The desire to be rich is a dream almost all of us have at one time or another.
But if you really want to be rich, it’s critical that you first change the way you think about money.
What concrete steps can you take to start the process of changing your mind about money? First, it is crucial to make a switch, to snap out of your currently held view of what is right and what is wrong regarding money. Without that initial switch, you will not be able to see your way through to another way of being.
No matter how many get-rich books you read or prosperity workshops you attend, if you don’t change your underlying beliefs, your investment of time and money will be wasted. You will never be rich, even if somebody were to walk up to you right this minute and hand you a million dollars. It would all be gone soon enough.
In other words, the process has to be organic — and it has to start from within. But you can’t just wake up one morning and decide to snap out of your old way of thinking. You have to prepare yourself to make the switch.
It’s OK to be the Boss
If you’re like most people in the helping, healing and creative professions (myself definitely included), the thought of telling people what to do, actually controlling another human being, repels you. Each individual, in your mind, is a sovereign entity, entitled to his or her own choices. Who are you to meddle in someone else’s existence in such an intrusive way? Who are you to be bossing people around?
But wait a minute. If you look a little closer at yourself, you may just find that you have some boss-like characteristics that you are hiding from the rest of the world, even from yourself.
Think about it: You are, in fact, striving to make an impact on others through your chosen profession or path in life. You want to touch people in some way. You have no problem allowing others to depend on you for their education, safety, healing, insight, entertainment or meaning. But when it comes to money, you consistently make yourself dependent on somebody else. You consistently make somebody else the boss.
You refuse to make other people dependent on you for their money, even though this would create new opportunities for you, expand your horizons, and possibly make you more money. Why is that? Why are you more comfortable with a boss than as a boss?
Don’t Fear Responsibility
For years, I had trouble having a housekeeper work in my home. Requesting another human being to do my laundry made me feel like a slave owner or tyrant. Who was I to boss somebody else around? When I made my own switch, however, I started to see things differently.
By providing another human being with a job, I was, perhaps, doing her a favor. I now enjoy hiring people to work for me at home and in my business. Telling other people what to do is another way of taking responsibility for them.
It is this responsibility that you are most afraid of. You’re putting yourself into a submissive position so that you have an excuse not to take responsibility.
Why are you so afraid of being responsible for another human being? Because you care. You and I and all of the other caring people out there are afraid that by becoming bosses we will not care anymore. Bosses today, especially in larger corporations, have a reputation for caring more about the bottom line than about their underlings. You do not want to be uncaring; therefore, you keep yourself from being a boss.
But not all bosses are bad, are they? And who better than you to be a boss? It is precisely because you do not have a burning desire to control other people that you would probably make a better boss than most.
Humans and Hierarchy
You tell yourself you don’t want to take precious moments away from your “true mission” to spend time telling other people what to do, but that’s just an excuse. By putting yourself in a leadership position, you’ll ultimately give yourself more freedom. By letting other people take care of some of the details for you, you’ll have more time to pursue your passion.
By marshalling the exponential power of other people working together, you can make an even larger positive impact in the world.
Hierarchical structures are a part of human society like roots and branches are parts of trees. Some will lead; some will follow. The choice is yours: Do you want to follow the lead of somebody whose sole purpose is profit or would you rather become a leader and offer a bigger purpose to those who follow you?
It’s OK to be the boss. Believe me.
Now, go a little bit deeper. Take a closer look at your relationship to the bosses in your life (past or present) and focus on the underlying dynamic. What you will see, ultimately, is control. If you look closely enough at any relationship, you will find control at its root. This is normal.
It is important to understand that wanting to control other people is part of being human. There is no way around it. When you are in any relationship with another person, for no matter how short a period of time or how fleeting the circumstances, you are trying to control him and he is trying to control you. If the person is a friend, you do things so she’ll like you. If the person is a customer, you do things so he’ll buy. If the person is an employee, you do things to ensure her compliance. If the person is a lover, you do things so he’ll love you.
All relationships involve control or attempts to control. You, however, have been conditioned your entire life to fight against the concept of control. Control, you are told, is the enemy. You live in the land of the free and the home of those dedicated to fighting control.
