If I told you that the majority of the population lives in fear would you believe me? Fear is an unpleasant emotion that arises because of a threat from something or someone which leads to pain. The fear I am referring to comes in the form of the scarcity mindset, the fear that we will not have enough, the fear that we have to continuously protect what we have or we will lose it. It is this fear that wakes us up in the morning and compels us to take action in the world. Fear is not all bad it can motivate us into positive action, but too much can be debilitating. Bruce Lipton, the author of Biology of Belief, points out that survival of the human body requires both growth and protection. There must be a balance between these two. Our nature is to be in a state of growth. There is a need for protection only when we face of threats, predators. The human body can manage with short-term stress, but it does not do well with extended periods of stress. With extended periods of stress, the flight or fight response kicks into high gear and the body releases a chemical cocktail including adrenaline and cortisol. Persistently high levels of these chemicals cause havoc on the body.
We may not have to run from wild tigers and bears and we are fortunate enough to live in a country where we are not under the constant threat of bombs and explosions. However, we do have one threat and we have been living with this for so long that our system has found interesting ways to cope. These ways include hypertension, cholesterol, weight gain and coronary disease. Yes, that threat is stress. The main cause of this stress is scarcity. Every economic and financial model is built on the premise of scarcity. Scarcity is the driving force of competition and the current make up of our economic structure and money is what we use to allocate scarce resources. Money is the manifestation of scarcity. In the scarcity model people connect and related through two basic activities: earning and spending of money. Human beings are the only species that need money to survive. Animals, birds, insects, fishes and plants manage to exist and thrive without it. Today the majority of the population is in perpetual motion of earning and spending. Money governs the daily activities of life and it causes a lot of stress, especially when the amount of money earned is less that the amount of money that is spent.
As I mentioned in a previous post the majority of society is at the survival stage of financial success. This means having a source of income (earning) is important. To meet the basic necessities of life, food, clothes, cars, home, bills requires one to have a source of income, aka a job. If you are not one of the lucky ones that have a job that you love doing, then you’re mostly likely miserable. The 2013, The Gallup poll reported that 87% of the world wide employees were not engaged at work. Employees were either sleepwalking through (not engaged) their day or undermining their work and that of others (actively disengaged employees).
So we have evidence that people are not happy at work. We also have evidence that more deaths resulting from heart attacks occur on a Monday. Add these two facts together and we can summarize that people are not happy at work and the stress of it all is killing them.
While it might be physically easy to leave a stressful job, you just have to hand in your resignation. That’s the easy part. The hard part is the impact it has on your finances. Leaving your job can put you and your family in jeopardy. When mortgages can’t be paid, when car payments are late and when you find it hard to put nutritious food on the table this will lead to a different kind of stress. Basically, you’re dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. Staying in a job you hate causes stress, leaving also causes stress. What’s a person to do?
I don’t have all the answers (not yet anyway) but I do know one thing, we can reframe the situation. To reduce our stress about money, we can make a financial plan and map out our lives in terms of our earning and spending. This will help us to put our working life into perspective. If it is we really do hate our jobs but it pays well, we can better tolerate it if we know that it will facilitate our life goals and objectives for ourselves and our families. If having this job means you can pay your mortgage, send your kids to school and take a vacation once a year, then you will do it with less animosity and perhaps try to find a way to make it more enjoyable. When you don’t have a plan and you have a lot of pressure at work and there is no big picture to guide you and put things into perspective then the stress factor is increased. Will having a financial plan take away the annoying boss or coworkers, or the other stresses at work, it will not, but it will give you a different outlook which will allow you to deal with the stresses a little better. A lot of times we can change situations just by how we perceive them.
A financial plan is essentially a life plan and when you have focus and objectives to meet the path seems to be clearer. The actions necessary to get there are done with more understanding and clarity. Many people feel that having a plan is restrictive, but if we reframe it and see the plan as a guide and not a dictator then we will be more apt to follow it. We don’t have to follow it rigidly, but generally move in the direction of the plan. In this way we can have a less stressful view of working and having a financial plan, should be seen as something that is empowering to us rather than something that is restraining. In the end the old saying your health is your wealth is true! Protect your health (your wealth) by having a financial plan and actively work towards your objectives. The world is what it is at the moment and until things change we have to make the best of what we have and where we are right now. Take the actions that would allow us to move forward and be stronger emotionally and financially.
If you don’t have a financial plan get one ASAP, your life literally depends on it!
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