(Journey’s note: The content of this post is taken mainly from Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Rich. I post it here out of deep appreciation and gratitude. Hope you will enjoy and benefit from it too. Please feel free to share your ideas in the comment section!)
Motivational author and speaker Brandon Bays has been using the following scenario as part of an ongoing study into the psychology of wealth:
You have been shortlisted for a job for which you are well qualified. You interviewed well in the preceding rounds and are now one of the final five up for the job. Just before entering the final interview room you discover that the salary is not what you thought – it has an extra zero on it! In other words, the salary for the job is actually ten times more than you thought it was. If you thought it paid $50,000 a year, it turns out it really pays $500,000; if you had thought it paid $80,000 a year, you discover that it really pays $800,000.
How would you feel as you were about to go in and face the interview panel? What would you do? What comes up for you as you imagine yourself in that room?
For most people, it brings up all sorts of emotional issues ranging from unworthiness and worthlessness to overwhelm and even rage. A number of people in the study wouldn’t even go in for the final interview. A job that pays ten times more than they are used to earning is simply too far outside their comfort zone for them to even consider it.
The simple conclusion we can draw from this is that most people are carrying an unconscious ‘upper limit’ on how much money they would be comfortable earning. This makes sense, because our subconscious mind is a safety seeking mechanism. Its number-one job is to keep you safe, and its primary way of doing this is to try to ensure that today is as much like yesterday as possible. From your subconscious mind’s perspective, familiarity breeds safety.
In this way, your subconsciousness works much like a thermostat. If the thermostat is set for 20°C, then the chances are that the temperature in the room is around 20°C. If it started to get too much hotter, the air conditioning would kick it in and bring it back down into the ‘comfort zone’.
Here’s the key:
The only way to permanently change the temperature in the room is to reprogram the thermostat.
It’s the same with money, success, fame or any other thing you may be pursuing in your life. The only way to permanently increase your wealth is to first reprogram your wealth thermostat!
Here are a few questions you can ask to give yourself a sense of where your internal thermostat is currently set. Unless you have experienced a radical change in fortunes over the past few months, these numbers will give you a fairly accurate sense of the amount of money you are currently comfortable having in your life.
TAKING YOUR FINANCIAL TEMPERATURE
- How much money could you lose without freaking out? $10? $50? $500? $5,000?
- Look over your bank statements for the past 18 months or so. What’s the average amount of money you’ve had in your account?
- Add up the annual income and/or net worth of your five closest friends and divide by 5.
Research suggests that your own income/net worth will be within 20 per cent of that number, which makes it a pretty good indication of where your thermostat is currently set.
A ‘Rich’ Thermostat
Most people live their lives on autopilot doing things without really thinking about them. They listen to the same radio station, order the same food, and have the same kind of thoughts each day. Yet as the saying goes: “If you keep doing what you always do, you’ll just get what you always get.” If your thermostat is set low, that can be a problem. But what if it’s already set for riches?
At one time, Donald Trump was over one billion dollars in debt. One of the bankers who was sent to demand their money back told me the story of how the meeting actually went. Despite the fact that they were there to shut him down, Trump welcomed them in style and set about persuading them to give him more time to get the money back. They agreed to let him try, but only if he was willing to put a tight leash on his spending. Guess what happened?
Trump refused! He told them that if they wanted their money back, they were going to need to support him in the lifestyle to which he had become accustomed. He insisted on hundreds of thousands of dollars a month ‘allowance’ and full access to his private jets – in other words, to continue living his life on his own terms. Within a year, he had not only paid off the banks, he was also back to being hundreds of millions of dollars in profit.
His thermostat was set so high that it simply wouldn’t allow him to have less than that for any appreciable period of time. Consequently, his mind was able to generate ways of quickly bringing that amount of money back into his life.
Similarly, nearly all of the rich thinkers I studied for this book told me that if they lost all their money tomorrow, they would have it back within a few years. This is why the difference between a rich thinker and a poor thinker can’t be measured by the amount of money they have in the bank – it’s the amount of money they can hold as natural and normal inside their minds.
