(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!)
When I first started working with the ideas in this system, I began to earn far more money than I had ever imagined possible. In my first year, I brought in more money than I’d ever dreamed of having. What shocked me was that when my tax bill came due, I didn’t have enough left in my account to pay it!
That’s when I realized that I had only mastered half of the equation. While making money is a wonderful skill, accumulating a surplus of that money is an important part of nearly every rich thinker’s plan for a lifetime of riches.
Which brings us to an important question:
Do you get more pleasure from spending money or accumulating it?
While either pattern taken to an extreme can become a problem, everyone has a tendency towards either spending money as it comes in or seeking to keep it. Those patterns are often set in childhood, when extra money brought in through allowances, birthday presents and summer jobs was either saved up in a piggy bank or immediately spent down the shops on a Saturday afternoon.
Whatever your current programming, in this chapter I am going to teach you how to put money back into your pocket without budgeting and without feeling deprived. You will not only spend less money, you’ll get more value for the money you do spend. Soon, you will begin to accumulate a surplus of wealth – and that surplus will provide the basis for your financial future.
The Joy of Saving
People sometimes ask me if I recommend they use any available money to payoff debt or increase savings when they are beginning a program to create more money in their life. While everyone is different and it is important to honour your debts, I always encourage them to take at least a portion of that available money and use it to begin accumulating some savings.
There are two reasons for this, both of which are psychologically and scientifically proven:
- The more you have, the less susceptible you are to the emotional roller-coaster of financial life.
Imagine for a moment that you have $10 in savings and you lose $1 – how do you feel?
Now imagine that you have $100 and you lose that same $1 – does it feel different? What if you had $l,OOO? $10,OOO? $1,OOO,OOO?
Similarly, imagine making an extra $100 today – how would that make you feel? Would you feel the same way if you already had $1,000 in the bank? $10,OOO? $1,OOO,OOO?
When we have money in the bank, it’s easier to avoid the emotional highs and lows of profit and loss, which in turn allows you to practice your rich thinking and make smart financial decisions from within the money zone.
- The more you have, the more you get.
Have you ever noticed that the rich often seem to get richer? Because they already have money, their subconscious mind spends its time searching for ways to create even more of it. And because your subconsciousness is at work 24 hours a day, it will find exactly what it’s looking for.
Remember our basic rule of thumb:
What you focus on, you get more of.
In this sense, money in the bank acts like a magnet for more money. Not only will you benefit over time from the compounding effect of interest, you will also benefit from the compounding effect of focus.
Now, if you’re thinking you couldn’t possibly save money on your income, that’s just some poor thinking from an old program in your mind. You don’t need to earn one extra penny to begin building your ‘money magnet’. As you learn and apply the techniques for overcoming emotional spending I will share with you in this chapter, you will naturally and effortlessly spend less money. Then use that money to begin your savings plan.
Here is a simple exercise you can do that will turbo-charge your intention to accumulate wealth. It will begin changing the perceptual filters of your mind even as you do it.
THE VALUE Of SAVINGS
Do this exercise quickly – it doesn’t matter if you think all your answers are ‘good ones’ …
- Make a list of 50 things you would love to do, be or have in your life if only you had more money in the bank.
- A nicer car
- More holiday time
- Learn to fly a plane
- Move to the country
- Now, make a list of 50 ways that having more money would help you achieve your highest values.
- More time with my family
- Support and attend my favorite art/sports/social events
- Able to contribute to my favorite causes
- I would be less stressed and as a result more patient
- Circle any items on your lists that are particularly motivating to you. You can put reminders by your computer or write them on the inside cover of your checkbook to remind you of what you are postponing each time you spend money on something trivial in the moment.
Building a ‘money magnet’ provides you with a cushion of wealth that makes it easier to sustain rich thinking and provides you with the funds to invest in developing your business, product or service.
So why don’t we all make accumulating wealth our top priority? The answer may surprise you.
How we are programmed to spend
In 1923, Montgomery Ward and several other wealthy US retailers hired a man named Edward Bemays to advise them on how to boost sales in a flagging post-WW1 economy. Bemays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and he taught them to link the purchase of goods and services to people’s ego needs – sex, status, prestige, and a sense of themselves as prosperous and successful.
