Money, Metaphor, and Meaning (#724)

(Michael is away on holiday, so this week’s tip is from the archives. You can access over 700 of Michael’s tips as a member of the Solutions Cafe!)

Reach into your purse or pocket and pull out some paper money – dollars, pounds, krona, yen, whatever you’ve got to hand…

Now try the following mini-experiment…

Wave the money rapidly back and forth, like a fan. (If you’ve been reading these tips for a while, you’re no doubt already used to the rest of the office/freeway/civilised world staring strangely at you – if not, you might want to save this for later!) Look at the money and tell yourself “it’s just a piece of paper.”

Next, think of something you want that the money in your hand could help you get – lunch, a new CD, clothes, world peace, whatever appeals to you. Continue to look at the money as you think about what it is that you want.

Now, imagine that the money you hold in your hand is all that’s between you and being absolutely broke.

Finally, wave the money back and forth rapidly, telling yourself once again that “it’s just a piece of paper.”

What is it that gives money its emotional power? One answer is that we do. And one way we do it is by giving those pieces of metal or paper, or even numbers on a piece of paper, MEANING.

Sometimes we do this literally, as in “this paycheck = my phone bill” or “this $10 bill = lunch”, so if we lose the $10 bill, in our minds, we’ve just lost our lunch.

Often, the meaning is even more metaphoric. “Money is freedom of choice” or “money is love made visible” or even “money is the root of all evil.”

By heightening our awareness of our beliefs about money, we can begin to make sense of many of our emotions and behaviors when dealing with it, and by changing them, we can transform the emotional impact of money in our lives. After all, would you rather work half your life for freedom of choice or for the root of all evil?

Today’s Experiment:

1. Take a few minutes to complete the following sentences in as many different ways as you can. Aim for at least six completions per “sentence starter”.

Money is….
Money is like…
Making money is…
Making money is like…
Spending money is…
Spending money is like…

2. Go back through your list and make a note of any beliefs or metaphors that impact you emotionally, either positively or negatively.

3. For each “impact statement”, have fun exploring the implications of acting as if that belief or metaphor was 100% true. If you like, you can use these questions to get you started:

a. If someone really believed this was true, how would they probably act?
b. What would be important to them?
c. What kind of decisions would they make?
d. How emotional an issue would money be for them?
e. What kinds of emotions would they tend to attach to money?

Example: “Money is a tool”
If money is a tool, the ideal would be to keep it handy and use it often. Your skill in using it would make a tremendous difference. When you wanted something, you would look through your toolbox, only pulling out money when it seemed the best tool for the job. (You might use a screwdriver more than any other tool in your box, but it’s a lousy way to bang in a nail, i.e., money can’t buy you love.) Caring for your tools is important, and it’s a poor workman who blames his tools. Most people won’t lend out their tools, and almost any tool can be replaced.

4. Finally, choose an empowering money belief or metaphor to play with today. Leave yourself notes and reminders to act as if the belief you’ve chosen is 100% true, and allow your unconscious mind to adjust your experience accordingly.

Have fun, learn heaps, and amaze yourself with your own daring!

With love,
Michael

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