On my way out of the bank this morning, I picked up several deposit slips. As I walked back to my car, I suddenly remembered that a friend once jokingly pointed out that a sign of prosperity is using up your deposit slips before using up your check blanks.
Quaint, huh? In this day of online banking and virtual commerce, we don’t need to ever have direct contact with currency. Advertisers and credit card companies have done a brilliant job of making money an abstract concept.
Unfortunately, too many of us have failed to realize what a disservice we’re doing to ourselves by keeping away from direct contact. Consider, however, that advisors who help people get out of debt are quick to recommend destroying credit cards and only spending cash.
During the days when I began to deal with my own poverty consciousness, I read some advice from Sondra Ray that dramatically demonstrated the power of personal contact.Ray suggested that a way to remove negative thoughts about money was to procure a $100 bill and carry it with you. The other part of this exercise is that you’re only allowed to spend it if you can immediately replace it.
Doing so seemed both bold and scary to me at the time, but I also understood the rationale behind it. As Ray points out, when you are about to spend your last small bill and go to remove it from your wallet, you’ll see the $100 next to it and your thought is more apt to be, “I have plenty,” rather than, “I don’t have any money.”
I’ve never been without a $100 bill since. I’ve also never had the stress and despair that haunted me in earlier times in relationship to money.
Although I frequently tell audiences that self-employment is where we come to make peace with money, I also know that this is a foreign concept for those of us who inherited all sorts of unhealthy beliefs about the stuff.
It seems to me that we’re about as clueless about money as the Victorians were about sex. I also suggest that having a healthy attitude about money is a do-it-yourself project.
A fine starting point for that comes from Charles Handy in his book The Hungry Spirit.
He writes, “In most of life we can recognize ‘enough.’ We know when we have had enough to eat, when the heating or air conditioning is enough, when we have enough sleep or done enough preparation.
“More than enough is then unnecessary and can even be counterproductive. Those who do not know what is enough, cannot move on. they do not explore new worlds, they do not learn.
“They are trapped in a rut of their own success, always wanting more of the same, always dissatisfied, never knowing the feeling of abundance.”
Handy goes on to talk about how vital it is for self-employed people, which he and his wife both are, to determine what enough means. He points out that this does not mean scrimping and just getting by.
It also doesn’t mean accepting anyone else’s definition of enough. (Millionaire status? Six-figure income? Says who?)
It starts with a clear vision of what you want your life to be like, what matters most to you. It’s understanding what Alan Cohen meant when he said, “Money should be the servant of your visions, not the master.”
What does Money Ease really mean to you? Once you sincerely figure that out, the Money Dragons will vanish.
It may not be easy, but it’s so worth it.