Up until that time, most people bought things for practical purposes – if you had a pair of trousers, you wouldn’t buy another one until the first pair wore out. But Bemays reframed that behaviour from a virtue into a vice. If someone felt they couldn’t afford or didn’t need the clothes, the sales people were taught to make that person feel insignificant and unworthy.
On the other hand, buying the ‘right’ brand of clothes, watch or car would let everyone know that you were sophisticated, rich, successful or a worthy mate, even though logically everyone knew the connection was completely made up.
At the time, this radical new approach fuelled both the boom of post-war prosperity in the 1920s and the subsequent depression of the 1930s. And nowadays the techniques advertisers use are far more advanced and far more subtle. The consumer culture all around us offers us an overwhelming number of ways to get an instant burst of good feelings.
A bit down today? Buy these shoes and chase the blues away!
Not feeling great about yourself? Those jeans might do the trick!
Feeling like you’re working harder than ever without getting ahead? You deserve a new car!
And it is not just the clothes, the toys and the status symbols – it is the brands too. Notice how you feel when you say each one of these famous brand names inside your mind:
- Louis Vuitton
- Rolls Royce
Every brand is an emotional trigger. Vast sums of money are spent through advertising and in all sorts of other more subtle ways to ensure that when you see a brand, or a crucial design element associated with it, particular emotions are triggered in you.
Very often it is done so subtly and elegantly that you don’t even notice it happening. But, let me assure you, it is still happening.
In fact, so many advertising executives used to show up on our hypnosis training that I now consider teaching people how the mind really works is a kind of ‘consumer protection for the brain’.
In one famous study, men who saw a new car advertisement that included a seductive young woman rated the car as faster, more appealing, more expensive-looking and better designed than men who viewed the same ad without the model. Yet when asked later the men refused to believe that the presence of a model had influenced their judgement.
These days there are so many brands that are linked to prestige, sex and success in our culture that we don’t even question the association.
Combine this with the ready availability of credit, and the constant bombardment of advertising messages on an unprepared mind can be extremely costly.
The real cost of ‘retail therapy’
Have you ever gone shopping to cheer yourself up?
While there is nothing wrong in theory with ‘retail therapy’, if you can’t stop yourself or you are continually buying things you don’t use or need, you are out of control.
What was once a way of ‘taking the edge off’ can become a full-blown addiction. This is what happened to a client of mine whose shopping ‘habit’ had got completely out of control. Even though she knew she was spending a fortune on things she never used, she felt helpless in the face of a new dress or a 10% discount.
Well-meaning friends would say to her that she should just ‘get a grip on herself’ or ‘stop being so stupid’, but try as she might she couldn’t stop herself. Despite her well-paid job, she was haemorrhaging money. When I met her she was just a few months away from losing her home and being out on the streets with her young daughter.
How can something as seemingly innocent as shopping create the same devastating impact as the excessive use of alcohol or drugs?
The eminent researcher Dr Ronald Ruden has made a fascinating study of how we are addicted to happiness chemicals such as serotonin. We can get these from any number of things: a compliment, our favorite TV show, our football team winning, sharing a conversation with like-minded people, and also from sex, drink, drugs, gambling … and shopping.
When we buy something we like or we think will enhance us in some way, our brain releases the happiness chemicals serotonin. But as with almost any drug, the more you take, the more you need to take to get the same level of release.
Many of the things we purchase we are buying in order to make ourselves feel differently. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having good feelings about a purchase. However, if that’s your favorite way of getting good feelings, it could prove expensive.
Because my client had so many bad feelings floating around inside her body (following two separate traumas she had suffered), she was desperate to find something that would ease her pain. And as with most of us, the first place she looked was outside herself. Since she ‘wasn’t the kind of person’ who would get involved with gambling or drugs, she turned to something else – shopping.
Fortunately, once you recognize that you are stuck in a self-defeating pattern of behavior, it is relatively easy to break free. Overcoming any addiction is ultimately a matter of reprogramming ourselves, changing our associations, our biochemistry, and then our actions.
There are two main things you need to do:
- Change your old associations.
- Redesign your priorities.
Change your old associations
The biggest expense my client had was designer clothes. Whenever she was feeling down she would head down to her favourite shops, ‘just to look’. Because she was such a ‘loyal, valuable customer’, the shop assistants would treat her like a princess, though it was more likely they were too busy counting their impending commissions to really be paying much attention to her.
