It’s amazing that so many people have the opportunity to go to school these days and it’s clear the positive impact education has had on our society. People have a better standard of living; they live longer and they have access to resources like never before.
There is a problem though. Our education system isn’t teaching us how to deal with stress, be happier or fulfilled. Part of the problem is our education system was designed to support the needs of the industrial revolution. Namely – we needed people to obediently follow instructions, read and write instructions, know facts that could be applied to make the whole system go faster. And, as people used to work in the fields where work was more seasonal, we needed to ensure people rocked up day after day.
Our whole system has been designed around this need, from what we’re taught to how we’re taught it.
Created for Conformity
We are told that if we work hard, we’ll progress in a job, which will lead to finances, which will allow us to buy stuff. These ‘things’ will define who we are, our level of success and this, in turn, will make us happy. Knuckle down, nose to the grindstone, sacrifice now to reap the rewards in the future.
This is successful – up to a point. The issue is that once our basic needs are met, the return we get from status, symbols of that status and ‘stuff’ diminishes rapidly. The immediate feeling we get from a win is short-lived and it’s not long before we’re looking for the next achievement that will get us our next fix – except this time it will be the last time – or so we tell ourselves – and so the cycle goes but it never leads to fulfilment.
We strive harder, compare ourselves to others because it’s how we’ve been shown to define who we are. And to be an upstanding member of society, or successful, we should want these things too. It an exhausting invisible hamster wheel that leads us to burn-out, existential angst and mental illness. We’re only just getting on board with the reality that this isn’t a weakness (especially if you’re a guy).
We’ve been sold the idea that our security, satisfaction, meaning and identity comes from the job we do, certificates about facts remembered and the stuff we have. I’m not saying our education system is terrible, only that the focus is weighted too much on ‘what to think’ rather than an emphasis on ‘How to think’ and how to ‘be’. The first step to getting out of a trap
The first step to getting out of a trap is to realise you’re in one.
Even though a lifetime of assimilating, people are realising that more stuff really isn’t making them happy. They realise they’ve not learnt about a great many things which contribute to happiness, least of which themselves. We all have dreams about the future and the story we want to tell, but we’re not encouraged to decide what’s right or wrong for us, only to conform. We’re not taught about relationships, deep conversations, our emotions, how to manage time and money, how to invest for the future and where happiness really comes from, or how capable and powerful we really are.
I know people are looking for a better answer. They’ve read about them in self-help books but they’re not yet taking significant action, because they’re fighting against a lifetime of indoctrination about how success is measured, believing that conformity = safety and investing in yourself is wrong or selfish.
As a life coach, I hear comments like:
‘I want to make changes to my life, but I’m not ready [financially]…
Sometimes it’s followed by:
‘I just want to put the intention out there… or ‘Next year’.. or ‘In the future, the timing isn’t right’ or ‘I don’t have time right now’
Money is often the first place where people lose connection to their true self and then settle into a conformed life which is considerably less than their dreams.We’ll happily spend ‘£30,000 on a car but not invest ‘£10,000 to create the life of our dreams, all because of how we’ve been taught to think at school, which was designed for a world we no longer live in.
Calling bullshit on your thinking
I’m going to be provocative and call bullshit on your thinking and challenge you to get in touch with your deeper wisdom. I’m going to point to something different and hope you’re not looking at my finger. When it comes to time – I want you to realise
You’re always on your own time.
You can’t make it, find it, save it – you can only take it and spend it. It’s a priority call. You need to learn to put your own oxygen mask on first and the best day is always the one you’re in.
When it comes to your ideas about yourself and money, to say one ‘can’t’ or ‘doesn’t know how’ is really a way of distracting from the real reasons you’re not taking action.
Acknowledging the real reasons for not doing anything is fundamental to developing our capacity to grow and create.
What we really mean is something like,
‘I don’t want to take the action to produce it or ‘I don’t want to take on debt’
Usually, because it’s uncomfortable or we’re afraid of what that might mean. The truth is that it is uncomfortable and that’s because we’ve never been shown how to think – we’re conforming and doubting ourselves!
What we’re really saying is,
‘I am uncomfortable investing in myself.’
Without realising it, most people have decided that they are a high-risk investment so we make excuses up about another time. Does anyone really believe they’re going to wake up one day and suddenly realise they’re worth investing in? We’ve been educated to conform and think a certain way so we don’t trust ourselves and then we validate this lack of trust by not taking action to prove otherwise. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that keeps us locked into a habitual way of thinking and seeing the world.
Some people realise that they need to take new action to change their life but they’re saying they don’t want to take on debt to create their perfect life. We’re not taught about money so our ideas about debt are wrong.
Let me draw a distinction – there is a huge difference between –
Debt to buy an asset -v- Debt to buy a liability.
Investing in an asset is wise, it creates the possibility for more, whereas a liability investment, (TV’s, holidays, car’s), only reduces in value.
Perhaps you have a mortgage and, the chances are, you borrowed money from a bank. You did this because you considered the purchase an asset. For the entire length of the mortgage period you have ‘debt’, but it was used for investing and you didn’t get uncomfortable about it. When you consider ‘debt’ from this perspective you see it as an investment, and it doesn’t bother you.
The difference is your thinking
You probably think differently about a mortgage because you also know people who have a mortgage and your parents also had mortgages. What you might be realising is that you’ve been conditioned to think a certain way about investing for the future, where your returns will come from and debt. That’s why you’ll buy the car before investing in yourself.
Consider this, we have no problem with companies taking on debt. In fact, it is often the most sensible solution for accelerating the growth of a company. I once worked for a business that owed ‘£800m to the bank!
When you consider that people compete for debt in the form of investors buying shares in their company on shows like Dragon’s Den, you now realise the difference is in your thinking. This is not investment advice, but an invitation to realise that because of how you’ve been taught to think about success, money and a great many other things, you’re holding yourself back from your dream life.
You really are only 6 inches away from everything you want in life and the first step to having it often comes down to deciding
Are you an asset or a liability
If you decided your an asset worth investing in and you’d like to explore reaching your highest level of potential and creating the life you really want then connect and lets have a conversation.