by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier
As a kid, I remember one of the corner stores in my neighborhood had this beautiful mural. It had an image of a Bible, a cross and a little boy and girl with the caption, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I would see this image daily. So much so, that it became a fixture in my mind. Although I was too young to grasp its meaning at the time. Growing up in an impoverished neighborhood rampant with drugs, I reasoned it to mean stay away from drugs, for it can kill your brain cells.
As an adult, I’ve come to understand that the mind is the most powerful force in the universe. Everything that we see from the tall skyscraper buildings, to the computer I type on as I write, to the house I live in, to the car I drive, and everything in between originated in someone’s mind. Imagine if these magnificent individuals with these creative minds wasted their thoughts and creativity. Imagine if these individuals never allowed their minds and creativity to grow because of fear, abuse, laziness, neglect, self doubt, ignorance, self-pity, or circumstances, we wouldn’t have experienced, enjoyed and marveled at some of the world’s greatest creations. Imagine if you and I didn’t put our minds to good use for the betterment of us and our families, how stifled we’d be.
The mind is the most powerful force in the universe. Money is perhaps the greatest influencer in the universe. Money isn’t everything. But everything appears to cost money. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “money isn’t everything, but in terms of importance, it ranks right up there with oxygen.” The tall skyscraper building, the computer I type on as I write, the house I live in and the car I drive may have originated in someone’s mind, but it cost money to create. It costs money for us to enjoy. It costs money for us to maintain and extend its usefulness.
To further delve into the power of the mind and the impressions and influences on the mind, I asked psychiatric nurse Meghan Degregory to offer some insight.
“On the 4th of July this year, our dog, Roxie, had a minor meltdown. She slinked under our bed and hid all night. She was not a fan of the loud noises that come with fireworks. She came to us as a rescue dog last April. When she arrived at our home, it was clear she’d experienced some form of trauma. There was a period of time that she would not go outdoors for any reason unless we carried her out. The veterinary technician told me that it was my job to help her build her confidence and, hopefully, as time went on, she would get used to the world around her. It became my mission to help her along this path. In learning about her and in my experience with mental health as a psych nurse for nearly two decades, I really gained a great deal of insight into this. Building our dog’s confidence was a huge task. It required much patience, but it was so worth it. She now has a lot less trouble doing new things and bounces back quicker when she runs into problems that trigger her fear-based responses.”
“In humans, when one has a history of woundedness, they may have a wounded response to a situation. For instance, if a person has a history of abuse, they may expect a glare rather than kind eyes from a person. However, when they experience compassion in the eyes of another rather than judgment or disgust, their brain may register the experience as novel and respond in-kind. When this happens, it can trigger a dramatic positive change in one’s processing of things. For, as a person continues to experience favorable treatment and interactions with others, there will be positive change in one’s mindset because of our brain’s ability to adapt. This adaptation only happens when exposed to another response. An alternate reality, if you will.”
“People often gain their money-views in a similar fashion. What one learns as a child when it comes to financial wellness is what one will carry into adulthood—if patterns are not changed. This is why counsel, whether psychological or financial, can be so beneficial. It presents one with an alternate viewpoint and allows for growth. I’d encourage anyone interested in personal growth to find a good, solid professional to learn from whether it be in print or a face-to-face session.”
“When one is used to disappointment, lack, and trauma, they have a choice to continue on with hope or become defeated and slink through life in a manner that is not ideal or life-giving and possibly even perpetuating the problem in sharing it with their children. It can be easy to choose the latter and if that is the choice, it is a challenge to change the pattern. However, our brains are amazing organs. They are so adaptable and really do respond to exposure to new, positive ways of being. Human beings really can adjust their responses to stress and trauma to a new, more functional way of living.”
Damon here: I started off the article detailing the mind is the most powerful force in the universe. Meghan then detailed how negative life experiences can aid in both human beings and animals completely isolating themselves from the world, robbing them of reaching their full potential and living a fulfilling life. I wanted to explore the mindset because I know that personal finance is 80 percent personal (mental) and only 20 percent finance (math).
It is our unique experiences that shape how we think. It is our thinking, attitude, and behaviors towards life that magnifies how we earn, manage and spend money. In order to get our money right, we have to first get our mind right. If you’re struggling to get ahead financially, you have to get to the crux of the problem. It’s all mental. What is it that makes us consistently look for the easy road as opposed to working hard? What is it that causes us to spend money to fill an emotional void? What is it that causes us to think the little man will never get ahead?
The mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is money!
(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached @ 412-216-1013. Or visit his website @ www.damonmoneycoach.com)