Where was this book 20 years ago? Lisa Nichols would probably like to know that, too. She writes powerfully about the process of changing a scarcity-based, limited mindset and breaking through economic class boundaries. If it were easy, it wouldn’t take a book to figure it out. I nodded along with her on every page… until I got to the last 20%. Then I started taking notes.
“Did you grow up with a negative money mindset?” This, to me, is one of the most important questions of the book. I know I believed (and/or was taught) every single item on Nichols’s list of negative money beliefs. These include the ideas that “rich people get money by scamming the rest of us” and that if you’re rich, you can’t be a good person. I felt that having more money would corrupt me and make me selfish. Not just selfish, but soft, unable to retain my street smarts and grit.
I love this book, and I can’t possibly recommend it enough to anyone who is still caught in struggle. It doesn’t have to be that way. You’re smart enough to think your way out of any situation, but first you have to believe you can and that it’s worth the bother to try. That’s why we need books like Abundance Now. They teach us all the things that people from more privileged backgrounds picked up simply by breathing the air around them.
Since I’ve already strongly advised that you go out and read this book, read it right away, I’ll now share a bit to reinforce the message. I’ve crossed two economic class boundaries so far in my lifetime, from below-the-official-poverty-line to working class to middle class. I see no reason to stop going, now that I have a better idea of how it works. What I’ve learned is that there are enormous differences in mindset between people of each economic class. You can often figure out a person’s financial belief package in five minutes. One example from Abundance Now: “Average people teach their children how to survive. Rich people teach their kids how to get rich.” As a poor person, that statement would have made me spit with anger. I couldn’t see the possibility that someone might get rich from a positive contribution to humanity. Is it “okay” to get rich by selling goods or services that people want? Is it “okay” to be a wealthy surgeon, for example? What about someone like Bill Gates, who got rich selling software and now is using part of the money to try to eradicate malaria?
One of the first thinking exercises I learned when I was climbing the economic ladder was to try to see earning money as “permissible” or just “not evil” in all cases. The truth is that earning money and building wealth has no relationship to a person’s character or morals, in the same way that being poor doesn’t. You know that being poor and living in a rough neighborhood doesn’t automatically make you a thief, a drug addict, or a “welfare cheat.” What if the process of earning an education, building a career, and becoming prosperous helped you to relax and be more generous? What if you could use your newfound leverage to bring positive change to the people around you? What’s your personal “malaria” that you would love to eliminate from the world, if you could simply whip out your debit card and start working on it?
Money is energy, pure and simple. It’s an abstract means of exchange. If the idea of keeping it around makes you uncomfortable (for now), what about thinking of it as a current, flowing around you in the same way a creek would? What if you earned more and went ahead and gave it away? If the first idea that comes to mind is that you’d like to ease the financial burden from someone you love – why couldn’t that person be you?
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.