Your Money Inspiration

by kungfugirl on November 8, 2012

Brain Rainbow

For a site with the promise and tagline of “Master your mind, master your money”, I cannot believe I have not yet talked about the most important aspect of mastering your mind and money!

I’ve talked of course about other important aspects of mastering your mind…harnessing the power of focus, overcoming adversity, the importance of persistence, and more…

But I’ve never described the absolute number one most important aspect of mastering your mind when it comes to money.

So what, pray tell, is the most important aspect?

Is it patience? Perseverance? Non-emotional investing? Resilience? Discipline?

No, no, no, no, and no…

All of those pale in comparison to…

Your money mindset.

(Stick with me here…I promise this isn’t some crazy “woo-woo” concept born out of too much tequila in Mexico last weekend!)   :)

You’ve heard the adage “success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” and I’ve talked extensively about the 99% perspiration part here on Kung Fu Finance.

In fact, I’ve beaten that drum to near death because it is so crucial to your success in achieving any endeavor, particularly financial independence!

Today, however, I want to talk about that all-important 1%…because it is, well, all-important!

It’s Vital. Crucial. Necessary. Essential. Indispensible!

It really is THAT important to achieving financial independence.

Because no matter how hard you work, nor how much you persevere, and sweat, and struggle, and bounce back…you will never be able to accumulate money if you believe somehow, even deep in your subconscious, that you don’t deserve it, or that it is somehow WRONG for you to want money in the first place.

Now, before you click away and say, “well Kung Fu Girl, this doesn’t apply to me, of course I want money, DUH, and of course I deserve it!” please bear with me for just one more second, because for most of us these awful “money mindsets” have been ingrained in us since we were very small children.

I had the extreme privilege of attending a truly awesome event the past six days (and I don’t use the word “awesome” lightly…the event was called “Awesomeness Fest” and while at first I thought that was the cheesiest name I had ever heard, the event surpassed every single other event I have ever attended, and I have been to some pretty epic events!)

At this event, I had the great fortune to speak with a ton of amazing people about their money problems (mentioning that I teach financial education and empowerment via “Kung Fu Finance” tends to inspire a lot of questions!).

I had one especially enlightening conversation with an amazing entrepreneur and individual who has a fantastic job at one of the top publishing companies in the world, AND who owns a successful business on the side. From the outside looking in, you would think this man has it all together financially-speaking, but he was thrilled to sit next to me and pick my brain about money!

He confessed that his biggest issue with money was that he felt like he wasn’t “good enough” and somehow “didn’t deserve it”, even though he is one of the kindest, most generous people you will ever have the pleasure to meet. He hated asking his customers to pay him for his products and services, and also hated asking his manager for a raise.

(Sound familiar? I believe most of us feel this agony at one point or another in our careers!)

He thought that he should give away his gifts (his products and services) for free, or for as close to free as possible without living in complete abject struggling poverty, because it is “wrong to be greedy”.

I’m sad to say that he is not alone in those negative beliefs.

Society, schools, politics, and the news media instill us with the idea that “rich people are corrupt and greedy” and that “money is the root of all evil”. Even religion puts forth these ideas—I’m sure you’ve heard “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to Heaven.”

These negative beliefs deeply permeate our psyches and represent a huge emotional hurdle for many people. Many of us associate wealth with greed and selfishness and view rich people with fear, suspicion, and resentment, wondering whom they must have had to hurt “on the way up” in order to make all of that money.

And it’s true, yes, that there are some evil rich people out there, and rich people who have gotten wealthy by taking advantage of other people, or by somehow “cheating” or doing something illegal or immoral or with a complete lack of integrity.

But it is not money that is good or evil…it is the person. Money is simply an amplifier—it makes you more of who and what you already are.

If you are a good person (ahem, like yours truly!), :-) money simply allows you to do more good. And if you are an evil person, well, then yes, money allows you to do more evil. But money doesn’t make you evil, and it is not wrong to want it.

At its core, and I’ve talked about this extensively in the “What is Money” series of articles, money is simply a medium of exchange, a store of value, an invention that allows us to trade the goods and services we provide more easily.

Money has two primary purposes:

1) To standardize value, so that people can trade things more easily
2) To store value, so that people can save it and trade it at a later date

We discussed the standardizing value example in What is Money, Part 1 with the example of the farmer who had wheat but wanted eggs bartering with the chicken coop owner who had eggs…but then what happened if the farmer wanted shoes, for example, but the cobbler didn’t want wheat?

Barter and trade had its issues, so people quickly turned to commodity money (shells, then later gold and silver coins) to standardize value and allow people to trade more easily.