This philosophy seeps into every aspect of your life. You refuse to admit that control has its proper place in your life. So, like an adolescent, you rebel. You rebel against being controlled, complaining bitterly about your bosses. And you rebel against controlling others, claiming you do not wish to place others in submissive positions.
Make no mistake about it, though. There is no escape from control while you are still alive and relating to other people in any capacity. Control is indigenous to human beings. When you finally come to terms with this, you will be better equipped to deal with control in a calm, rational way. You can strip the emotion and rebellion from the equation and see things as they are. And at that point you will be able to deal more effectively with money and control issues arising from money.
You are faced with two choices: Either you grow up and take control of your own life, in addition to controlling parts of other peoples’ lives in a mature and responsible way, or you stagnate in a role of dependence and adolescence because you refuse to take control.
Many books have been written that feature extensive interviews with millionaires. The idea behind these books is that you, the reader, will benefit by exploring the thoughts and habits of these individuals and that perhaps you will be able to duplicate them yourself one day.
This is a fine idea, but of course it will only work if you first make the switch to a new way of thinking. No amount of superficial imitation will change your belief system. The best of these books, such as Think and Grow Rich, explore deeper issues as well as external habits.
I’m a big believer in making changes that start from the inside. But there are a few outer habits explored in such books that you can begin practicing right away and that may indeed help push you toward making a switch of your own. One of the most important of these habits is discipline.
Do You Have the Self-Discipline to be Rich?
Are you a go-with-the-flow kind of person? Do you find yourself saying, “The Universe will provide for me?” Are you content to let much of life slide by and only take a disciplined approach to your goals when it’s absolutely necessary?
Guess what? This is not the ideal philosophy if you’re trying to make the switch to being rich. Sure, it sounds more artistic, organic and romantic to just go with the flow, but there will come a time in your life when a choice must be made: to go with the flow or to create a new flow entirely.
The specific goal itself, in fact, is almost arbitrary. It is infinitely more important to have a goal (some goal, any goal) than it is to have the right goal. Once you decide upon a goal, the trick then is to apply yourself with intensity and focus.
Even if you are an extremely go-with-the-flow type of person, this one new ingredient — discipline — will give you a much better chance at eventually making the switch to being rich. In fact, one of the telltale signs of an individual who has already made the switch is a sense of focus and purpose, which is displayed to the outside world through discipline.
Perhaps it is time to get focused. It is time to choose one of the threads that has been woven into the fabric of your life and to just plain run with it. What I’m saying is that you need to choose a specific, narrow path even if this feels unnatural to you at first.
Lift Others Up
One of the telltale signs of a person who has made the switch is a strong desire to lift up, inspire and enrich other people. It happens every time. There is a natural tendency for people to want to bring others to their own levels, and someone who makes the switch to being rich enters a level of infinite possibilities. When you change the way your mind works, you realize that anybody else can do the same thing.
Do you sometimes see another person who you judge to be richer than you and then subconsciously wish to hold them back? Perhaps you see someone driving an expensive car and you think, “She doesn’t deserve it.” Or you think, “He must have done something to rip off other people in order to afford such a huge house.”
If you think thoughts such as these, you are feeding your mind the information it needs to stay inside the moneyless bubble. Self-trusting people inspire self-trust in others. And truly rich people wish riches on others, even on people who seemingly already have plenty of money.
One strangely effective way to open yourself to greater wealth is to be generous toward people who, in your mind, already have more than you do. It is wonderful to give to the poor, and I highly recommend it. But try giving to the rich sometime and see what happens.
Each person who moves toward success in life eventually wants to give something back to those who have helped her along the way. Develop your own giving back mentality now, even before you begin to think of yourself as rich, and this will help you make the switch that much faster.
Steve Capellini is a consultant to the massage and spa industries, and the author of Make the Switch to Being Rich, The Royal Treatment, The Massage Therapy Career Guide and Massage for Dummies. He lives in Florida, and may be contacted through his website, royaltreatment.com. This article was adapted from his book, Make the Switch to Being Rich (Royal T Press).