Rich Brain, Poor Brain

If your mind is poor, I don’t care how much money you have, you will always feel poor.  The poor man’s mentality is fascinating because it comes out so smoothly that you don’t even realize it is something negative.

I do a lot of my thinking and observing on the train during rush hour in NYC. So many people crammed into one train car, drinking coffee, dreading Monday, living for Friday and praying that they win the lottery, even though most of us do not even play! Living paycheck to paycheck and even though we know the paycheck comes to our account every two weeks, WE STILL CALL OURSELVES BROKE….

Anybody that really knows me knows I love Google, so I decided to put ‘broke’ in my search engine to see what would come out and here is what I got:

broke
brōk/
  1. 1.
    past (and archaic past participle) of break.

adjective

informal
  1. 1
    having completely run out of money.
    “many farmers went broke”
    synonyms: penniless, moneyless, bankruptinsolvent, ruined, down-and-out, without a penny to one’s name, without a cent, without one red cent, without two pennies to rub together

Okay, I’m no rocket scientist but if you get money every week or every two weeks, how can you be broke?  Especially if you have the same 24 hours as everyone else.  The list of synonyms was actually painful to read….

So yesterday, a couple of my friends and I had a conversation about the comedian Kevin Hart, his old wife, his new wife and how he (allegedly) might be cheating on her (the conversation got heated, but that is something for another day).  We started talking about how he (allegedly) totally screwed his first wife who ‘held him down” before he was a household name and that because of whatever they signed, she was getting nothing monetarily.  Somehow we moved on to the topic of a prenup and I said “what is wrong with a prenup, what if you want to protect yourself?”  One of my friends said she didn’t have anything so what difference did it make?  I told her she didn’t know what would happen in 5 years and she said she’d be in the same place she was today. I was thoroughly taken aback by her comment to be honest. She said she would be in the same place in 5 years because she was in the same place 5 years ago…. That’s a mentality that I just cannot comprehend, no matter how much I love ya like a sister! The person I was talking to has a great personality, but wow, I didn’t expect that response. She is one of the hardest working and organized people I have ever met and if she chose to do something else, she would excel. But it was a perfect addition to what I was trying to say with this piece. How can anyone predict where they will be in 5 years unless they plan to either do absolutely nothing or they plan to remain in the same state of mind without making a shred of effort to make a change. Why is being mediocre, and sometimes less than mediocre, something we allow to remain in our lives for even a moment?  Why would you want to live your life knowing that you will never improve, simply because you never have before?!  Especially if you work at your current job with the effort like you own the company?

Most of us work at our jobs like we are owners and CEOs of these companies. We don’t use our sick days because if we take a day off all hell will break loose. Nothing will get done because you are the backbone of your company, yet every time your direct deposit hits, you are crying broke!  I cannot say that I have always had an abundance of money, but saying I was broke went against everything I believed in.

I remember hearing Swizz Beatz on the radio talking about the Business Ownership classes he was taking at Harvard University.  The one thing that resonated with me was when he said (I am paraphrasing) that one of the most important and beneficial things a business owner can do is hire a manager because a manager will work hard for a company because the title makes it feel like it is their company.  In these companies that we work for, we are made to feel special simply because if we feel special, we will deal with whatever nonsense we are thrown.  We will deal with feeling broke every two weeks because of the letters after your name on your business card.   And even if you are NOT broke, your job makes you feel broke because sometimes the taxes are greater than the net pay!

I am going to share 4 concepts that will allow you to reform the financial part of your brain, shift the way you think, and allow you to feel more in control of your money – in turn making you feel wealthier.  The only way for these ideas to work is if you want to make them work and if you are willing to understand that changing your mentality will change how you feel about your bank account.

Being broke is mental, not physical.  The desire to be wealthy and the ability to love money without being controlled by it is more permanent that having a lot of money.  I can almost guarantee that once you feel like you have money, you will begin to actually have more money.  I do understand the concept of misery loves company and I know some people will not do anything to make themselves happy no matter how much sense it makes, but I will say that if you are reading this and you want to make a change DO NOT SHARE YOUR POSITIVITY WITH NAYSAYERS (unless you know they want to change as well.  That negativity is contagious!) Money comes and goes, but that money savvy mentality last FOREVA (in my Cardi B voice).

As long as you pay your bills and save money, live your life like you are rich.  This is two-fold.  In order for this to work, you have to have a good budgeting plan and stick to it (Click here for the budget worksheet that will go along with this principle) If you try to save money and spend it before it has cooled in your savings account, it will be very painful to wait those next two weeks for your paycheck to roll around again.  Once you get in the groove of your savings, allow yourself to spend money on things you like.  Do not make yourself feel guilty about buying that bag or those cute shoes.  Knowing that your bills are paid and you have a little money saved will allow you to feel more in control of your mental, your life and your money.  You do not have to save a significant amount of money or spend $700 on a pair of Louboutins, so even if you only put $50 in your savings and you spend $30 on a pair of shoes, it will be freeing to know you can do it!

