Over the past 3 years, I have spent countless hours working on the beliefs that I hold about wealth, money and earning. We create out realities through the beliefs that we carry with us, meaning that, what you believe to be true, is exactly what you will experience. I realised, when I started my business, that if I wanted to be financially abundant I had to change the way I viewed and thought about money and how I interacted with it.
So many of our common beliefs around money are simply fucked up. And because those same beliefs run rampant amongst our friends and peers, they are reinforced and fortified, making them feel like truth. One poignant belief that I have written about is how having a ‘lack attitude’ can ruin your life. But that’s just one side of the story.
I recently spent 10 days volunteering with a Orangutang conservation organisation, which gave me a ground-level education on exactly how limited belief systems around money can affect an entire organisation and everything it attracts to it. It was so interesting to see how much I have learned and grown since I first started to question and change my beliefs about money, and how much my past beliefs were mirrored in this very present experience.
Leo, who runs this organisation is a very tall, enigmatic, British man who knows how to hold the power in a room and captures his audience’s attention with his booming voice and sincere passion for the work he does. He rescues captive animals, predominantly orangutan, from illegal wildlife trafficking, and gives them a safe home, and rehabilitate them when possible. This work is necessary, heartfelt and important.
One of the first times we met, he told me. “I don’t pay myself. Nor do I pay any of my staff. All the money goes straight back in to the organisation and rescuing animals.” Immediately alarm bells went of in my head. While being so dedicated is very noble, one cannot live off passion and love for animals alone. He continued to share that he makes most of his money by lecturing and speaking at universities, which he uses to support himself and his partner and then filters on into the charity.
Here’s the first limiting belief: there is not enough money.
Meeting the other members who were integral to the core team working in the charity, it was clear to see that they all carried with them, the same attitude. An irrefutable air of not-enoughness was carried alongside them, evident in their malnourished, bony bodies; their stained and dirty clothes; and unkempt, unloving appearance. An organisation that runs on a belief system that there is not enough money in the world to support what they are doing, attracts people who already run on that very same principle. This is reality for them.
We all naturally seek out realities that reflect our beliefs. We are all, always seeking evidence for our own truth.
Here’s the next limiting belief: to do good, to love, and to be good, is to sacrifice.
Leo, in all his righteousness, sets the bar, by sacrificing his life, his income, and his comfort to ensure that the charity he runs can rescue as many animals as humanly possible. Leading by example, all his staff, employees and volunteers, who admire Leo deeply (and it would be hard to resist admiring him) follow suit, and give away every ounce of time, energy and money they have, in the name of rescuing animals.
From a psychological perspective, this is known as a martyr complex, where one will wilfully suffer in the name of love and duty, and constantly reassure themselves of their self-worth through self-sacrifice. Often this is coupled with the belief that the martyr has been singled out for behaving in this way because of exceptional ability or integrity.
While I really admire the work that Leo and his organisation are doing, I am also see the imbalance that this approach is creating. Many people believe that in order to right the many wrongs, injustices, the corruption, exploitation, and just plain cruelty that is happening in the world, we need to go to the other extreme and heal the world through sacrificing our wants, needs and comforts. This however does not create a healthy, whole and balanced world. This is simply the other side of the same coin and only adds to the imbalance that already exists.
I believe the best way to end corruption and injustice is to practice the art of finding the balance, as Buddha calls it ‘the middle way’, where everyone is giving and receiving, supported and supporting, just the perfect amount.
Which leads us to another limiting belief: worthiness or value must constantly be proven.
When people don’t value themselves, and they sacrifice themselves, they become imbalanced within themselves, which leads to people being depleted and acting from a survival mode level. When people are just surviving the quality of their work goes down, their appreciation for life is limited, and the care for their environment disappears (as I wrote about here), because they simply do not have enough love, money, kindness, care and support that they need. This supports their lack beliefs and brings us full circle back to the beginning.
I have seen these beliefs play out in many other circumstances and many other lives (including my own) and know that when we choose to change our thoughts and beliefs, even if the physical evidence is not there yet, we can change the world. I know this works, because I have done it.
I hope these words have brought to light something you might have witnessed in yourself and others, and is helpful in choosing another path. If you are interested in how to change the way you look at money and the implications your beliefs have, I’d love to invite you to join my 8 week course, Manifest More. It’s an adventure into creating and having more of the good stuff in your life, while having a positive impact in the world around you. For the month of August I am running a special offer where you get 50% off the program by using the code ‘manifestmore’ at the checkout. See here for more details.