Most people who know me have heard me say, “You don’t always get what you want in life, but you always get what you expect!” It is one of the basic principles of life that before we can achieve anything we must first believe that it is possible. The Law of Expectation explains how our attitudes about money, the way we think about money, determine our financial future.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the first law of money is called the Law of Expectation:
The Law of Expectation: All individuals have a potential for prosperity and financial success when they expect and plan for them.
How Money Attitudes Affect Your Life
Some people have it right. They know they can manage their money successfully and fully enjoy making good deals,
confidently asking for a raise, making profitable investments, or even starting their own business.
But there are many more whose lack of confidence prevents them from even the easiest of financial steps.
- They never try to negotiate a price because it wouldn’t do them any good anyhow (they think).
- They never ask for a raise because they are afraid they might get fired.
- Sometimes they don’t even learn to balance their own checkbooks because, they say, “I’m just not good with numbers.”
And the truth is that while one person is living payday to payday, always in desperate straits because of poor money management, his or her next door neighbor is abundantly successful. And they are surprisingly similar in any way you look at them except one.
Their IQ’s may be roughly the same. They may have a similar education and may have made similar grades in school. They come from similar backgrounds. They may even work for the same employer. But one expects to be poor, or at best to struggle with money, and the other expects to do well. In each case they are right.
Consequences of Our Money Thoughts
Thomas Stanley and William Danko in their best selling book, The Millionaire Next Door, describe the consequences that grow out of these contrasting attitudes about money. As they discovered, many of the millions of people who have become millionaires over the last few decades are not living the lifestyle of the “rich and famous.”
Instead, they are living in middle class neighborhoods, driving Plymouths and Fords, and shopping at WalMart. They may work beside you on the job and attend church with you on Sunday.
Even more important, in many cases they may be earning about the same salary as some of their neighbors who are barely surviving financially. How is it possible? Financially successful people are different from others in one important way—the way they think about money.
Our subconscious mind controls our behavior, moving us in the direction of our expectations and in this case relative to the way we think about money.
Our subconscious mind controls our behavior, moving us in the direction of our expectations and in this case relative to the way we think about money. Note carefully, it is not in the direction of our wants or wishes but of our expectations This is what the Law of Expectation is all about.
The “fabulous” Suzy Orman tells about a time when she began to let herself feel she was the victim of some unfortunate circumstances. During that time she experienced a lot of car trouble, further aggravating her financial difficulties.
Looking back later, she concluded that she had unwittingly contributed to those problems. When she stopped feeling poor and chose to start feeling powerful again she no longer had so many of those undesirable auto and other expenses.
If you are not expecting to be as successful as you would like, think carefully about the limitations you are placing on yourself due to your attitudes about money. Try to understand why you think about money the way you do.
Ask yourself some hard questions:
- Did you just adopt your attitudes about money from others around you?
- Did you have some childhood experiences that caused you to think you were poor so you have learned to think of yourself that way?
- Do you think you don’t deserve to be successful?
- Do you think you are not smart enough or sufficiently educated to earn enough money to get ahead?
So what must you do first if you want to become prosperous, if you truly want to pursue financial success? Realize that nothing is more important than your attitudes about money, the normal way you think about money, and consciously adopt a positive expectation of success.
To some the Law of Expectation may seem elementary and to others simplistic. But the fact is that most people are to some degree hindered by limitations caused by the way they think about money. Before you go any further give some serious thought to your own attitudes about money. Decide now to change your expectations, your attitudes, if they are not helpful in any way.
Can Attitudes About Money Change?
We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose our attitude toward them. Here is a critically important insight into the working of the human mind. Attitudes are no more or less than thought habits; we can change attitudes like we change any other habit, by substitution and rehearsal of a new truth.
Attitudes are no more or less than thought habits; we can change attitudes like we change any other habit, by substitution and rehearsal of a new truth.
You have probably heard of Dr. Emile Coue, the doctor who discovered some years ago that his patients responded better to treatment when he asked them to repeatedly say to themselves, “Every day in every way I am getting better and better.“
If we discover that negative attitudes about money are holding us back we can use the same technique to change our thinking. We can repeat to ourselves, “Every day in every way I am becoming more successful with my money.”
There is one affirmation that speaks directly to our main thought, however, so I want to introduce it here. “I am good with money.”
If you are unfamiliar with using affirmations you may feel uncomfortable with the present tense of what you see as only a potential quality but affirmations should be seen as tools to train your mind. You can begin now to train your mind to accept the new you, a person who is really effective in reaching worthwhile financial goals.
