Part I of the Awakening the Millionaire Mind post defined the poverty mindset and described how it limits us in all areas of our lives. It also offered some insight into the mind and behaviors of financially successful people.
Today, we discuss how thoughts are at the core of our behaviors and actions. We then offer a simple but insightful tool to help you change the limiting thoughts that ultimately keep you poor (financially, spiritually, emotionally and socially).
T.E.A. = Thoughts -> Emotions -> Actions
It’s simple. Our behaviors do not happen in a vacuum. Our actions (behaviors) are reactions to emotions, and our emotions are produced by thoughts.
Example: To clarify these three concepts and to show how they are related to one another, let’s talk about Ana:
Ana is a 37-year old working mother of 2. Despite her busy life, Ana manages to exercise 4 to 5 times per week.
emotions -> action
In this example, Ana’s exercise regiment is the action. Action also refers to a behavior (or set of behaviors). Ana exercises religiously because she is afraid of ending up like her mother and sister, both of whom are obese and have diabetes. The fear of being obese and ill is the emotion that leads her to take action.
thoughts -> emotions
The thought of ending up obese and unhealthy makes her feel anxious because she is afraid of dying young and not being there to raise her children.
There is one more link to the T.E.A. model. Our thoughts also do not happen in a vacuum. Specific thoughts (or associations) we have about things, people, or concepts are normally formed by previous or current events. To illustrate this point, let’s go back to Ana’s story.
The reason why Ana’s thoughts about obesity is associated with death is because both her grandmother and aunt died from cardiovascular problems related to their weight. In this example, her experience of death and loss are the stimulating events causing her automatic thoughts.
On Money and Success
We can use the TEA (thoughts, emotions and actions) model to help us understand how our thoughts on money and on success (and anything else, really) impact the behaviors we ultimately take in life to pursue (or not) money and achieve (or not) success.
If you grew up thinking (or hearing) that rich people are obnoxious, classist, self-centered and demanding, there is a good chance that’s the automatic association you have to being rich. And if your family had negative experiences with well-to do individuals or with people in power, these events will, for sure, impact how you feel about being powerful and rich.
Similarly, many people avoid achieving success (although they firmly believe they want to be successful) because their automatic thoughts about being successful are negative. These thoughts, in turn, spark anxiety, or negative emotions about past difficult experiences with successful people. To avoid these negative emotions, they engage in actions or behaviors that help reduce the anxiety. Hence, they end up making decisions in life that lead to failure or unsuccessful ventures.
Fine Tuning Your Thoughts on Money and Success
There is a simple tool you can use right now to help you assess and fine tune your thoughts on money and success. Take a few minutes, a notepad and pen to answer the following questions:
- Write five words that automatically come to mind when you think about “money.”
- What early life experiences (or life events) come to mind when you think about money?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about rich people?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about poor people and poverty?
- How has debt, loans and poverty impacted your life and your family?
- Write five words that automatically come to mind when you think about “success.”
- What early life experiences (or life events) come to mind when you think about “failure”?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about successful people?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about people others might consider “losers”?
- How might being successful impact how you are seen, perceived or treated by your family of origin, your spouse or friends?
If you answered these questions, you will notice that you have a lot of powerful associations to these two concepts. Consider how these thoughts have impacted the decisions and behaviors you’ve taken and continue to take around issues of money and success, in general. To dig more into this, answer the following questions:
What emotions are you trying to avoid by not being successful?
What new thoughts or associations can you come up with the concepts of “success” and being “rich?”
What new behaviors can you incorporate into your life to help you achieve success in a specific area of your life?
Are you ready to awaken the millionaire within? It’s all up to you.