She would look around the shop for as long as possible, working her feelings up into a frenzy and getting high on the anticipation of the purchase. Then, when she was good and ready, she would whip out her credit card and satisfy her craving. By the time she left the shop, she didn’t even care about what she had bought and her home was overflowing with unopened packages.
In order to shatter her old associations, I asked her to think of her favorite designer labels. Then, I had her create an associational link to them by asking her to squeeze the thumb and forefinger together. We repeated this process several times until just squeezing her fingers together would bring up her clothing lust.
Next, I asked her think of something she would never want to buy, which in her case, was crack cocaine. As she thought about this unpleasant notion, we built up her sense of repulsion more and more until she looked quite nauseous. I then had her once again squeeze her thumb and finger together, this time at the very height of the repulsion, collapsing the old, pleasant associations.
Within a few minutes, I had linked those feelings of repulsion directly to her favorite designer labels. Her ability to shop without thinking as a way to get good feelings had begun to change for ever.
Here is a variation on this same exercise you can do for yourself…
FROM LUST TO DISGUST
Before you do this technique for yourself, read through each step so that you know exactly what to do.
- Think of your favorite ’emotional purchase’ – the thing you are most likely to buy in order to cheer yourself up or feel better about yourself.
- As you think about it, put the thumb and forefinger of your left hand together. Repeat this several times with as many different emotional purchases as you can think of until just squeezing those fingers together begins to bring up some of that ‘shopping lust’.
- Now, think of something that you would never buy, no matter what. It might be a handgun that had been used in a murder or a Nazi flag. The more outraged and disgusted you are at the mere thought of it, the better.
- As you continue to imagine that awful purchase, double the image in your mind’s eye so that it almost overwhelms you. When you are truly uncomfortable, once again squeeze together the thumb and finger of your left hand.
- Repeat this process as many times as you need until the very idea of buying those things leaves you with a feeling of discomfort. The more distasteful an item you can think of in step 3, the faster and more powerfully this technique will work for you.
Of course, if all we did was make her feel bad about what she used to get pleasure from, she would simply substitute some other external means to get her fix. So I needed to teach her to get the happy feelings she used to get from shopping in other ways.
I asked her to vividly remember times she had experienced great pleasure and happiness and squeeze the thumb and middle finger of her right hand together.
She remembered the moment she first held her baby in her arms, times she’d laughed with friends and other moments involving pleasure of a more personal nature.
Soon, she only had to squeeze her thumb and middle finger together and she would feel good. Once we had created this ‘feel good button’, I asked her to think of some of the situations that in the past had sent her off to the shops. Each time she thought about one, she would squeeze her
thumb and finger together and fire off the good feeling while imagining doing something else instead. After repeated practice, she could imagine going about her daily life without the overwhelming compulsion to shop.
We had linked negative feelings to the thought of buying unnecessary and expensive items, and positive feelings to her everyday life.
Now it’s your turn.
We are now going to program your mind and body to release happy chemicals without shopping so that you automatically experience good feelings at times when you used to feel the need to shop. This will not only reset your body’s natural balance, it will also enable you to feel good whenever you want without the use of shopping, alcohol, cigarettes, food or any other artificial stimulants.
We will do this by adding a stack of positive feelings to the ‘rich anchor’ you created in chapter one. So in a moment, I am going to ask you to remember some times in your life when you felt particularly good without shopping. Then we are going to create an association between those feelings and this squeeze of your fingers by repeating them together over and over again.
Ready? Here we go…
THE FEEL GOOD BUTTON
Before you do this technique for yourself, read through each step so that you know exactly what to do.
- Press the thumb and middle finger of your right hand together to fire off the ‘rich anchor’ you created in chapter one.
- Now, remember a time you felt really, really good – you were having fun with friends, someone paid you a compliment, you felt incredibly loved. Return to it as though you are back there now. Remember that time vividly – see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how good you felt.
- As you keep going through that memory again and again, continue to squeeze your thumb and middle finger together on your right hand. Notice all the details, and make the images bigger and the colours richer, bolder and brighter. Make the sounds louder and crisper and the feelings stronger.
