Your 2023 Financial Superpower
One (of many) things I’d like to do more of in 2023 than I did in 2022 (and every year) is listen to other people’s hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as walking up to a person and simply asking: “what are your hopes for your future?” It will make people feel awkward….trust me.
I’ve had more success getting a peek into someone’s vision for their future by listening for a long while….long enough so you become familiar to them, and they get more comfortable with you, which allows them to “get real”. And yes, it takes time and trust for someone to be real with you, but it also takes time and quiet for someone to get real with themselves.
Need proof? What’s it been like in your own mind these past couple of weeks? Do you feel a bit distracted, or chaotic? Maybe very distracted and chaotic? Or have you been keenly mindful of everything, both within you and externally?
The opportunity to get someone I care about talking about their hopes wouldn’t be about itching my curiosity or learning about human psychology (although both would happen). It would primarily be about creating some space so they can see who they actually are and what they are called to.
Now, none of us need another person sitting with us to become more aware of who we are and our purpose. But it might take another person applying some of that social pressure to get us to do so. Why? Because 1) there really is a lot of noise in this world and 2) even if we get quiet, it becomes frightening to encounter such “real” thoughts.
Whether you have the ability to gain awareness about yourself on your own or you need to enlist the help of someone close to you, do it. The only way you would regret it is if it’s simply too horrifying. But even if you come to that conclusion, you’ve learned something extremely valuable (and for which there is a cure).
Awareness, also often called mindfulness and often achieved through meditation, is what I encourage you to strive for in these next few months. It can be your 2023 financial superpower. How so?
You are created as a problem solving machine. Much, if not most, of the problems our brains and bodies encounter are healed within us subconsciously, meaning our brains already organize healing without any willful effort of our own. I mean, how much will power did you have to exert to heal the slice in your finger when you cut it accidentally?
But considering our pain or problems that take our conscious effort, we doubt our ability to find an answer or pathway to progress/healing. Why? Because in our world of skepticism, there is a rigorous standard for scientific observation. Put another way, there is growing doubt in our world. Why it is that way is a question to consider another day.
I also am not capable of using data to convince you that you have a supernatural ability to find answers to your toughest questions, or healing to your deepest heart wounds. But I do believe it’s true. And because of that, I don’t believe that I need to try harder, strive smarter, or work longer to address the ills that come at me and the people I care about (which likely includes you).
Instead, I believe if I haven’t made progress on finding an investment philosophy that stands the test of time, or connecting with my daughter, or bringing my body mass index to a healthier level, or explaining a complex tax concept to a client…..then my primary objective is to become quiet enough, still enough, to make sure I am fully aware of what is actually happening in any of those situations.
I need to tune out the noise that might be distracting me from the problem, relax long enough to observe clearly, and become aware of the reality of the situation. Awareness kicks in your programming to heal the pain.
If you have a spouse, or have ever had a spouse, how often were you caught off guard when they reacted more strongly (negatively) to a comment you made than you were expecting, only later to find out that it was something that happened earlier in the day that set them on edge and caused them to react in such a way? I’ve done it enough to Sara that she can quickly discern that the “real” issue wasn’t her comment, but something else, something deeper.
“Okay, so I will strive to be more aware” you may be thinking. However, if that's the extent of your mindset, I predict you will fail to actually become more mindful. Why? Because this world is nothing if it’s not a highly complex interference machine.
So instead of focusing on “trying to be more aware”, try to simply get out of the noise. Sit quietly somewhere where you won’t be distracted. Here are 4 tips on how to do this:
Schedule a time for quiet. Put it on the calendar and honor the appointment.
Get the phone away. Nearly all of your apps want your attention. It’s how they make money. This also applies to TVs and computers, but they aren’t as often on us as our phones are.
Get outside. If you live/work in a busy place, this might not be helpful, but often the outdoors can reset our minds.
Close your eyes. Avoid the “something shiny” trap. I’ve personally had success dimming the lights as well.
Focus on your breath. As much as you don’t want to focus on anything in particular, that can feel/be impossible for many of us. So instead, focusing on something neutral like breathing can keep our minds from distraction.
Try mindfulness in multiple settings. Try to clear your mind as you lay down to sleep for the night. Yes, you’ll probably not last long as you doze off, but it sounds like a great (and helpful) way to fall asleep. But then try again when you’re not laying in bed to see how the experience differs.
If you can make progress in drowning out the noise of life, thereby becoming more mindful and aware of your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your pain, I think you’ll be surprised at how you’ll progress in those challenges. You were wired to creatively and wonderfully serve and solve. It was your nature, but the world’s distractions have kept us from it.
Next post, we’ll take a look at how awareness specifically can make us more financially successful.