There are numerous studies that show that people who come into sudden massive wealth, be it through lottery wins or inheritance, are likely to get rid of it just as quickly. In fact, as many as 80% of these people wind up being worse off financially within two years than they were before they received their windfall. Through a series of poor investments and unnecessary spending, the subconscious mind soon returns these people to their original levels of financial comfort.
If you want to avoid falling into this trap, it is important that before you go out and try to make a lot of money you make the room in your mind to feel comfortable with it. In other words:
Until you actively reprogram your mind, your past will be an excellent indicator of your future.
Remember, your mind is just like a computer, and throughout the course of this book, we are going to be changing it to make it easier and easier for you to notice where you are already rich, make more money and live a richer life.
Here’s the first of a series of exercises I will guide you through in this chapter to reprogram your mind for greater wealth …
IMAGINING UNLIMITED WEALTH
- Think about how much money you have in the bank and notice what you imagine. Do you envision piles of bank notes, stacks of gold bars, a bank statement or something else?
- Next, think about how much money you have coming in over the next year and again notice what comes to mind. Do you see cheques, notes, bank statements, or numbers going up on your home computer?
- Now, imagine double, triple or even quadruple the amount of money coming in. You might see more notes piling up, the figures on the cheques are bigger, or the numbers on the screen are increasing more quickly. Have fun with this!
- Next, imagine that this flow of wealth increases every year for the next twenty years. Imagine stack after stack of banknotes being added to your account, making the piles bigger and bigger, or watching the numbers on your bank statement dramatically increase. Again, let your imagination run wild and enjoy it!
- When you are done, let your mind settle on an image that feels expansive and rich to you, making sure that you always finish with more wealth in your mind than you had when you began.
It is essential that you allow yourself to enjoy this exercise! By stretching the limits of how much money you can imagine having, you are gradually resetting your wealth thermostat at a higher and higher level.
Cranking up the heat on your income
I have a friend who is a highly skilled corporate trainer who was convinced that he had reached the upper limit of what was acceptable to charge for his services. He was complaining to me that in order for him to make as much money as he wanted to make he would need to work 350 days a year, the thought of which was not only unpleasant to him but completely implausible as he’d never booked more than 50 training days in a single year before.
I asked him what he charged and he said £1,200 a day. So I strongly suggested to him that he add a zero to the very next proposal he sent out.
He looked at me as though I was crazy. No matter how hard he tried, his brain simply couldn’t comprehend the idea of being paid £12,000 for one day’s work.
After watching him struggle with this for a few moments, I said, ‘OK, what if you just charged double what you used to? Worst case, they’ll negotiate you back down to your normal day rate.’
I saw a smile begin to form on his face. ‘I could do that,’ he said. Of course, had I suggested to him to double his day rate at the beginning, he would have found that difficult. But once the mind has been sufficiently stretched, it will never return to its original limitations. And once his mind had expanded to consider the possibility of earning £12,000 a day, only charging £2,400 a day not only felt easier, it felt like a relief from the exertion of trying to contemplate the larger number.
That is exactly the same thing we are going to do now. I am going to ask your brain to consider earning more money than you may have ever thought possible. Whether you are able to do this easily or not, practicing in this way will open your mind to be able to consider larger and larger sums of money.
The pay-off for this is more than comfort. My friend not only got £2,400 a day for the training, he learned that his limitations about what is truly possible weren’t real. The last time I spoke with him, he was regularly asking for and receiving £5,000 a day – and the number is still rising. Here’s a variation on what I did with my friend that you can do for yourself right now …
THE INCOME EXPANDER
- Whatever you currently earn, imagine being paid double that for exactly the same amount of work.
- When you can imagine that, double it again.
- How high can you go? When you’ve reached the absolute upper limit of what you can currently imagine being paid, think about what else you could do for that money and see if you can make the number go up even higher.
- When you really can’t go any further, think about your current income and imagine increasing it by only 10 per cent. How possible does it feel?