- Next, think of a time that you felt DEEP PLEASURE. It needs to be intense and strong. As you keep going through that memory again and again, squeeze your thumb and middle finger together on your right hand. Recall it as vividly as possible. Remember that time, see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel how good you felt.
- OK, stop and relax. You’ll know you’ve done this correctly when you squeeze your thumb and finger together and you feel that good feeling again. Go ahead, do that now – just squeeze thumb and finger together and enjoy feeling these wonderful feelings.
- Now imagine taking that good feeling with you into all the situations where in the past you would have felt the compulsion to go shopping. See what you’ll see and hear what you’ll hear as you take that good feeling in to each one of those situations without any need to buy anything at all.
- Take yourself through a few difficult situations and handle each one of them perfectly. Here are a few examples:
- You are at work and it’s a little stressful, but you are able to deal with it easily.
- You’re sitting home alone and you’re feeling bored. You know your paycheque has just hit your bank account, and you’re wondering what to do. You fire off your rich anchor and begin to smile. It occurs to you that you haven’t seen one of your good friends for some time, and you arrange a time to meet.
Imagine each scenario again and again until you feel really good about your ability to manage your own feelings without having to spend money to do so.
Redesign your priorities
At this point, my client became a bit concerned that she’d never be able to shop again. The reality, as I pointed out to her, is that she hadn’t lost anything·- she had gained the ability to make wise choices about how she used her money.
In order to reinforce that point, I asked her to make three very important lists. Her ‘A’ list would consist of essential items that she must buy each week, like food for her and the baby. Her ‘B’ list included items that were important but not essential, such as paying her mobile phone bill and saving to build a financial cushion. Everything else went on the ‘C’ list.
From now on she would buy only ‘A’ list items first, then distribute her money on ‘B’ list items when there was money left over. Until she began to build her financial cushion, ‘C’ list items wouldn’t get bought at all.
How well did it work? Within a few short months her entire life had changed. She was climbing out of debt, feeling good about herself and saving money to invest in her future.
Even though your spending may not be out of control everybody can benefit from this exercise.
ABC LIST EXERCISE
- Write down a list of everything that you currently spend money on, from groceries to your mortgage to family holidays.
- Assign an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ to each expense.
A = essential
B = important, but not essential
C = everything else
- In future, spend money on the As and Bs first. Every time you are thinking about spending money in the future, consider which list the expense should be on and make your decision accordingly.
An end to ‘money diets’
Most systems of dieting and budgeting are based on punishment and reward. If you’re ‘good’ that is, you deny yourself food and/or shopping for a set period of time – you get a treat. If you’re ‘bad’, you don’t get the treat, plus you’re supposed to feel bad about what you’ve done. But here’s the problem:
Diets don’t work!
While systematically starving yourself can keep the pounds off in the short term, over time nearly everyone winds up putting the weight back on, often bouncing back to a higher weight than ever before.
This is the same experience nearly everyone who tries to put themselves on a tight, restrictive budget is up against, and the reason ‘money diets’ rarely work for more than about 90 days.
Here’s one last technique you can use, regardless of your current spending habits, which will take advantage of your inner wisdom by slowing down the spending process so that you can no longer do so subconsciously. While you can certainly adapt the technique to meet your needs, do it exactly as written in order to get the maximum benefits.
GROWING YOUR FINANCIAL AWARENESS
- For the next 30 days, put your credit cards away somewhere safe. You are going to be spending on a ‘cash-only’ basis.
- Before you buy anything, ask yourself a question that will heighten your consciousness around what you are about to spend. Some of my favourites include:
- Is this an ‘A’, ‘B’ or a ‘C’?
A = essential
B = important, but not essential
C = everything else
- Do I really want this or do I just want to feel better?
- Will spending money on this make me richer or poorer?
- Immediately after buying something, take out your notebook and write down exactly what you spent, from $2 for a packet of crisps to $50 for petrol.
On average, following these three steps will add less than a minute to your purchase time, but I have seen it cut down the amount people spend by as much as 50%!
Switching to a ‘cash-only’ spending policy in the short term can save you a surprising amount of money – and that money can be used to begin providing you with the financial cushion you so richly deserve.
As you apply these techniques, you will be amazed at how much money you begin to save without even trying. By using these savings to fund your ‘money magnet’, your wealth will grow by leaps and bounds!
(The end of Chapter 4. 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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