Money is a band-aid solution for core needs we may not even be aware of. I still can’t get over the massive popularity of get rich quick schemes and how easily people fall for the promises. Emotions, especially those that accompany personal needs, have incredible influence on our decisions about money.
We seek wealth for the fulfillment of these core needs, for satisfaction and happiness. Money offers an amazing quasi-miracle patch. The promised quick fix is a huge incentive for many of us who are desperate to address these needs.
Understanding my motivations can help me manage my decisions about wealth to create a long term resolution as opposed to a band-aid solution. Here are two major contributors:
The need for safety
Safety, comfort and the knowledge that I can provide for my family are major motivators in my quest for money. When a certain comfort level has been established, I may take my time to carefully think about my next steps in increasing my net income or value. But things get complicated when we add a certain level of anxiety to the equation.
When I do not have enough money to support myself or my family, due to any type of loss or delayed start, anxiety may develop. The level of anxiety will obviously differ from one person to the next (where it may even remain inexistent to some individuals). For the purpose of our discussion on the search for wealth, let’s look at being nervous about not being able to satisfy my need for safety.
If I am rational about my situation and I work on remedying the situation following a loss or the realization of a delayed start, chances are I will also be rational in my search for wealth. I will be content with satisfying my core need and will continue on to increased comfort with a proper set of decisions and actions.
If I am panicking about my situation, I will become irrational. My need for safety as a core need will push me to try anything and everything. This is dangerous when it comes to money because the risks are incredibly high. Marketers prey on people running with these emotions! Identifying my panic situation can at least bring me back to a logical state where I can create a solid plan of action to get back on my feet.
My background and my relationship with money may also have an effect on my behaviour in my quest for wealth. If my parents were poor and I often felt hungry as a child, chances are I will carry an anxiety about money well into a seven figure income situation. This is how Michael Masterson presents it in his explanation of happiness and wealth. Money is a band-aid in that it patches the symptoms, it allows to fill the fridge, to feed charities and to buy expensive unnecessary luxuries, but unless the core emotion behind the need is addressed, resolution will not allow satisfaction through the comfort of wealth.
The psychological need for validation
Through attention and a boost in self-esteem, we receive validation. It is easy to understand how money satisfies this need, first in the show of material possessions and second in a personal value based on income.
The cars, the mansion, the yacht, the bling, all attract attention. What a boost in self-esteem to receive compliments about the latest purchase. Salespeople are number one at satisfying this need even before the deal is sealed! Wow you’ll look great in that car… you’ll be the life of the party on your new yacht… check the rock on that finger! If I need to work on my self-confidence, money is the band-aid solution! Get rich quick schemes promise a quick fix in self-esteem, something I so desperately need… Where money can become a temporary patch, wealth, with an understanding of my need for validation, with hard work and my long-term commitment to self-fulfilment, will be the true remedy.
Work income also serves as a tool to identify personal value in many areas. Whether this is right or wrong is an entirely different discussion but the reality is that this affects our level of self-esteem if we are not already standing on solid ground. As an ambitious individual, I may never stop striving for more because I may feel like my current income is not enough to validate me as a successful individual. This is dangerous for my overall happiness and health. It is easy to lose sight of the true priorities, the important things in life and the required balance between the different aspects of my life. Understanding that income doesn’t affect my identity is a first step in feeling wealthy and happy.
Band-aid solutions are seldom advisable when long-term resolutions promise brighter futures. Money issues are particularly fragile in that emotions play a huge part in our decisions and we can easily fall into traps, self-induced or from empty promises. Understanding the source of our need for more money, dealing with the emotions at hand and searching for wealth instead of quick fix money solutions makes a world of difference on our journey.
See where you stand in your quest for wealth. Write in your journal about your key motivators. See if you require a change in direction, a need to address the core issues. Visualize a celebration of wealth in comfort, pride and happiness!