What words do you associate with money? Evil, confusing, never enough? Empowering, choice, opportunity? Everyone has their own set of words to describe money but there is usually a common theme: money is emotional.
At a recent Social Impact Learning and Support Group (SIGroup), we braved this emotional topic and dug into the history of money. We explored how money mindsets get passed down through generations, and how with greater awareness we can make conscious spending decisions that align with our values.
Read on for ideas and resources on growing your assets with purpose!
3 Toxic Myths about Money
Money is a system invented to facilitate sharing of resources. If you think about it, money doesn’t have to exist. It’s not a universal truth like gravity. And since its invention, money’s purpose has shifted. It is now used by some to dominate, manipulate, and control. How did we get here?
SIGroup conversation starter, Kim Carmichael, started our discussion by sharing toxic money myths outlined in Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life.
Myth 1: There’s not enough.
When we believe there’s not enough money, we’re always chasing and never happy. We are more likely to take on a competition mindset and engage in money-related conflict . This glass-half-full perspective generally keeps us in a space of lack and negativity.
Myth 2: More is better.
If more is better, then what we have is never good enough. Also, our planet’s resources are finite. Not everyone can have more. This myth sets up the expectation for the impossible.
Myth 3: It’s just the way it is.
Perhaps the most toxic of the three myths is when we accept things the way they are. Without questioning, we do not imagine alternatives to systems that are not working.
TIP: Being aware of these myths is one way to begin combating them. Another way is to remember that money is an invention. This will help distance ourselves from the power that money seems to have over us and everything around us. From there, we can begin to embrace sufficiency.
Between scarcity and abundance, is the sweet spot of sufficiency.
In a world where abundance is celebrated, what if we celebrated sufficiency instead?
Sufficiency and enough are different from abundance. Sufficiency or enough is exact. Your needs are met precisely. You are met by the universe. You are satiated, at peace, and whole.
We actually live in a world where there is enough to go around, but the reality is that people are left behind. Our systems of economy, governance, religion, etc. are not going to change quickly but each one of us can create ripple effects that affect the greater world.
TIP: When we brainstorm ways to support others, philanthropy probably comes to mind. It’s important to remember that philanthropy means “love of humanity.” We can make a difference through money AND other means. For example, you can share assets and build capital in the following ways.
Types of Capital:
- Financial capital – Money
- Built capital – Buildings, machinery, infrastructure, information
- Human capital – Skills & education, health & well-being
- Social capital – Civic society, associations, networks
- Ecological capital – Green spaces, rivers and streams, fresh air, climate
- Cultural capital – Language, dialect, music, art, dance, festivals, history
We brainstormed ways to develop these forms of capital through the investment of our time, money, and energy. Hope these ideas will inspire you!
- Align spending habits with things that really add value to you life
- Buy only what you need
- Spend 1 week to evaluate the intention behind purchases to develop awareness
- Buy second hand
- Purchase from small & local businesses / social enterprises / B corps / Farmers Markets
- Grow your own food
- Make your own meals
- Fix and upcycle belongings
- Bank with a credit union
- Support responsible investing and community investing
- Switch to a green energy provider
- Use green web hosting
- Bike more
- Use bike and car shares
- Get involved with collaborative economy (e.g. Thingery, GuesttoGuest)
- Commit to volunteering
- Build connections
- Honour wisdom of elders
- Engage with strangers
- Talk to friends and family about your Why
- Have open conversations about money
- Give to good causes
- Create financial goals
- Keep a budget and break it when needed
- Dedicate time to meditation
- Be present when you drink tea
- Contribute to raising global consciousness
- Do work that has impact
- The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
- The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland, Adam Grubb
- The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist
And with that, here’s a quote from The Soul of Money to keep you thinking:
Money is like water, a carrier of our commitment, of our courage, of our love, of our energy, of our highest commitment and aspiration for the world in which we live. When money flows it can nourish, it can cleanse, it can purify, it can make things grow. But just like water, if it gets held and stagnant it can grow toxic to those who are holding it. When we hold it from greed and fear, the money doesn’t service any longer. We become trapped in it.
When you make a difference with what you have, it expands. Collaboration creates prosperity. True abundance flows from enough; never from more. Money carries our intention. If we use it with integrity, then it carries integrity forward. Know the flow—take responsibility for the way your money moves in the world. Let your soul inform your money and your money express your soul. Access your assets—not only money but also your own character and capabilities, your relationships and other nonmoney resources.”
Thanks again to Kim Carmichael for guiding us through this money conversation!
Kim can be described as an imaginative idealist who sees the potential for a better future and is inspired to co-create a new paradigm to a “just” sustainable economy. Connect with Kim on LinkedIn.
Join us for a future dialogue!
The Social Impact Learning & Support Group is an open community of kind-hearted people in Vancouver, BC. We meet each month to discuss impact-related topics that touch our personal and professional lives. Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates and recaps like this.