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What if you have no money because you're choosing to have none?
Ooh! That’s a bit harsh!
I can hear the indignant, affronted replies from here:
“What do you mean, I am where I am? Do you mean that I’m choosing to have no money and live from pay cheque to pay cheque while I dream about winning the lottery all the time? No way!
I want to be rich! I want to win the lottery! I don’t want to work any more! I want to lie on a beach all day, drinking Pina Coladas and doing nothing!
Do you think I’d choose to live this way if I didn’t have to?”
Well actually, yes; that’s exactly what I mean. I do think you’re choosing to stay poor and not be rich, for sure.
Let’s face facts, if you wanted to be wealthy, you’d be wealthy, right?
We bury our heads in the sand
Again, I can hear the offended responses:
...you haven’t had the luck,
...things haven’t gone your way,
...you weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth,
...you have a family, people rip you off,
...it takes money to make money,
...every time you start to get ahead something comes along to take you back to square one – the car breaks down or the roof on your house starts leaking,
...you don’t know the right people,
...you don’t have the time to do anything because you’re too busy working. On and on the long list of reasons for not being able to be wealthy goes and the only way out that you can see is if you win the lottery because as far as you’re concerned, it ain’t going to happen otherwise.
I can say all of this because when someone said this to me, I got horribly confronted and really, really upset.
How could she even suggest that I was choosing to stay poor and not make any money? That was so hurtful.
She knew how hard I’d worked, she knew the hours I’d put in, the effort, the blood, sweat and toil, the studying, the months of plugging away at it, bit by bit, she knew all that and yet, here she was, suggesting that… actually, she was telling me, not suggesting, telling me that I was choosing to not make money.
Here was I, losing sleep because I couldn’t pay a tax bill, the mortgage was overdue and there wasn’t enough money to pay the school fees, yet I was somehow choosing that things were that way?
No way. Absolutely no way on god’s earth could that ever be the case; I wanted to make lots of money, be successful and be rich.
That was what I was choosing. It just hadn’t happened yet, that was all. There’s a lag to these things, I kept telling myself, a time period between the effort you put in and the reward that you receive, like working for two weeks before you get your paycheque. Only this was on a much bigger scale, I was certain; when I finally got this paycheque, it would be a much bigger one than normal because I’d waited that much longer. That makes sense, right? It was just that I was waiting for a very long time and I could really do with the money coming in now.
Only it wasn’t. The money wasn’t coming in.
It's time to face reality
Finally, after stropping around, throwing things and generally having a bit of a tantrum, I decided to have an honest think at what my friend said and consider the possibility that the only thing stopping me from making money was me.
What are the reasons for wanting to be rich?
I sat down, pen and paper ready to go, and wrote down a list of all the reasons why I wanted to be rich:
...no more worrying about paying bills,
...being able to do whatever I wanted,
...being able to buy whatever I wanted,
...holidays all the time, flying everywhere first class,
...no money pressure,
...not having to worry for even one second whether I had enough money in my account when I got to the checkout at the supermarket,
...buy a nice house,
...buy several nice houses,
...feel good about myself,
...get someone else to do the cleaning, etc, etc.
Then I sat down and began to write a list of all the possible reasons why I might prefer to stay poor than have all that.
I didn’t think there would be any, because, seriously, why would anyone prefer to be poor? But, determined to be completely honest with myself and really try to do this exercise, I started writing anyway.
The reasons for staying 'poor' may surprise you
Slowly, a few things began to appear on the list, then to my surprise, the list of reasons to stay poor became longer than the list of reasons to get rich.
And you know what? They were reasons that tore at my heartstrings.
Things like some members of my family may treat me differently or even stop talking to me.
That is actually a valid fear since some of my relatives really did block me on social media for a while because I talk about money the way that I do. I wasn’t making this concern up.
...I was afraid that I’d change and become a different person.
...I didn’t want to become obsessed and driven by money.
...I didn’t want to lose my generosity because I had a lot of money.
...I didn’t want my life to become all about making money.
...I didn’t want to have to work so hard and so much that I never got time with my family or time to do the things I enjoyed, I wanted my family to still come first and I wasn’t sure that they could if I chose to get wealthy.
...I didn’t want to become selfish or self centred.
...I didn’t want people to judge me negatively because I had a lot of money.
Basically, I wanted to be a nice person, the same person (hopefully I’m nice!), and subconsciously, I didn’t see how I could do that if I made lots of money through a business or something.
Obviously, winning the lottery doesn’t count because you don’t have to do anything or change as a person, the money just lands in your lap, but even then, if I was completely honest with myself, there was a hesitation: would I announce to the world that I now had all that money?
If I did, how many people would change their view of me?
How many people would expect me to give them money or bail them out of the financial hole they were in?
I had no idea that there were so many downsides to becoming rich hidden deep in my subconscious.
This is a powerful exercise and one I suggest you do right now and keep doing regularly. You might be amazed at the things that you uncover.
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Hi! I’m Karen O’Connor, Along with my husband, John, and my brother, Alan, we are the YouTube channel, Stop Being So Poor - The hows, the whys and the fun in making money.
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