I’m going to get a bit zen on you today.
I have been doing some deep contemplation of late, and it has been blowing my mind so I really wanted to share it with you.
I’m going to teach a new concept to you today that I haven’t discussed on the podcast before.
I have actually heard before about what I’m about to tell you today, but I wasn’t ready to understand it. I feel like as of late, the penny has finally dropped and I’m understanding the concept I am going to teach you today on a much deeper level.
I hope I can get your brain ticking on this concept today. I’m going to call it the 'grass is not greener' because it’s a saying I think most of you are familiar with.
Sometimes I have dreams and ideas about being rich. What it would be like to never think about money, always having enough. Going on amazing holidays every year with the whole family. Paying for other family members to come too. Staying in luxury accommodation. Flying first class. Buying nice things.
In my mind I have this idea of how great it would be. If I just had a bit more money, my life would be easier. I would be happy and have so much fun all the time. Do you ever think like this? Imagining yourself in a nicer car or house. I have these dreams about being able to buy huge areas of land for conservation. Just buying it and holding it for wildlife and trees. I think about how amazing it would be to have enough money to do that. And how great that would feel.
I have had this idea that my life will be better, the grass will be greener if I have more money. It’s this idea that when I have more money, I will feel better. That my life will be better than it is now.
Well, let me tell you a story to illustrate how wrong I was about this.
Last weekend we all went out for our usual afternoon walk. Every weekend we take the whole family out for a walk on one of the many walking tracks near our home. We try go to ones where we can let our dog off the lead and the walk isn’t too hard for the kids.
The one we went to this weekend is a big loop so Louis and I take turns to run the track on our own and then meet up again. On this particular occasion I ran the track first. It’s got a couple of really steep hills and I haven’t been running for a while, so I took it really easy. I’m in my forties so I take everything a bit easy when I haven’t done it for a while. But nevertheless, I still wanted to push myself a little. So, as I jogged along I started telling myself things like you can do this. You’ve run much further than this in the past. You have had two kids, if you can do that, you can easily run around this track.
Then for some reason, I don’t know what triggered the thought but I was imagining I was going for a run while I was on holiday. I was looking at the rocky dirt track and imaging I was in Greece and I was running in the hills on my holiday. It suddenly dawned on me that even if I was holidaying in Greece and had flown there is a private jet, the run I was doing would still be as challenging as it was in that moment. No amount of money was going to make that run easier. Even if I had a million dollars sitting in the bank in cash, this run would be exactly the same.
I would still experience this challenge, I would still feel that acid feeling in my muscles, that discomfort of running out of breath. I would still feel the same emotions.
I did my loop and caught up with the family and then it was Louis’s turn to do his run. He ran off and my daughter started running after him. I didn’t want her running after him because sometimes my dog freaks out if we separate, I didn’t want her running off. She is a whippet and if you don’t know about whippets, they can run extremely fast. So I was shouting to my daughter ‘please don’t run after dad, please stop, please stop.’
Then she fell over, running down the rocky slope. She was screaming and crying. She had dirt all over her brand-new clothes. The ones I had told her not to wear out, as they were not appropriate for a walk on a dirt track.
In that moment I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy. It wasn’t my best parenting moment. I felt irritated. Irritated that I had repeatedly asked her to stop running, and she ignored me, irritated that her new clothes were filthy.
She was upset and angry at me for not being sympathetic. You know just a typical family outing. I’m sure you have had them too. Then again, later it dawned on me. It wouldn’t matter if I had a million dollars in the bank and we were out walking on our holiday in Greece. I would still get irritated when my daughter ignores me and then ruins her clothes.
The grass is not greener.
I would still be experiencing the full spectrum of human emotions, I just might be doing it in a nicer car.
Do you see what I mean? The same goes for the great moments.
Every night, I read in bed before I go to sleep and every night my dog Dasher comes up on the bed with me a snuggles up next to me while I read. I love this so much. I love snuggling up to her and reading. Again, it wouldn’t matter if I had handmade silk sheets on a king size bed in a fancy mansion. Every night I would still get in bed, snuggle up to my dog and read before I go to sleep. No amount of money could make this moment any better than it already is.