This introduction of money also allowed us to store value, so that if the chicken coop owner’s eggs were about to go bad, he could trade them for silver coins instead of for whatever was available at that point in time, and then buy what he truly wanted later.

The introduction of money therefore allowed people to save.

And just what are we saving?

This is the core concept of money…we are saving our productive accomplishments — our hard work!

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s excellent book Your Money or Your Life explored this concept and is one reason I put it on my required reading list for financial independence — Money is simply your stored life energy…your work, your sweat, your thinking, your art, your creations, your talents.

The money you earn represents the value you bring to the people around you.

But what happens so often today is that people confuse “money” with “dollars” (or your local currency).

Dollars are simply little green pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents on them. They are worthless by themselves…you can’t eat them or live in them — their only use is for trade. It is not the dollars themselves that have worth — only what they represent.

(This is why we often talk here on Kung Fu Finance about the idea of our entire fiat monetary system being built on a base of confidence — all paper money in the world today has zero intrinsic value; it is simply debt or a “promise to pay” by your government. The system works fine as long as people have confidence in our government’s ability to pay…but collapses when enough people lose confidence.)

But I digress…today’s essay is NOT about the difference between fiat currencies and sound money, which I have already beaten to death — it’s about the bigger idea of what “money” truly represents and why it is NOT “wrong” to want it!

Money represents the very best things that you have to offer—the goods and the services that you produce. With money, we can easily exchange our work, our talent, our skills…the very best that’s inside of us for the very best that’s inside of others.

Money is literally a symbol of human productivity and achievement, and represents all of the good things we create for each other.

If you can grasp the difference between little pieces of paper (e.g. dollars) and what those little pieces of paper represent (the fruits of your hard labor!), you will never be shy nor feel bad in asking for money again.

Please read that sentence again — it is that important.

It is crucial that you understand and internalize this mindset, because it is a proven fact that you will always act consistently with your beliefs whether they are true or not! So please don’t let a limiting, incorrect, negative belief control your life or your capacity for greatness.

You have so much value to add to the world — please go forth and contribute and do your best to make our world a better place!

Remember that money is a symbol of the best we have to offer each other…the more value you create and produce, the richer you will become.

———————————————

What do you believe about money? Are you afraid to ask for what you are worth? Do you hold onto limiting beliefs such as feeling that you don’t “deserve” to make money or that you are somehow wrong to want more money? I truly would love to know…please let me know in the comments!

I’ll be catching up on comments and doing a big QnA for you tomorrow…it’s been a hectic (but awesome) week!

Thank you so much for reading and being an amazing Kung Fu Finance subscriber. It is such a joy to read your comments and emails and so much fun to collaborate with you and explore better ways to invest and manage our money together!

To your financial success,

— Kung Fu Girl

P.S. With special thanks to the great My Life Book session at AwesomenessFest for reminding me of this important lesson!

Print Friendly

About the Author:

Susan Fujii, aka , is an SEC Accredited Investor who believes that anyone can learn to be financially independent.

Susan has authored 199 posts on Kung Fu Finance, and you can connect with her on .

Want to master your finances? Join us now.

Why don't you join our community on your journey to financial mastery.
Sign up below for the FREE Kung Fu Finance newsletter.

Leave a comment!

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

don jans November 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Please explain how someone who gambles and wins a large sum of cash has contributed and thus deserves his/her new found wealth. Carma? Just looking for your opinion. Vast sums of money do not always mean satisfaction. Some very wealthy people appear to be shallow.(Not to be judgmental) There is dignity in hard work-physical or mental. As you know the government is the biggest problem-few people want true freedom.(A little off the subject)

Reply

kungfugirl November 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Don!

It’s wonderful to hear from you. YES, I absolutely don’t mean to say that “all people with money” are “good” and have earned it justly by the fruits of their labor…some have won it, or inherited it, or have come across it by some other means. They might not “deserve” it, but I believe Andreas has it exactly right below– what matters is what they do with it once they have it. It’s just an amplifier….and the sad truth is that the vast majority of lottery winners LOSE the money within a few years of winning it (so in that sense I think I agree with your Karma point…if they “deserve” to win it and do good with it, perhaps they are able to keep it, but if they are not good people and don’t really deserve to win it, maybe they lose it…..).

(Here is a rather sad article from Business Insider on that very fact:
http://www.businessinsider.com/13-lottery-winners-who-lost-it-all-2011-6?op=1)

And you are correct, many wealthy people are shallow, but so are many poor people (who value only outer beauty instead of what is inside a person, for example). But many wealthy people are extremely generous, and so are many poor people. It’s not the money that makes someone generous or shallow or deep or good or evil….it just allows them to be more of what they already are.

