Prosperity, and happiness, are often conflated with “maximization.” The more we have, the happier we’ll be, right? Well, not exactly. It’s not in what we have that leads to Prosperity, it’s how we use it. That’s why we choose to focus on optimizing finances in the Prosperity Economics Movement. Similarly, happiness doesn’t come from things. Happiness is about mindset, and if you don’t manage yours, it will manage you.
There’s plenty that you can add into your life to make it more rich. Yet there are also habits that may actually detract from your journey to a Prosperity Mindset.
5 Habits Keeping You From Prosperity
1. Consuming Negative News
In stressful times, it’s easy to “rubberneck,” or get sucked into the negative cycle of information. A negative story can instantly pull us from more joyful times. Let’s face it: the drama is addicting. The American Psychological Association even reports:
“More than half of Americans say the news causes them stress, and many report feeling anxiety, fatigue or sleep loss as a result, the survey shows. Yet one in 10 adults checks the news every hour, and fully 20% of Americans report “constantly” monitoring their social media feeds — which often exposes them to the latest news headlines, whether they like it or not.”
It’s that very addiction to negative media that keeps us from being more joyful in our day-to-day lives. While we believe that it is important to stay informed, it’s equally important to protect your thoughts against the fear and uncertainty the media peddles, regardless of your political beliefs.
Instead, we recommend limiting your news and media consumption to thirty minutes or fewer per day. Not only will you have more time in your day, you’ll likely feel more refreshed. Maybe you’ll find the extra time in your day can be spent doing things you wished you had more time for anyway—reading, exercising, journaling, or spending time with loved ones.
2. Fulfilling “Obligations”
How much of your time do you spend doing things you dread out of a sense of obligation? Too often, people complete tasks that bring them little to no fulfillment. Of course, in life it’s impossible to remove unpleasant tasks entirely. However, you may have more leeway than you think.
The 80/20 rule is a concept that suggests 20% of your actions create 80% of your results. Using this rule, you can analyze the time you spend completing tasks. Every quarter or so, ask yourself these two questions:
- What are the 20% of things that cause 80% of my unhappiness?
- What are the 20% of things that cause 80% of my happiness?
For the tasks or things that bring you unhappiness, look for ways to eliminate them from your life. Setting boundaries in your professional life can help you reduce work-related obligations. Finding help and delegating tasks that feel like chores can reduce activities that drain you. Allowing relationships that no longer fulfill you to run their course can improve your social life.
On the flip side, fill your time with more of the things you love. Seek and ask for more projects that you love from your boss or clients. Prioritize relationships that are important to you. Schedule time to do things you enjoy doing, simply because you enjoy them.
When you learn to audit your time using the 80/20 rule, you can greatly reduce the feeling of obligation in your life. There may be things that you must do, however they’re more likely to be things that you also want to do. The productivity that follows can lead you to Prosperity.
3. Fueling Relationships That Drain You
When we fuel draining relationships, it’s often out of “obligation.” When you feel you owe your time and effort to a relationship, it’s hard to leave. However, these types of relationships can leave you feeling unproductive, upset, and drained.
It’s hard to lose relationships, whether personal or professional. However, in draining relationships, someone is always losing. Someone with a negative mindset, for example, may put a damper on your mood. When you get sucked into their way of thinking, it can affect you in the long term. In other instances, you could have a great rapport with a client or co-worker, only to never really make progress on projects together. In a win-lose relationship, you must remember to take care of your own wants. In a lose-lose relationship, you’ll both be better off from a change.
Ultimately, there are people that you will have great synergy with. You’ll give each other energy, and you’ll do more together than you could do alone. Seek to fuel these relationships, which will leave you feeling fulfilled and excited about what’s next. You have complete control over the relationships in your life. Set boundaries where necessary, have the tough conversations, and find comfort in those who lift you up.
4. Placing Too Much Emphasis on the Opinions of Others
“I used to care about what other people thought of me until one day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions.”Unknown
It’s important to have a vision for your future, so you can set your trajectory. However, it’s all too easy to overemphasize the opinions of others when chasing your dreams. When you filter your actions through the opinions and perceptions of others, you diminish your own joy. There’s too much pressure to be perfect, and that pressure can keep you from missing the mark.
Rather than striving to maintain everyone’s opinion of you, it’s important to first filter your actions through what you want. How do you want to show up in the world? What steps do you want to take? And what skills do you want to hone?
Once you make decisions based on your vision, and not how people will think of you, you unload the weight from your shoulders. You put yourself back in control of what you want, which is a Principle of Prosperity. Your choices, and therefore your happiness and Prosperity, are nobody’s but your own.
As a litmus test, you can ask yourself these questions:
- If I couldn’t tell a single person about this achievement, would I still want to pursue it?
- If this action doesn’t make me “better” in my own eyes, would I still choose it?
5. “Filling the Void” with Material Things
Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding of Prosperity is that it’s about material things. “If I have more stuff, I’ll be Prosperous and happy.” However, the attachment to material things as happiness only holds you back. You’ll find that no matter how much you buy, you’ll still want more.
The joy you feel from receiving packages or buying new things will ultimately fade, and you crave it all over again. This cycle can lead to poor spending habits and even poorer savings habits as you attempt to fill the void.
That’s not to say that you should never enjoy your money, or material things. A part of Prosperity is having the freedom to use your money as you see fit. The difference is that in one scenario, you’re continually attaching your happiness to things. In the other scenario, you’re creating experiences that you enjoy and have removed the idea that having something will create your happiness.
In other words, if you aren’t happy without something, you won’t be happy with it. In order to release yourself, you must be able to find happiness in the act of being. Filling your time with activities and people you love, and being grateful for where you are, will help you find happiness. Then you won’t need to attach that feeling to material things—they’ll simply become tools.
Create Your Own Happiness
Prosperity is so much more than having piles of money. Prosperity is the ability to be in the driver’s seat of your own life. Having a strong financial picture gives you the freedom and certainty to do more. However, a Prosperity Mindset is an essential component. By replacing these 5 habits keeping you from Prosperity, you can live a happier, more fulfilled life.
Knowing that there’s abundance—of time, of joy, of things to be grateful for, of resources—allows you to live in that place of certainty. To cultivate this Mindset, you must prioritize the things that make you happy. Release yourself from things and people that feel obligatory, choose to do things that lift your thoughts, and set your sights on your vision.
If you’re ready to take ownership of your own Prosperity, and would like to work with a Prosperity Economics Advisor, contact us today. One of our advisors will be in touch to see if they’re a right fit to help you create strategies that work in service of your vision.