There have been very few moments in my lifetime that definitively and completely changed the trajectory of my life. Of course, most moments in life have this capacity, but in general, when I look back over my life to date, my top life-altering moments can probably be counted on one hand.
One of the moments on this short list was the first time I was shown how my thinking created my feelings.
Until then, I was stuck in a mind that believed its own stories. I didn’t know that I could question what my mind said. I didn’t even know that my mind said things that weren’t true. I had no concept of the bondage that I was experiencing by my own hand.
In tandem to this, I really had no recognition of what an emotion really was. I only really knew if I felt bad or… not bad. I knew what intense stress, worry or fear felt like. And I knew the absence of that.
Words like happiness, peace, calm, joy, jealousy, regret, boredom, really only had a conceptual meaning to me. I knew, in my head, what they meant, but I had no idea what they felt like in my body.
Most of the time I either felt bad or numb. Or badly numb. Or numbingly bad.
Up until that point, I didn’t know that I could change my mind. That I could question my thoughts. That I could debate my beliefs. That I could find relief just by finding a new perspective. In other words, I didn’t know how to get to the root of the problem.
Until then, I had only given myself two options: live within the painful stories of my mind, or try my best to numb and avoid my pain.
The trouble with emotional anesthesia is that it just prolongs our coma. It doesn’t just numb the pain, it numbs all of our feelings. The good and the bad. Over time, we become sleepwalkers through a life of gray.
For most of my clients, ‘numb’ is a way of life. It used to be for me as well. Some of my clients smoke, take pills, play video games, watch TV, Facebook, or work themselves into a stupor. My personal vices were drinking, eating, and shopping, or maybe even a mixture of all three.
This avoidant behavior was innocently intended to be a way to escape my negative feelings. To avoid my stress. To avoid my loneliness and stave off worry. But avoidant behavior never truly relieves these problems. It can push pause on the pain, but it doesn’t help us process or recover. The real bummer about avoidant behavior is that it ends up creating the exact result we are trying to run from. When we’re talking about money, the result we’re usually trying to avoid is what we perpetuate: scarcity.
Beliefs are the cause of money issues. Symptoms of these beliefs show up as debt, over-spending, under-earning, bounced checks, overdrafts, bankruptcies, foreclosures, job losses, and many other money-related issues.
But these are all just symptoms of the problem. If we focus on the symptoms, we will never get to the real cause. If we focus on the cause, we can create a solution that will permanently eliminate the symptoms.
To get to the root of the problem we need to know what we’re feeling and what we’re thinking. And the Abundance Scale is the tool that helps us do just that.
The Abundance Scale spans from -10 being the most scarce, most awful, most desperate feeling; 0 being neutral with no emotional charge; and +10 being the most generous, the most lucky, and the most secure feeling.
This tool is not an exact science. It’s a tool to help you get to know yourself. It’s a tool designed to show you that your emotions affect your results.
My goal is to help you eliminate worry, anxiety and fear from your financial lives. This tool will help you find sources of worry, anxiety and scarcity so that you can change your thinking to create a different result.
What are you feeling right now? Scan your body and try to give your feelings a name. Are you feeling glad? Relaxed? Agitated? Depressed? Amused?
What number on the Abundance Scale would you assign to your current feeling?
Right now, I’m at about a +8. I feel happy and confident. I got up really early to write. The house is quiet. I’ve gotten most of this chapter written before the sun has even come up. I have a great cup of coffee next to me. I’m excited about the rest of today. I have a full schedule of clients, a radio interview and then I will spend the evening with friends. I love my life. It’s almost as good as it gets.
Even if you’re not thinking about money. Even if you’re not ‘feeling’ about money. Even if you’re worried because your neighbor’s guinea pig had to have an emergency operation at the vet. Or you’re happy because your niece just learned to walk. These feelings can be measured on the Abundance Scale.
Abundance and Scarcity are feelings. And there are many levels of intensity that can be measured with these two feelings. Scarcity is full of resistance. The more resistance, the more scarce you feel. It is a feeling of difficulty, struggle and stress. Abundance, on the other hand, is a feeling of harmony. The more abundance, the easier, happier, and smoother the feeling.
Even if your feelings have nothing to do ‘with money’… they affect your money.
When you’re stressed about your neighbor’s guinea pig, what do you do? Do you take actions that build wealth – or do you take actions that stop wealth? If you’re a business owner, I’m guessing that you’re not launching new products, nor are you writing brilliant marketing copy, nor are you bonding with your clients. How could you with all that guinea-pig-stress? With that kind of stress most of us become counter-productive. We check Facebook, watch TV, eat, drink, and shop. These behaviors end up costing us... big time. Stress, even when it is only neighbor-guinea-pig-stress, still costs us.
When you’re happy about your niece, what do you do? You smile. You share the story with people you come in contact with. You bubble over with enthusiasm and love. You might post something cute on your Facebook wall and get other enthusiastic people to comment. You have a little cute-fest in your life. This cute-fest may extend to your work, or it may not. You might be inspired to make a cute new product. Or you might send an email to that customer that came in with her baby a few days ago. The important difference here is that you do not engage in counter-productive or avoidant behavior when you’re feeling abundant. And over time, the more abundant you feel, the more abundance you will have in your life.