Begin now. Repeat several times a day, “I am good with money.”
Many times I’ve heard people say, “I’ve never been good with money.’ Perhaps you’ve never said that, but how many say things like, “I can’t afford to go” or “I’ll probably die in the poor house.” Few people know that your inner self will see that you become what you believe you are, for better or worse.
And remember, your subconscious mind doesn’t consider whether you want something or dislike it, it just makes sure you get what you expect. Make sure that your attitudes about money are positive. Train your own mind to believe that you are good with money and expect to be prosperous.
Your subconscious mind doesn’t consider whether you want something or dislike it, it just makes sure you get what you expect….Train your mind to believe that you expect to be prosperous.
None of the limitations suggested by the circumstances mentioned earlier have any great validity. You don’t have to be exceptionally smart, well educated or even lucky to become financially successful.
Once you get past thinking these external factors are preventing you from becoming prosperous you are well on your way. But in addition to expecting prosperity mentally, you also have to make specific plans for success. As you will see, this step is actually a part of the expectations experience.
You Don’t Expect Without a Plan
Expectations and planning are closely linked. When you expect to do something (say take a vacation) you automatically start planning for it. If you don’t start planning, it is a dead giveaway that you don’t really expect to do it! And when you expect the plan to be carried out, you begin acting on that plan almost immediately.
It is no harder to become financially successful than it is to learn how to drive a car. But it is probably no easier either! Still, only a few people ever take the same amount of time they invested in learning to drive a car to learn how to successfully manage their money.
Think about how you learned to drive. When you decided that you would do it, your first step was to plan how to go about learning.
You checked out the laws that regulated it. You had to choose whether to take a driver’s education class or get instruction from a parent or friend. And after getting all the relevant questions answered you made some choices and laid out some plans. Finally you put your plan into action and invested some time carrying out that plan.
It is no harder to become financially successful than it is to learn how to drive a car. But it is probably no easier either!
The process of becoming successful with money is very much the same as learning to drive. This is true when you are only thinking primarily about getting to where you can easily meet all your obligations and live at peace, absent the frustrations associated with payday to payday living. This is also true if you are thinking about getting to that magical one million dollar net worth.
Once you realize that you could become successful with money, you must make the decision to do so and take action. You must learn the rules. You must design an effective plan. And finally you must put your plan into practice, patiently carrying it out until you reach your goal.
Let your personal plan develop slowly over the next few months as you learn more, but let it begin to take shape now. Reflect regularly on your situation financially.
Think about your strengths. There are probably more of them than you are aware of now. Think about areas you are not satisfied with at this time. Think about where you would like to be a few years from now. Think about the changes that would have to be made for your dreams to become possible.
Can Expectation Lead You to Success?
Do you want to be successful with money or you just want to read about it? There is a reason why, when I decided to start a newsletter about financial success, I also decided to call it the Success With Money Action Newsletter. It is because I know, and you do too, that there is no success without action.
One way you can help assure that you are among the successful people and not the observers is to move from thinking to doing by deciding right now to pick up a pen and begin writing. In moving from thought to action it is helpful to set up a notebook or file folder system where you can collect your personal thoughts and plans. It doesn't matter how you do it, but writing will really help you move ahead.
People who study human motivation have long observed and wrote about the great difference between successful people and those who just get by as being divided by planning and not planning.
’Successful people set out definite goals for themselves. Others don't. But the real kicker is that those who write out their goals and plans outperform non-writers by as much as a hundred times!
Successful people set out definite goals for themselves. Others don't. But the real kicker is that those who write out their goals and plans outperform non-writers by as much as a hundred times! Get that pen and start writing.
Describe your attitudes about money. Write out your thinking about your strengths, your problems areas, and your dreams. Gather information about your finances as they are now, your assets, your liabilities, the way you are presently spending your money and your sources of money.
Most important, as you continue your work month by month write down the progress you are making in improving your situation and the reasons you are or are not making the progress you want. Every month write down one or more steps you will take in the next month to become more successful with your money.
Let Your Attitude Move You Ahead
I am thankful for this opportunity to share with you some of the valuable insights I have incorporated into the first law of money, The Law of Expectation. Learning how to think about money is the essential beginning of an incredible journey.
However, understanding your attitudes about money is only the beginning. I encourage you to become acquainted with all of the Ten Laws of Money and their application to your life.