“Without a clearly defined purpose, we are just a haphazard combination of goals and non-goals, actions and non-actions meandering through space and time.” – Brad Klontz
If you’ve read my posts before you might have picked up on the fact that I ask a lot of questions and spend a lot of time thinking about why things are the way they are. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an aversion to taking anything at face value (something that drove my mother crazy!) and that, combined with a fascination for human behavior and psychology, has led me to ask a lot of questions about myself and about the world around me.
What's your purpose for money and finances?
One thing that I’ve been focusing on recently, that’s having a profound impact on my life, is the concept of doing things “on purpose and with purpose”. Figuring out what my overall goal is for my life in terms of what makes me happy, what makes me feel successful and what kind of person I want to be makes it a lot easier to determine which career, health and relationship goals contribute to that overall goal (and which don’t!) as well as which habits take me closer to it and which habits take me further away.
Having an overall purpose makes it easier to simplify your goals and get rid of anything that conflicts or doesn’t really fit into the big picture. Having fewer goals allows you to commit more energy to achieving them which lets you accomplish more and lets you spend time on the things that matter most to you which is much more rewarding. In my case, it also leads me to question what I can change or improve about myself that will help me get to my goals more easily. One thing I’ve noticed, is that the more questions I ask about actions, habits, beliefs, success and self-sabotage, the more I see how closely interconnected our different life areas actually are.
Anything or everything?
T. Harv Eker once said that, “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”; it’s a simple and yet profound statement which is very true: the way we do anything is the way we do everything but we don’t always realize it. We tend to compartmentalize our lives; thinking of our career, health, relationships, finances, community involvement as separate things that exist independently of each other. However, when you consider that our habits, passions, beliefs, strengths and areas of challenge actually underpin every aspect of our lives it makes sense that, if they’re influencing one area of our life, chances are, they’re also influencing other areas. Sometimes, these connections are easy to see such as fear or worry about one thing resulting in raised stress levels that cloud the rest of your day to day life. Sometimes though, the connections are less obvious: for example, if you have a habit of running late then this might show up as disorganization or procrastination in other areas of your life, such as finances or career.
The good thing about having these common threads running through the different aspects of our lives is that we can make significant changes in a number of areas at the same time, simply by focusing on an underpinning cause and coming up with ways to deal with it. I’ve explored how this idea connects to finance in a couple of recent posts about setting goals and being more conscious vs. unconscious with my spending. However, my most recent “a-ha” was that, if everything that I’m currently struggling with when it comes to finances is also showing up in other areas of my life, then perhaps the way to master the financial habits that are eluding me is to actually focus on building discipline in another area of my life, in the hopes that it will “migrate” over into my financial life?
The ripple effect
This might seem like twisted logic (or a total cop-out!) but, when you consider that all the positive changes I’ve made in my financial life have had positive repercussions in other areas, it actually makes sense. Plus, given that I haven’t been successful in maintaining this particular habit when it comes to finance, I don’t have anything to lose by trying a different approach but I have a lot to gain, which makes it worth a try!
One of my favourite Wayne Dyer quotes is, “I am a Human Being not a Human Doing”. It reminds me that we are so much more than our actions and that it’s important to enjoy the experience of where we are (the good and the bad) rather than to focus solely on toiling away in an effort to get somewhere else. It’s important to have goals but it’s also important to recognize that the journey is just as significant (if not more so) than the destination. For me, part of that journey is knowing when to give up on something that’s not working and approach it from a different perspective!
What do you think? Do our financial habits (or lack of financial discipline) impact other areas of our lives? Does making a change in our financial habits make it easier to make similar changes in other areas? As always, I’m interested to hear your thoughts…