I just got rich quick.
The Mind-Made Prison by Mateo Tabatabai is truly a remarkable book. I’d love to pick Mateo’s brain on a podcast at some point (I do not have a podcast as of writing this, but interviewing Mateo is a great reason to start one).
It’s not a book for someone who just wants to read their way to transformation. It is full of hands-on exercises. Sometimes it’s tempting to skip the exercises, but they are the most valuable part of the book.
Let me share one with you. This exercise is a list of my rules pertaining to wealth. In other words, what has to happen in order for me to feel wealthy.
Here’s what I originally wrote:
-Being able to save money
-Being able to support myself (rent, car/insurance, etc.)
-Being able to travel freely
-Being able to build a life that reflects my heart
Next, I took a close look at those rules, and asked: are these rules increasing or decreasing the quality of my life? Is it possible for me to feel wealthy with these rules in place?
Down the list:
-Steady income: Ha. Well, technically, I’ve had money coming in every month since the publication of my first book. I did not say how much my steady income had to be, so this rule does not currently take away from my ability to feel wealthy. Sweet.
Even still, what if no one buys my book next month and I don’t make any money? Then all of a sudden, I’ll be coming up short again. So this rule could potentially benefit from a slight adjustment.
-Being able to save money. This rule decreases the quality of my life significantly, because saving money is one of my greatest challenges. If I have to save money to feel wealthy, I am shit out of luck at the moment. This rule is dysfunctional for me at this time.
-Being able to support myself (rent, car/insurance, etc.): Completely out of reach right now. If I hold onto this rule, it is impossible for me to feel wealthy at this point in my life.
-Being able to give to others freely: There are more ways to give than just financially. I can focus on giving others more of my time, attention, and service. I can definitely up my game and add more value to other people’s lives without spending a cent. Wealth is about more than money. Wealth is abundance and sharing. This rule is a keeper.
-Being able to travel freely: Well, I may not be able to go to distant countries at the moment, but I could, you know, actually go outside and see my own city more. Pining to travel the globe seems frivolous when I have forgotten to be thankful for where I’m at. I can get out more and travel freely here, ground myself in gratitude, and embrace opportunities to go elsewhere as my soul expands. Another keeper.
-Create a life that reflects my heart: Yeah, I have that hippie-vision ideal of a hybrid-nomadic tribe. I have been meeting others lately with the same vision. Maybe we’ll make it happen one day. But who knows how long that will take? Waiting for my perfect vision to manifest before I can feel wealthy sounds like lunacy to me.
How can I make my life in the here and now be more reflective of my heart? Easy: spend more time with others. Actually have people over (I’ve locked myself away like Rapunzel, except my hair is short). Get involved with aspects of the community that interest me and utilize my skills (I do have 200 hours of volunteer work to do, after all). Decorate more authentically (my living space, and the way I express myself through hygiene and fashion). There are ways to make this work. There are ways to feel happier where I’m at. This rule works for me.
After looking at my rules, the last part of the exercise involves throwing away or changing what’s not working.
So, here are my new rules for wealth:
-Do something every day that could potentially create present or future streams of income.
-Have a roof over my head, a bed/couch/floor to sleep on and the physical ability to move from one place to another (so if I ended up paralyzed and on the streets and still wanted to feel wealthy, I’d have to change my rules; will cross that bridge if I come to it).
-Being able to give my time, love, and attention to others.
-Being able to go out and spend time in the world, and appreciate my humble city of Lansing, MI.
-Being able to let my life reflect my heart, wherever I may be.
BAM! Guess who just got fucking wealthy.
Hey, so this book gets a happy climax after all.
Is this what it means to overcome financial failure? Simply change the rules of what financial failure means?
Maybe that sounds like cheating. But here’s why it works. See, you and I are much more likely to generate wealth if we already feel wealthy. You can call it the Law of Attraction, or just look at it as our attitudes and beliefs determining what we look for and find in life. However you look at it, how many people do you think become wealthy with an attitude of scarcity?
Maybe by winning the lottery. But then they aren’t truly wealthy; they just have lots of money. Then the money disappears. Poof. The external circumstances snap back to align with the internal perception.
If you want a lot of money, good luck attracting it if you feel and act poor and desolate. Feel and act wealthy, and see what happens.
And in order to do that, pick apart your own beliefs and rules. Meet yourself where you’re at. Make your definition of wealth match your current station in life. Then, laugh and grow rich.
I don’t know if you should listen to me. I still have that minimum five dollars in my savings account.
But tonight, as I played with my beliefs about wealth, I actually cried. Like, those happy tears of revelation that come when you’ve solved a grand, old mystery about yourself.
So maybe this is big.
Maybe it is not.
I do not know.
What I know? I like how it feels to perceive myself as wealthy a lot more than how it feels to see myself as a financial failure.
So I am going for it. Yee-haw.