The same goes for today when we were making second breakfast and listening to Heather Morgan. She is country singer. I love country music. Anyway, her album Borrowed Heart is my favourite right now. There is a song on the album called We Were a Fire and my daughter and I absolutely love it. We play it really loud and sing the lyrics at the top of our lungs and in general it’s hard to have it playing without dancing. So here I was making avocado and tomatoes on toast, dancing around the kitchen and dining room singing and dancing with my daughter. No amount of money could make this moment any better.
This is as good as it gets.
Looking at my daughter, singing and dancing together, between bites of toast.
So why am I telling you all this? What many people don’t understand or maybe they do intellectually but haven’t fulling grasped it in their bones, is that we think our circumstances control how we feel but that is not true.
It’s our thoughts about the circumstances that create how we feel. Furthermore, humans are driven by emotions. All our actions are driven by how we feel or how we think we will feel. Our brain is wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
The reason most of us do anything is because we think it will make us feel good. Or we will avoid feeling pain or negative emotion. We think that if we eat that chocolate cake or drink that glass of wine, we will feel good. We think going on holiday is what makes us feel good.
We think if we earn more money, we will feel better or life will be easier. We will feel secure or have more fun.
This is simply not true. Our thoughts create our emotions. Not circumstances. We want to feel better so we think we need to change our circumstances and then we will feel better but what we need to change is our thoughts about our circumstances. That’s why you see in the media celebrities in pain, doing drugs, family break ups etc. You don’t become rich and then suddenly never experience any negative emotion.
Money is a circumstance. And circumstances are neutral. They can’t make us feel anything. It is impossible for money to change how you feel. It is your thoughts about the money that drive your emotion. Not the actual money itself. What??
Also, if you have listened to previous podcast you might remember me talking about the 50/50 of emotions. We don’t feel positive emotion 100% of the time. In fact, that is impossible. We have to experience sadness to know happiness. We have to know the feeling insecure to know what secure feels like.
This is the kicker, when you really start to understand this you will realise that your life is not going to be better with more money. It will simply be different. You will still feel irritated with your kids when they don’t listen to you. You will still feel the challenge of going for a run.
When you dance and sing your face off with your kids you are not going to feel an elevated level of joy than what you already get to feel right now.
So, if our life isn’t going to be any better with money why bother making any?
Because we can. Because money is fun, because why not? I have financial goals that I am pursuing not because I think my life will be better but because I just want to do that with my life. I want to challenge myself to be the primary earner in our family. I want to invest my money in things I feel passionate about like the environment.
When you realise that your life will not be better with more money it will completely transform your relationship to it. There is no hurry to make it and it releases you from pursuing it from a place of lack or scarcity. Thinking you don’t have enough and need more to feel better. You don’t need more money to feel better. You need different thoughts to feel better.
If you are feeling unhappy now about your life or feel insecure about your finances it’s your thoughts you need to change. Because here is the thing. I initially started investing because I wanted to feel secure. I wanted to experience feeling safe and secure. I thought having investments and planning for my retirement would make me feel that way. But the truth is even after having acquired a couple of investment properties, an emergency fund and investments in shares as well as earning the most we ever have, I still felt insecure.
I thought it was the money that would make me feel secure. It’s not the money. It’s my thoughts about the money. The interesting thing is that when you start thinking and actually believing abundant thoughts about money. Making money is easier.
The grass is not greener. You are living your best life right now.
If you want to make more money, make more money but realise that no amount of money is going to make your life better. You might be able to do things differently and your life might look a little different but when a loved one dies you will still feel pain. You will still feel discomfort, embarrassment, fear and whatever other so call negative emotions you feel now.
Next time you are aware of your emotions ask yourself- would I feel any different in this same situation if I had more money? You might be surprised. It’s easy to think people with lots of money have better lives but do they, really?
I encourage you to explore this further and questions all your thoughts and beliefs about money and what it means to have it.
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Have a beautiful week. Until next time bye bye.