All of our financial habits begin to form in our younger years. How we spend, save, budget and invest is largely attributable to what we saw our parents, friends and those of influence around us do. Sometimes, the lessons that we learn about money are based on the bad habits of others or on misguided advice. If we incorporate these bad financial habits into our lives, we are bound to struggle financially. It is only when we decide to clear our minds and to take a fresh approach to our finances, can we begin to break the bad habits that we have formed over the years and begin the journey towards financial health and freedom.
In yoga, we often speak of adopting a beginner’s mind set as if doing the yoga poses for the very first time. We encourage students to approach their practice without the constraints of what they think they should or shouldn’t be doing. Instead encouraging freedom to move as beginners, to focus on their breath and to have fun. The benefits of taking this beginner’s approach include an increased likelihood that we will learn new and valuable skills and that we will also gain an awareness that we might not know as much as we think we know.
If we think we already know everything, we are less likely to pay careful attention to what we are doing and are prone to making careless mistakes. We may even end up hurting ourselves in the process. In other words, when we learn how to “be present’ we are in the best position to benefit from the practice of yoga. When we forget about everything that we “know” and take a fresh approach, it’s at that stage that we can truly develop the skills required to master things.
Similarly, when we are prepared to view our finances from a beginner’s mind set with new eyes each and every day, it’s then that we realize that what we know may not be based on sound financial education. Just like practicing yoga, we need to “be present’ when it comes to the managing of our finances. We need to be open to learning new ways of managing our financial resources in order to reap the benefits of solid financial advice. When we admit that we don’t know how to save or that we sometimes go overboard with our spending, it signals that we are “present” and therefore less likely to make poor financial decisions based on bad financial habits.
Having a beginner’s mind set will prompt us to question our beliefs and to develop curiosity about how money really works. Just as one would approach the yoga mat with an attitude that is conducive with continuous learning, we should also use this approach with our finances.
Adopting a beginner’s mindset with money requires us to accept that we might not know as much as we think we do and for some of us, this may be uncomfortable.
But it’s from this place than we can truly learn and start to take control. Rather than being a “knower” we become a “learner” and we open ourselves to development, new ideas and different perspectives. We’re also more likely to ask for help!
To me a beginner’s mindset is a refreshing approach – it’s a way to view the world from a more realistic and honest perspective, rather than through the pre-conceptions, beliefs or other thoughts that we may hold to be true, but without really understanding why.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this approach to yoga, money and life!