Until you hear a foreign language or meet someone who doesn’t speak your own, you don’t really know that people use different words for love, money, and time.
You don’t actually get that the things that are conceptual exist only in language, nor do you truly understand that people use different words that are culturally nuanced to convey meaning.
Remembering this is important, because each of us has something we believe to be true about money — whether or not we can have it, whether or not we’re good with it, and whether or not we’ll achieve financial freedom.
These beliefs are often articulated in very simple language that is based on something we made up about money in our childhood. Even as adults, whatever we made up to be true then is still true now, running and sometimes ruining our financial lives.
Observing this pattern with money was the subject of my TEDx talk. I only developed the insights to give this talk by recognizing my own money language and how it kept me locked in cycles of overspending and feelings of worthlessness.
I’ve since totally transformed my experiences with money, and it’s because I learned to master the power of my money language. I call money languages our Money Operating Systems™. Here are five of the Money Operating Systems™ I see most frequently:
1. “There will always be enough money.”
People with this belief can be high earners, but sometimes they’re average earners who live simply. They need to be careful about being lulled into a false sense of security around money.
2. “If I am good, the universe will give me what I need.”
While this looks like a positive world outlook, it doesn’t tend to lead to productive financial behavior. Saving and investing rarely happen, because these folks believe that their financial health is a function of virtuousness.
3. “Money makes me valuable.”
These people have money very intertwined with their self-worth. Other people often perceive them as powerful around money and business. If they are successful, their ego and confidence grow with their bank account. If they are unsuccessful at producing results, their confidence suffers and can often spiral down.
4. “There will never be enough money.”
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and very common. People with this money language will either be over-spenders or under-earners, and will keep creating the circumstances to prove this outlook true. They may justify holding on to poorly paid positions or overspending their high income.
5. “Money is bad, the root of all evil.”
These folks equate social problems with a capitalistic society. They find virtuousness, if not righteousness, in living without a lot of material possessions. Their negative opinion of money causes them to take active steps to reassure people that they are apathetic about having money in their life, which leads to destructive financial behavior.
These are only some of what the money languages that work like operating systems do to determine what is possible in your financial life.
What’s true is this: these Money Operating Systems™ control everything until you can see what they are. Once you can see them, you can build systems of behavior around money that change your results. I did — and I know you can, too.
To learn more, please check out my 2013 TEDx talk, The Surprising Power of Language to Make You Rich.
Hilary Hendershott is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.