DO NOT LOOK AT YOUR GROSS SALARY!  Miracle worker, I am telling you!  Try to not even look at your paycheck unless the amount that goes into your account looks off.  The control that you will feel knowing what you have to spend is amazing to be honest and looking at how much they take out in taxes and other deductions will ruin your mood.  Any followers of the Law of Attraction know that once you start talking about your downfalls, more downfalls will come.

Do things that make you feel wealthy. I am not saying do it all the time, and this is only after you pay your bills and save a little something.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  It could be getting a latte from Starbucks or going on a cruise.  Speaking of cruises, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING!  I felt like I was on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous on that cruise!  If I could go on a cruise once a year for the rest of my life, I would be HAPPY!  But it does not matter what you do.  Have a picnic in the park or a family barbecue on the beach, just do something.  Even if you just sip red wine out of a really big wine glass while watching Scandal :-), it is, as most things are, mental.

Life is too short to half ass it.  No one knows from one second to the next whether or not they will live to see another sunrise or spend another dollar.  Everyone has a right to live how they want, whether it is positive or negative, however, for those of us who want to make a positive change, before you can change your pocket, you need to change your mentality.  I do not even say I have a “lack of funds”, I simply flow with the moments until I receive my next dollar (which is not a very great span of time because of my mentality).  We FORGET how strong our minds are.  We ignore how delicate our emotions are and we abuse the sensitive parts of our minds.  We have the nerve to blame God, our environment or our parents when it only takes a few thoughts or even a good song to change our mood.  

Look out for a budget worksheet because I want all of us to lose this Poor Man’s Mentality!  Till next week!

Why We Procrastinate and 5 Tips on Planning

Why We Procrastinate and 5 Tips on Planning

According to Google, procrastination is:

pro·cras·ti·na·tion
prəˌkrastəˈnāSH(ə)n/
noun
  1. the action of delaying or postponing something.
    “your first tip is to avoid procrastination”

Allow me to alter your view of procrastination just a smidgen!

Summer is coming and many of us are going on vacation. We workout, we shop, we get our hair and nails done.  Time is going so slow, yet our vacay gets here so quick! I know for me, I usually pack the day before I go and the morning of, lol, because I suppose the anticipation of vacation is intoxicating to me.  So we wake up the first day of our vacay, put on our airport outfit, sunglasses, big hat, flip flops and all and head to the airport. Hopefully you have some headphones to cancel out the noise and to watch a movie or two so you can get to wherever you are going quickly cuz the anticipation of beaches and sun is just too much for you at this point!

Finally!  You head out the airport with luggage in hand and begin the best week of your year so far.  Drinks, dancing and great company, you stay up all night so the time does not go by too fast, but even with all of your effort, Sunday is here and it is time to go home and probably back to your job tomorrow.  That overwhelming feeling of anxiety takes over and we wonder “What could I have done differently over this past week to have made it more fulfilling?” or “Man, I wish I could just start this week over and do this vacation again cuz I had such a great time!”  We promise ourselves that next time we won’t sleep as long, take so long to pick an outfit for the day or spend so much time in the morning tanning on the beach, all so we can have the illusion that our vacation was longer than it actually was (even though technically the hours do not change!)

The same exact thing happens during the holiday season.  It has become so intoxicating that even people who do not practice the Christian religion jump on the black-Friday-to-New-Years-Day bandwagon!  From the day after Thanksgiving until the day after New Year’s Eve, we shop, we decorate and we have tons and tons of parties, so most of us have to sign up for the gym come January!  My favorite part is shopping for my son and wrapping his gifts then making cookies with him and putting them out for Santa with some Hershey’s Cookies & Crème milk (cuz my son is too fancy for regular ole milk LOL).  I also have a Christmas Club that I have set up where I put $20 every two weeks so that come Christmas, I had my cheddar stacked!  Working at an office building in Corporate America with different departments on my floor means many office parties and many cookie baskets! 

Then comes Christmas Eve.  We all say our “Happy Holidays” and get ready for the big day and our bosses even let us leave at 3pm instead of 5pm (aren’t the sweet?!)!  Christmas, where we see the results of weeks of decorating and shopping and a glowing, beautiful tree that we put together with our kids (then put the grown-up finishing touches after they go to sleep – I know I am not the only one!).  After putting the kids to sleep, we sneak into the living room where the cookies and milk are and eat 3 out of 4 and take a big bite of the last one and gulp down the milk, leaving a note from Santa saying “Thanks for the milk and cookies, Sam! Ho ho ho! –Love Santa” signing as we think Santa would, quickly put the rest of the gifts under the tree and go off to bed ourselves, only to be woken up a few hours later to “Mom, Santa ate alllllll the cookies except one and drank the milk and even left me a note!  Wake up, I want to open my presents!”

