“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.” – Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking.
There is a secret that many people have that is never discussed and has a huge impact on the quality of our life.
We fear being or becoming impoverished.
I grew up in a family where poverty was spelled with a capital P. It was many generations deep and we were not expected to rise above it.
My parents barely made it through sixth grade education. I left school at fifteen and was expected to work in a factory, although the school counselor said I would make a good telephone operator because I had a lovely voice!
I learned how to type and became a secretary! How things have changed.
The fear of poverty has been a constant backdrop to my life.
Making ends meet, paycheck to paycheck was my early life, and when I had wealth, I didn’t think I deserved it, and in time, managed to lose much of it through mismanagement.
Many people struggle with this fundamental fear. Even those who are successful in life worry about being poor.
There is always the expectation that fortunes can be reversed, and everything lost. You may be rich but you may also count every penny as if it were your last.
What drives this fear?
The stories we tell ourselves that make it real.
“Nature has endowed human beings with absolute control over one thing, and that one thing is your thoughts.” – Napoleon Hill
Thinking creates reality.
If you live with the thought that there is never enough, then your reality will mirror that point of view.
Poverty is real for many who are barely making it through the week to week of living.
But that’s not the poverty I’m speaking of.
This poverty is a state of mind. It is the feeling of ‘not enough’.
Not good enough. Not worthy enough. Not deserving enough. Not secure enough.
Overcoming the fear of poverty is a challenge that you must overcome if you are to succeed and play a bigger game.
Fear paralyzes your reasoning and destroys the imagination for something better. It undermines your enthusiasm, encourages procrastination, and makes self-control an impossibility.
It’s hard to think clearly when your primitive brain, the amygdala has been hijacked, and your prefrontal cortex, your executive functioning brain has been sabotaged.
When you allow the fear stories to be the driver of your life you are playing small.
- You don’t believe you can live large!
- You don’t believe you’re worthy of success.
- You don’t believe you are capable of creating the kind of money you would like to have.
- And even when you get it, you wonder if you deserve it, or can hang onto it.
I know this because I’ve been there. I understand this insecurity.
These fears ran my life for a long time.
Fear of poverty shows up in many forms.
- Indifference: Lack of ambition. Acceptance of ‘what is’ rather than ‘what could be’. Lack of initiative and submission to circumstances that feel like you cannot change them.
- Indecision: Allowing others to make decisions for you. Asking other opinions to make sure you’re doing the right thing. Sitting on the fence and hoping things will change.
- Self-Doubt: Worries that you are not good enough. That you won’t be able to handle circumstances. Feeling you are not capable of high achievement. Excuses and apologies for your existence. Resistance to taking ownership and authority of your talents.
- Worry: Over-thinking about things that have not happened, or what other people are thinking. How you are perceived. Imagining worse case scenarios. Visioning a future out of control.
- Blame: Finding fault in others. Looking for ways to blame circumstances not your choices. Being a victim.
- Overly Cautious: Looking at the negative side of things and saying no before you have a chance to examine the facts. Avoiding failure by not committing to an act. Waiting for the ‘right time’.
- Procrastination: Tomorrow always looks better than today for starting something. Refusing to take responsibility for something or someone. Too eager to compromise rather than take a stand. Planning for failure instead of planning for success. Feeling like you won’t be capable of doing what you say you want to do.
How do you combat the tendency to think the worse, and remove the limitation of your primitive brain?
It starts with this fundamental idea: Fear matters to your success because it’s a driver for growth.
When the fear chatter interferes with your best interests, you must be willing to find the courage to confront the stories you are telling yourself.
You must be willing to confront the limitations imposed on self knowing it’s a fabrication of the mind, and you can create a different narrative.
When you change your behavior by thinking differently, and you are more courageous in your choices, willing to take more risks, fear is your friend.
It gives you the impetus to change.
There are no guarantees in life, but I guarantee that if you are willing to confront the uncertainty caused by fear, you will discover old beliefs that have never served your highest and best purpose.
Self-examination is the only way to beat fear. Discovering the truth of who you are, what matters to you, and defining your purpose and vision are essential to lead you toward fulfilling your potential.
Overcoming the fear of poverty or insufficiency is an abundance mindset challenge.
It’s not just thinking positively.
It’s about believing in your capacity to overcome any obstacles and find solutions that serve your highest and best self.
It’s about believing in you.
When you are successful in your own mind you understand that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to do.
You manifest your desires easily.
You don’t allow the ‘not enough’ to set in, and you give gratitude for what you have.
You don’t measure your success by how much is in the bank or the status you’ve achieved, but how you feel about the experiences you’ve learned from, and the resilience you’ve shown in overcoming obstacles.
You take full ownership of your strengths, and your weaknesses, and continue to seek out the blind spots that are holding you back from achieving the things you say you want.
And remember, this is a lifetime journey to change your thinking to be in alignment with your true self.
If you are committed to the process and are willing to surrender the falsehoods that keep you playing small, greater opportunities will open you up to more than you thought possible.
Please leave your comments below on how you feel about the poverty mindset.