Our money stories can sometimes be full of negative thoughts. However, these thoughts don’t always have to remain that way. Amanda Steinberg, author of WORTH IT shares how to get out of our head and rewrite our narratives.
Your money story was probably written unconsciously, but you can rewrite it wide awake. That’s the cool and amazing thing. You’re not locked in. Money identities can shift without catastrophe. You can create healthy and positive money stories right now. You can pass them down to your children. The change can start with you. We just need to look at the thoughts and ideas that motivate us. In fact, your mental health hinges on your ability not just to find meaning in the things that happen to you, but also to integrate them into the ongoing story of your life.
Studies conducted at Northwestern University have shown that people who can interpret negative events in relatively positive terms—or describe what lessons they learned from struggles—tend to have higher self-esteem, an optimistic outlook, and a sense of being more in control of their lives and environment. Sometimes it’s just a matter of brainwashing yourself—the way I did by telling myself that I was a “saver” every time I dropped a coin in my kitchen jar. They’re called story prompts, little edits that you make to negative narratives in your mind to change your thinking.
Research that the University of Virginia published in 2014 found that minority and low-income students at risk of dropping out—because they felt less intelligent and competent than their well-heeled white peers—made dramatic academic and social U-turns after watching “instructional” videos presenting evidence that many students enter college feeling that way, but almost always go on to succeed after a few months by working conscientiously, and not being afraid to make mistakes or to ask for extra help. The power of suggestion was all they needed to transform self-defeating “stories” into personal triumphs.
The same can be true for you. It’s powerful to see what’s been lurking behind your thoughts about money and what’s been driving many of your financial decisions. Make sure your money story is working for you, not against you. But it takes a little effort.
Here are more techniques of successful people.