Each time you repeat this exercise, you will find it easier and easier to imagine the changes and more and more comfortable to do so.
The power of focus revisited
Remember, one of the fundamental principles I laid out in the first chapter was this:
What you focus on, you get more of.
Psychological and scientific theory abounds as to why things work this way. Psychologists tend to explain it by talking about the reticular activating system, the part of your mind that enables you to filter out most of your environmental stimuli and only notice those things that seem relevant to your safety or highest values.
Behaviorists agree that you get more of what you focus on, but they explain it differently. They tend to assert that your beliefs and predominant emotional states matter only inasmuch as they affect your external behaviours; those behaviours in turn will create results in the world around you, creating a sort of a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy‘ effect.
Scientists, particularly those interested in the field of quantum physics, have a different explanation, one made popular recently through the movie and book, The Secret.
The explanation is that everything in the universe – from our thoughts and language to our bodies and the physical world that surrounds us – is essentially made up of atoms and molecules vibrating at a particular energy frequency.
This is sometimes known as the Law of Attraction:
Like attracts like.
The scientists who subscribe to this theory hold that our thoughts work like a magnet, and what we focus on consistently becomes ‘attracted’ to us. In music, this is called the principle of ‘sympathetic resonance’. If you have two pianos in the same room and you hit a C note on one piano, you will find that the C string on the other piano will start vibrating at the same rate.
The emotions behind your thoughts determine the speed at which they manifest. You are broadcasting energy all the time. This is attracting and repelling things constantly. This is one reason why the richness of your thinking is ultimately more valuable than the size of your bank balance.
Your thoughts are an energy that is both powerful and creative. Focus on expanding your thermostat and creating more money will bring you an expanded sense of possibility and greater wealth than ever before.
How did your thermostat get set?
Scientists have discovered that newly hatched chicks identify the first thing they see as their mother; they will form a bond with it and base their behaviours around it. This process is called ‘imprinting’, and researchers have done many experiments that have proved the power of conditioning at this formative stage of development.
The same is true to some extent with humans. The early experiences of your childhood shape you for later life. Your beliefs about money will be affected by the environment you grew up in and the attitudes of those around you. This is how you get ‘programmed’ to think about money in the way that you do.
Those early experiences act as a sort of ‘training video’ for your subconscious mind, and serve as either a warning or an example of what’s possible. As a child you watch how the grown-ups around you handle money, and this sets up the potential for what you are capable of later in life.
For example, when I was growing up my father was in the construction business. Although he went through periods of great prosperity, the work was often erratic. I remember watching the enormous stress my parents were under as they rode this financial roller coaster, and deciding as a child that I didn’t ever want to have to worry about money. In fact, I wanted to make so much of it that it would never be an issue for me.
This was the early formation of my subconscious programming around money. But when I looked at how my own financial life was unfolding in my early thirties, I realized that deciding I wanted to have a lot of money was only part of what I’d learned.
Just like my father, I had fallen into the pattern of earning large sums of money and then getting rid of them. Although it felt like I was charting my own course, I was experiencing the exact same financial ups and downs as my parents. The only difference was, the ups were bigger – and so were the downs!
Once I recognized the pattern I was able to begin to change it, using the principle of hypnotic regression. Because people subconsciously act out of the patterns they learned in childhood, one of the most powerful techniques hypnotists use is to age regress their clients to a time before the limiting pattern was created. By exposing the subconscious mind to new patterns, people are then able to create a different set of filters on what’s possible.
This leads us to an unusual-sounding conclusion: It’s never too late to have a rich childhood!
For example, one of my best friends went to Eton school and excelled in everything he did. I, on the other hand, went to an ordinary comprehensive school, and to say I did not achieve academic greatness in those early years is a bit of an understatement.
One day we were comparing the kind of messages we received about ourselves and our potential while at school. For as long as I can remember, I was told that nothing I did was good enough and that I should lower my sights and let go of any ambitions I had to make my mark upon the world.
One of my school reports said that I ‘would never amount to anything’. In sharp contrast, my friend was continually told that he was special and was ‘a natural leader’.