And there *is* dignity in hard work (mental or physical), and satisfaction and happiness. I don’t technically “have” to work (in fact, I have shoveled so many hours and dollars into this website we would probably be much better off financially if I didn’t, LOL!) :) but I just love it….I can’t imagine not doing it.

And yep, totally agree with you on the government. I simply do not understand why so many people want the government to regulate their entire lives and “take care of them”….it’s like anti-freedom, and I just don’t get it. You may have noticed my rather conspicuous absence on the whole political election topic this week… :) To me, it’s not about Obama or Romney…it’s just basic math! Our government is WAY too big, our debt is WAY WAY too big, and our tax code is simply ludicrous. Way. Too. Much. Government! :)

Soooo nice to hear from you Don– thank you for your comment!!!
– KFG

Reply

Andreas H. November 9, 2012 at 12:57 am

Susan, great post. Love your enthusiasm for (our) financial education. ;) Sadly it is true that many/most people have a conflicted relationship with money (or wealth), which is especially troublesome since money is such an unbelievably big part of our lives. Unless you are a recluse in a hidden valley in the mountains (or in a lighthouse at Spitzbergen) money has been “interfused” with almost every aspect of our lives and defines a big part of who we are, who we want to be, where we come from and also how we appear to others.
Therefore I want to thank you for your efforts in general and also for bringing up this topic which has been neglected by so many other people. It truly is a wortwhile subject for some personal reflection for everone. :)
Also one technical question/request:
Personally I don’t necessarily need it, but it would be great if you could implement in your website/posts the option to increase/decrease the size of the font. I have come to appreciate this functionality at several other websites (where the basic font is much smaller) and I think many/some of your readers (who have problems with their eyesight) would appreciate it. Thanx. ;)
@ Don J.:
Don, I think the (ethical/moral?) question about wealth that was “created” by lottery winnings (and such) is not really about how he/she/they got it (in the past), but what he/she/they will do with that money (in the future). True, it may not have been “earned”, but first, live isn’t always fair (…actually it almost never is) and second, as Susan said, money is an amplifier. If you are a “good” person (however you would define that) you can and probably will do a lot of good with that money. If you are not a good person… well as far as I can tell you will most likely not have that money for very long, because in my experience people that are mean, greedy, entitled, unethical or downright ruthless are seldom very smart and, even more rare, have an even rudimentary financial education. This also implies satisfaction is of course not an inherent feature of money. Satisfaction comes from within you and if you are shallow your money will amplify that. So Long. :)
—Ad lucrum per sapientia—

Reply

kungfugirl November 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Andreas!

It’s wonderful to hear from you, too! I appreciate your nice words. Yes, one thing I forgot to mention above is how astonishing it is that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours somehow in the pursuit of money….you are right, unless you live in the boondocks, you are surrounded by it. Thanks so much!

And YES, thank you for letting me know about the font issue! I actually have no idea how to fix that :) but I will *learn*– I definitely want people to be able to read it. I’m on a Mac so I just hit “Ctrl-+” whenever I want something to be bigger and voila, it gets bigger, whether in email, on the web, etc., but maybe Windows doesn’t have that capability (and I should provide it on my site/emails anyway, too!). Thank you!

I’m hiring (gasp– big step) a firm to help me with my website so hopefully I can fix it soon (and I’ll try first myself, too). Thanks for the great suggestion!

And thanks for your thoughtful reply to Don– I wholeheartedly agree. :)

Thanks so much!
– KFG

Reply

Andreas H. November 10, 2012 at 11:36 am

Hi Susan (or Miss Fu? *g*)
Just a quick follow up on the font issue…
Yes, Ctrl + works with windows too, but this enlarges the whole site. Text, images, everything. There are plugins (and whatnot) for Wordpress on the other hand that allow you to just change the font size of the text. As seen here (e.g.) http://moneymorning.com/ in the upper right corner.
Also good luck with finding a reasonable IT firm for your website. I am currently involved in the development of a website myself and know how difficult it can be to find someone with the necessary skills who isn’t trying to rob you blind…
And in the department of shameless plugs I would like to throw my personal YT channel out there, where I (try to) collect some interesting and hopefully valueable videos and such. I don’t really get anything out of it (financially), but maybe your readers will find one or more interesting pieces of information in one of the various playlists. Enjoy and have a great weekend. :)
http://www.youtube.com/user/Pantheraunicus

Reply

BW November 9, 2012 at 1:20 am

“Money represents the very best things that you have to offer—the goods and the services that you produce. With money, we can easily exchange our work, our talent, our skills…the very best that’s inside of us for the very best that’s inside of others.”

