Imagine that you have a big presentation to make at work. If public speaking isn’t your forte (and even if it is), you may feel nervous. And you might feel disappointed in yourself for being nervous because a confident, knowledgeable person would not be. Oh puh-leeze! Confidence and knowledge have nothing to do with it. The fact is, we are wired to want to please people. And performing in front of them makes us vulnerable to their disapproval. No wonder we get anxious!
So how to deal with this? Does the advice “don’t worry about it” or “you’ll be fine” or “think positively” help? I didn’t think so.
What if instead, we expected worry to show up? The book Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents teaches a key concept which is to expect the worry. Instead of dreading worry, learn to expect it. So when it arrives (which it inevitably will), you don’t get upset. You know it’s coming. Your internal dialogue becomes “Oh hey, there you are Worry! I’ve been expecting you. You’re welcome to stay while I do other important stuff in my life”.
And you realize that you can accomplish great things even while you feel worried or anxious. That you do not have to choose between anxiety OR success. That a wonderful state of duality is possible: to feel anxious AND be successful!
Let’s put on our personal finance lens now. After all, money is as much about psychology as anything else.
When we are out living our busy lives, we will inevitably run into things that we want to buy. And we will have impulses, because evolution has wired us that way. These impulses can leave us feeling powerless and disappointed. Our good intentions of sticking to a budget desert us.
But having an intense desire to spend money is nothing to be ashamed of. The impulse to spend is natural, normal, and always there. And that impulse doesn’t need to write your story. Next time it comes, give it this message: “Hello Spending Impulse! Yes I was expecting you, and here you are! It’s fine that you’ve arrived, and you are welcome to hang out. By the way, I’ve got other goals I’m going to accomplish.”
“But having an intense desire to spend money is nothing to be ashamed of.”
You do not have to choose between being financially responsible and feeling impulsive. You can feel impulsive AND be financially successful. And that acceptance, that kindness, toward your impulses might be just the thing to stop them from turning into action.