a monthly car lease for a car that you don't even have time to drive? Are you mortgaging a lovely home that you don't even spend time in?
Perfectionism - You don't complete projects because you are worried you won't measure up. Are you afraid of trying? Are you afraid of finishing something because you don't want to be judged. "Perfectionism is just the inability to arrive at closure." Perfectionism is an excuse for not producing a result.
For me Driven Behavior was everywhere. Working in New York City influenced my Driven Behavior. I always felt like I wasn't making enough so I pushed hard in my job. I filled my weekends, spending money on things that I didn't really need. Driven Behavior meant I thought I needed to have something in order to feel secure. Driven Behavior can border on obsessive and compulsive behavior. Christmas to me was where I really showed Driven Behavior. I wanted everything to be great so would spend a lot of money on presents, would spend nights and lose sleep making cookies and sides for dinner parties obsessed about making sure everyone in my life had a present. It was exhausting and money draining. I bought things just to buy them and give them. In the end, some of the gifts felt like there was no meaning behind them. We would go through our ritual of opening presents, throwing wrapping paper easily and putting all of the things we got in one corner. It felt lacking. No emotion, just a thing we had to do. This is what I felt I had to do. This was what the magazines, TV and movies were telling me to do. Then one year, I said NO. I informed my family earlier in the season that I no longer wanted to exchange presents that year and everyone agreed. It was a revelation. It also forced us to figure out other ways to spend Christmas without getting caught up in the hysteria. One year, we traveled for Christmas. Another year, we finally had the time to see the Radio City Spectacular after 20 years of saying we should see it.
Below are Dr. Nemeth's areas of Driven Behavior. By sorting through your "must haves", "just in case", "I deserves", "I always do this" conversations, you can begin to figure what Driven Behavior is wasting your energy.
Addictions - Driven Behavior exhausts your mind and you may turn to other areas to help you feel free from anxiety. This could be eating, sleeping, alcohol, shopping, work, sex, drugs, etc. It's a way to calm your mind, but it becomes a cycle and something that you then must constantly do to feel better.
Spendaholism - Drives Behavior may prompt us to "must have" items in order to feel satisfied. The instant gratification of purchasing a new purse, a new dress helps ease the mind, but only for that brief instance as again it creates a cycle. Do you ever get home and feel that what you just purchased isn't really what you wanted? Do you feel a sense of guilt after shopping? Do you hide purchases from your partner?
Bingeing & Purging with Money - Driven Behavior may also be the emotional rush of going absent of money for a while, then getting it all back and spending it all at once. Do you count on money before even receiving it? This is akin to having $5 on Thursdays, getting paid on Friday, and then being back to having $5 on Monday.
Gambling & Getting High on Risk - Driven Behavior can also be feeling like you can beat the odds. The inherent thrill of possibly getting something big on a small investment. If you were to add up all of the money lost to the lottery, gambling, etc., in the past 5 years, how much would that be?
Information Addiction - Driven Behavior can also be the need to consume information without any action. It's being constantly on social media without a positive return. You become too busy watching other people live their lives that you no longer focus on yours.
Workaholism - Driven Behavior is also feeling like we have to work all the time to make more money. Studies show, however, that peak performers actually are better because they take their time to rest. Working non-stop is actually bad for you as it creates a bad cycle of habits that lead you to a more drained existence. It also takes you away from things that may bring you Joy? Who are you if you are not working? What would you find if you slowed down. If you had free time, what you would do with it? JD Stein at Money for the Rest of Us had this great Podcast about living like you are retired (Live Like You are Retired.) In it, he talks about retirement as the time to do what you've always wanted to do, but why wait 30 years from now to do what makes you happy.
At the age of 32, when someone asked me who I was, I could not provide an answer. I could recite my job title, a job description, a history of my company but nothing about what I was passionate about, what I loved to do on the weekends, what brought me joy. It felt sad that after all of this time, all I had to show for was my job. A lay-off re-prioritize things for me and I am slowly figuring out what my Life's Intentions are.