I have often quoted the late Alan Watts on my blog, and today is no exception. But, for fun, we will flirt with his theories by dedicating a post to a powerful topic he once discussed: Ideas that are basic to our perception of the world.
Ideas are peculiar
Ideas are powerful things that can form the basis of our reality, painting the world in bleak or fabulous contrasts. We interact with the world through these lenses, often without acknowledging that each person uses different idea glasses to interpret the world.
To some, a glass is half empty. To others, it is half full.
To you, _______ is amazing. To your neighbor, _______ is unremarkable.
To me, chaos is beautiful. To others, it is a nightmare.
The world is brimming with different ideas, shaping our various interactions with others, nature, and even money.
However, because this is a finance blog, let’s hone in on money ideas.
To some, money is inherently evil and leads to greed and corruption. Some may view it as neutral. It is a force for good that can change the world to others.
However, the true answer is that money is concurrently all of these things and none of these things. Money is a social construct, after all, and doesn’t exist in the natural world.
Further digging into money ideas, some develop scarcity mindsets, hoarding every dollar. On the flip side, others can construct abundance realities where money is never an issue, regardless of their wealth.
What other ideas can we hold about money? That debt is evil and that a dollar not saved is wasted. Examples include cutting out coffee shops and cooking every meal at home to become a millionaire.
These things together are true and false, but how you internalize them matters.
Getting to the now
How did your relationship with money form? Was it a good or bad upbringing? How has it evolved with time? Where is it going? These are all questions that need asking because your relationship with money starts with the ideas and beliefs that you hold nearest.
Question every one of them, as nothing should be sacred. The results may surprise you and hopefully lead to a more prosperous life.
For me, questioning my ideas about money meant confronting why I had become cheap, why I thought a dollar not saved was wasted, and that spending money was terrible.
What started as frugality and the pursuit of FIRE morphed into a view that a dollar not saved was a tragedy. To me, I had become so obsessed with reaching FIRE that I forgot what the point of it was: enjoying life on my terms.
To me, this reckoning was essential to reshaping my relationship with money. I realized that there is little point to saving if I could not enjoy the future I was creating or the journey along the way. Life is an outlandish affair, odd that it even exists. So, relish every fleeting moment, as they will never return.
What ideas will you challenge?
For me, my relationship with money has evolved. I no longer desire early retirement. I only covet financial independence, which I already have. If I want to spend money on something that matters to me, I will splurge. However, if it remains something of trivial importance, I will skimp or skip it.
Questioning my relationship with money has given me a new worldview, and I treasure that.
So I challenge you to do the same process because you will surely find both shackles and springs holding you back and propelling you forward. Which will you choose to keep and why? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. As always, have a great day.
Mile High Finance Guy
finance demystified, one mountain at a time