Some of the differences were subtler. For example, a typical maths question at my school would be about ‘How many apples and oranges you could buy for a pound if apples cost 20 pence and oranges cost 15 pence?‘
One of the questions he remembered from his maths class began with the phrase, ‘You are buying a small engineering company that has shown limited profitability in the first three years of operations … ‘
While we have both gone on to success in our chosen fields, my journey has been one of continual unlearning and reprogramming. His has been the natural and inevitable result of positive programming the first time around.
What these differences made clear to me is that wherever your wealth thermostat is currently set, it’s the natural and inevitable result of your childhood programming.
The experiences you had growing up and the messages you received about money, both consciously and subconsciously, created the blueprint for your current financial situation.
We are about to change that blueprint for good.
Creating an alternative past
We are about to do one of the important techniques in this entire system. Strange though it may seem at first, this one technique alone can make all the difference in the world.
In a moment, we are going to create an alternative childhood for you – one where you grew up with all the advantages of being surrounded by rich thinkers who believed in you; believed in your potential and had the financial means to put that belief into practice.
This process will not take anything away from the childhood you actually had, and you will not forget anything important about your past. It is simply a way of providing your subconscious mind with some new alternatives, so you will no longer be constrained by the limits of your old wealth programming.
One important note
Some people had unhappy childhoods and find it uncomfortable to think about them. Because we are imagining an alternative childhood, you do not need to think about the one you actually had to successfully complete this exercise. If you feel any discomfort, simply stop and only return to it later when you are ready.
Now close your eyes and vividly imagine having had richer life. The more detail you are willing to go into, the more impact the exercise will have. Keep experimenting with it until you really get a strong sense of exactly what it would have been like …
YOUR WEALTHY CHILDHOOD
Read all the way through the exercise first so you know exactly what to do. Then when you’re ready, go back through, really taking the time to imagine each scenario in great detail.
- Imagine being born into a wonderful home where, from the moment you enter the world, you absolutely know that you are loved, you are wanted and there will always be enough – a truly rich environment.
- What is it like to be a small child knowing that wherever you go and whatever you do, you are loved, wanted and there is always enough? What kinds of presents would you get for your birthday? What kinds of friends would you play with? What kinds of positive messages and advice do you receive in this rich environment? What kinds of beliefs do you form about what’s possible growing up in this rich world?
- What would it be like to be a teenager having grown up knowing that from the moment you were born there was always enough money to do whatever you truly wanted to do? Who would you want to hang out with? Where would you want to travel to? What kind of hopes and dreams might you have for your future? How secure and confident do you feel?
- How about as you are making the transition to adulthood – what kinds of things do you want to do? Who do you want to do them with? Where do you choose to live? How do you feel about yourself? How do you feel about life, knowing that no matter what happens there will always be enough?
- What kinds of things are you drawn to in your twenties?
- In your thirties?
- In your forties?
- In your fifties?
- In your sixties?
- In your seventies?
What is it like to grow old having spent a lifetime knowing that you were loved, wanted and have always had enough money to do whatever you wanted to do? What have you learned?
If you like, you can write your answers as though you are writing your autobiography. For example:
In my twenties, I realized that because I had such a privileged upbringing, I had a responsibility to give back to the world in whatever way I could. While I continued to do the work I love in the art world and run my businesses, I also began advising and ultimately contributing large sums of money to charities that focused on offering education as well as financial support to young people.
As I grew older, I knew I might lose touch with what it was like to have the whole of my life ahead of me, so I wanted to support organizations that could get to people before life had a chance to knock the hope out of them …
While this is just an imagination exercise, every single person I have guided through it has noticed tangible changes in their lives, often within just a few days. You can reinforce your learning each time you listen to the hypnosis CD.
(The end of Chapter 3. To be continued…)
P.S. The text has been edited slightly from the original book. This website is NOT associated to Paul McKenna at the time of posting. If you like what you see here, and wish to support his marvelous work, please purchase I Can Make You Rich at Amazon. Thank you.
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