If there’s any one thing that keeps us broke, it’s resistance to the idea of having more money. This is far more common than one would guess. People hold a huge variety of negative beliefs about money, jobs, and wealth. I’d like to counter this by suggesting that we earn as much as possible and then give it away. Would having more money be a problem if you didn’t keep it? What if you earned a million dollars and one cent, and you gave away the million and kept the penny?
Let’s take that a little further. Do you have a favorite cause that you love so much that you want to tell the world about it? Is there a problem in the world that bothers you so much that you think about it constantly?
I asked my pets what they would choose. Spike says he’d like to see more research into canine Addison’s disease and an end to dog-fighting and puppy mills. Noelle says she’d put hers toward preventing exotic animal smuggling, and habitat preservation for African Grey parrots in Congo. I told them both to get a job.
One of the first things that holds us back is when we feel like we don’t have any opportunities. If we’re unemployed, we say that there are no jobs out there right now. Hint: It only takes one. If we have a job that we hate, then we’ve taken meticulous notes on any and all unfairness in our workplace. Oh, they only promote certain types of people, I can’t work that schedule, So-and-so has it in for me. We have something in mind that we’d rather do, but there’s such a long list of reasons why we can’t actually do it.
As an example, I’ll do some of mine. I have a running list of alternative realities for myself, all of which are mutually exclusive. At least, if I did them all, I couldn’t do them all at the same time. Running a bird sanctuary, going back to grad school, going to every country in the world as a travel writer, opening a food cart. Well, I can’t open a bird sanctuary unless I own land, due to noise ordinances if nothing else, and I don’t have the down payment and there’s nowhere we could afford to do it near my husband’s work. I’d go back to grad school but I don’t know what subject I would study and I can’t guarantee that I’d earn enough in my new field to pay off the debt, plus I’m still paying off my student loan from my BA. I’d start traveling the world, but you see, it would be impossible to bring my pets and my husband wouldn’t be able to go. I looked into opening a food cart but the coaches are $100,000 and our city council is… You see how this works.
When we go a little deeper, we find that we have reasons why we wouldn’t want more money even if we knew how to get it. Money goes to people’s heads. It makes you greedy, selfish, and vain. You have to buy a ridiculous, architecturally monstrous house where all your neighbors are other rich people. Money makes you become a drug addict and start throwing your phone at people. You get paparazzi after you. You have to hire security guards. You never have any privacy or peace and quiet ever again. They make you name your kids with weird, made-up names that don’t make sense.
It’s just like working out. We immediately go to the extreme. I don’t want to lift weights because I’ll bulk up and my arms will be bigger than my legs. I don’t want to lose weight because if I drop a pound, I’ll go insane and become anorexic. We can’t imagine a happy medium.
What if I got just 5% stronger?
What if I earned just 5% more income?
Well, gee. What’s the point of that?
We give a lot of lip service to the concept of moderation, until it’s time to choose moderate goals. Then we aren’t interested. For instance, if I’m 50 pounds overweight and I find out I can realistically lose two pounds a week, what? It’s going to take me over six months to lose the weight? Pfft. Why bother.
You mean if I earn 5% more and spend 5% less, I can start funding my retirement? Bor-or-or-ING.
I come back to the idea of the million and the penny. Why not be completely extravagant in your desire to figure out ways to earn as much money as possible? What if you just do it for a cause?
I mean, along the way, it seems legit to pay off any debts you may have accrued over the years, including personal loans. It seems fair to use some of your earnings to make repairs around your home and vehicle and upgrade anything that’s worn out or broken. Or, if not, well, you can always keep going as a charity pump and keep putting it all toward your cause.
What if you started out with the desire to earn a million dollars for charity, and keep a penny for yourself, but you accidentally earned more? In that case, would it be okay in your heart to spend any of it on yourself? No? What about others? Could you use it to buy gifts or help out people in your life? Surely that would be okay?
What if it really was okay to just earn as much as you can and spend it however you want? What if accepting that enabled you to move forward so quickly that you surpassed your wildest dreams of what you were capable of? What if you went to donate so much to your favorite charity that they didn’t even know how they would spend it all?
Abundance means knowing on a deep level that there is plenty, and there will always be plenty more. Wealth is not zero-sum. It’s not necessary to deprive anyone of anything in order to feel prosperous. Giving lavishly from a place of abundance is pure pleasure. It is joyful to spread the wealth. The greatest wealth is love. How compatible is love with feelings of stress, strain, deprivation, lack, poverty, and impossibility?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.