And we are beaming as our kids and family members open their gifts.  After all, this was an event months and, more often than not, hundreds or thousands of dollars in the making!  However, as the wrapping paper that you handpicked and so carefully applied is ripped off and ready for the garbage, your smile fades and that same on-the-plane-after-your-vacation-is-over anxiety starts to build up again and you realize that your high is coming to an end.

What does this have to do with procrastination? Anticipation may be the key.  We feel best when we have something to look forward to, when we have something to work towards.  We procrastinate so that our excitement lasts as long as possible, because if we start a project that is due too early, what do we have to look forward to?

I have heard people say (and said myself) I work better under pressure and I realize while this has some merit, it is not entirely true.  The anticipation is building from the moment we find out we have a task until it is complete.  If we complete it shortly before it is due, that excitement is intensified because not only has that intensity been building, we also are “living on the edge” taking a risk because there is not much time to complete what we have to do, but we know we will, so it is also a sense of accomplishment.  The problem with procrastination is that it is short lived and often hastily thrown together at the last minute without the proper planning.

What can we do to alleviate procrastination or turn it into something that benefits us?

  1. Do not depend on large events or tasks to make you feel fulfilled.

Don’t wait for Christmas or birthdays to spend time with your family or give out gifts.  Plan Sunday dinners or gift giving events just so that the feeling of joy can be felt throughout the year.  For example, once summer comes, I know that every Saturday, my mother, son and I go to the beach and then go to the local seafood restaurant to eat afterwards.  We wake up early, meet up and take the bus to the beach and when we’ve had enough sun, we walk through this amazing nature filled area to the longest seafood strip ever and choose a restaurant to get our eat on!  We pick two kinds of food to share and each week either my mother or I get the drinks.  

  1. Do a little bit each day, but wait for the main course till the end.

Treat your task like a meal.  Have a drink, sample the appetizer, but wait to chow down on the main course!  This will give you the ability to properly plan whatever you are doing (i.e. homework, a work assignment, packing for vacation, etc.) while enjoying the feeling of doing it at the last minute (i.e. when going on vacation, fold all of the clothes and create a list of toiletries that you need, but wait to pack them all until “the last minute”).       

  1. Set a weekly goal.

Set a daily goal even, depending on how you feel.  This can be a goal for work, for fun, for a business venture, for school and even just for a personal spa day.  It does not have to be a major goal, it only needs to make you feel good when you are looking forward to doing and completing it.  I am a nerd for preparing my family’s monthly finances, so I normally spend the last week of the month doing this.  Other goals can include: setting family chores, organizing your email, putting together a healthy eating checklist or meal prepping, and organizing that Sunday dinner I mentioned in number 1!

  1. In preparation of #5, complete everything you need to do the evening before your “break day (your Do Not Disturb)”.

I swear this is easier than it sounds!  It is like a race, if you run full speed ahead, you may win the race, but you will run straight passed the finish line and your trophy and run smack into a wall or off a cliff!   I guarantee you, if you work and play non-stop from Monday to Sunday, you will not enjoy and appreciate your accomplishments.  It is one of the main reasons why we procrastinate.  WE DO NOT FEEL LIKE WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING!!!!  However, if you slow down just shy of the finish line, not only will you win, you will also have the ability to enjoy the accomplishments of the week and allow yourself the luxury of having the energy and momentum to plan the next week as well.

  1. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” for an entire day (My FAVE and the one I find most important AND helpful. Again, this is easier than it sounds!).

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you do not respond.  It does, however, mean that you allow yourself the right to choose when, how & TO WHOM you respond.  I have my phone on regular mode 6 days out of the week and I enjoy the group chats between my mother, sister and I as well as the funny pictures my co-workers and friends send me.  However, in preparation for Sunday, my phone goes on “Do Not Disturb” as soon as I am ready to close my eyes the night before.  I work on me on Sundays.  I sleep late without having to wonder if the ping of text messages or the ring of a call will wake me.  I have conversations with my 5 years old, I write, I work on my present and future business plans, I do the laundry, I watch shows I previously DVRed and did not have time to watch.  The point is I do me, which is a luxury we are not always afforded with the explosion of social media and the need for working overtime to make ends meet.   

Plan for the week ahead if you want.  Do something that you cannot do with your emails, texts and phone calls coming through your phone like Grand Central Station during rush hour!  

PROCRASTINATION IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO NOT GET THINGS DONE!  It is the fear of losing the feeling of prolonged self-gratification!

Life is too short.  Allow yourself the passionate feelings of self-gratification all year long while still getting stuff done!