This is very true and good to keep in mind, if one is shy about receiving money for what one offers.

There are other little problems, as well, in figuring out the amount that it is good to receive in exchange for that best which we are offering: how much is enough; how much would be too much?

A person could make a huge profit and feel very guilty about having “so much”, “so much more”, as a result of their cumulative transactions. Criticisms can come up from customers about something being “too expensive” (per se) and result in guilty self-assessment.

So the pricing of things could also bring up these self-doubts about deserving the benefits of profit. (or: how much will the market “bear” that could be considered an acceptable reward in the milieu of monetary exchanges and benefits?)

Reply

kungfugirl November 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi BW!

Thank you for your great comment (and great to hear from you, too!). Ah yes, pricing! Pricing is sooo difficult. You want to find that “sweet spot” where both parties feel the deal is fair and equitable, but that’s much easier done in theory than in practice. Most companies spend tons of effort (and money) “split-testing” their offers and pricing to try to find what the market will bear. (And other companies with less integrity just try to gouge the customers, I’m sure! But hopefully those soon go out of business as no one likes to be gouged!)

I remember those days well from when Kung Fu Guy and I ran our own consulting business– how much to charge? How much was our time worth? It was difficult…we tried to balance what our competitors charged vs. how long the project would be for (e.g. short projects were a higher hourly rate, longer projects received a discounted hourly rate) vs. what we needed to charge to live on vs. the value we felt we provided (tricky– it’s subjective) vs. what our customers could afford to pay…definitely not an easy task.

But I think if you always operate from a position of openness and true desire to help others, you’ll arrive at a price that is fair for everyone.

Also, as far as feeling guilty about having “so much”, I think that depends on your mindset– if you feel that by you having “so much” you are taking “so much” away from someone else, then yes, that is awful. But if you feel that it is an abundant world and that the value you are providing that person is more or equivalent to what they are paying you, then hopefully you won’t feel guilty, because you know they will enjoy your product/service at least that much or more. (But yes, that’s in a “perfect world”, and as you know it’s not always perfect, unfortunately!). :)

Great comment….thank you!
– KFG

Reply

Zeke November 9, 2012 at 6:20 am

Be sure to check your spam filter for the newsletter.

AOL kicked it into spam this morning after successfully receiving it several times.

Z

Reply

kungfugirl November 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Thanks Zeke!

Yes, if you add my email address to your “safe senders” list hopefully this will be avoided….thank you for the reminder!

– KFG

Reply

BIG AL IN CHICAGO November 9, 2012 at 8:21 am

Hey Ms Fu…..Can I call you that? This one hit home a little. I am an institutional bond broker and do well at it but also own a small business on the side called Rock Academy , heres a shameless plug of the website http://www.rockacademyonline.com ( it’s a rock school for kids )
Anyway, I always find myself wanting to give away free tshirts, lessons and tuitions for the kids even though i know the parents have the money to pay for it. This piece will really help me with that. Thanks. Big AL

Reply

kungfugirl November 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Hi Big Al!

You may call me whatever you want :) and I love your shameless plug! What an awesome business! I would love to teach music to kids (it’s my other love, after finance and kung fu, LOL!).

Oh good, I’m glad I can help! You sound very generous and are just the type of person I’d like to see have more money…because you’d use it for good, as you already do! :) Of course you want to do some freebies as thank you’s to your loyal customers and to create goodwill, but the majority of the time definitely charge what you’re worth– you want to feel good and that it is worth your time, or else you might (gasp) *stop* doing it and that would be SUCH a loss to your community!

Thanks for your great comment!
– KFG

Reply

Gilbert November 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Hi KFG,
Some of my friends tell me why I promote saving & investing which they say is money-centered. But people who say that money is evil have been totally misguided by other (cunning) people who want control over them. The truth can be found in the Bible on 1 Timothy 6:10—For the LOVE of money is the root of all evil. (emphasis mine).

Money in and of itself is not evil…it is when we value money more than we value ourselves, our loved-ones and our Creator that we become evil.

So I say that one should first read & understand money before judging the evils that it brings. Let’s continue to give value to this world & be a blessing to many.

Reply

Caroline Heinemann November 28, 2012 at 9:19 am

Hi thanks for the great article…agreed with Gilbert…I Timothy 6:10 is often misquoted…even by Christians…It is the LOVE of money or greed for anything else that is evil…In fact if we love anything above God that is wrong. thanks Caroline

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: