“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.” – Jonathan Swift
Here are 3 changes plus a bonus that will almost certainly affect your money brain in good ways…
Make more friends.
Every spiritual economics book I’ve ever read counsels that the greatest riches come from the close connections we obtain in community. It’s magical when we find our tribe (and if you believe Dunbar’s Number your tribe will have 150 members in it, plus or minus). Healthy communities become rich in many ways. An exemplary example in my mind is represented in the research by social and biological scientists that resulted in the description of Authoritative Communities entitled, Hardwired to Connect (Note: I would actually change that title to – Live-Wired to Connect, since it more accurately reflects what goes on in our brains).
Here are ten characteristics of Authoritative Communities as identified by the Commission on Children at Risk. Notice how many of them mirror the workings of a healthy brain:
An Authoritative Community 1) is a social institution that includes children and youth; 2) it treats children as ends in themselves; 3) it is warm and nurturing; 4) it establishes clear boundaries and limits; 5) it is defined and guided at least partly by non-specialists; 6) it is multi-generational; 7) it has a long term focus; 8) it encourages spiritual and religious development; 9) it reflects and transmits a shared understanding of what it means to be a good person; 10) it is philosophically oriented to the equal dignity of all persons and to the principle of love of neighbor.
Make a few enemies.
The old shibboleth, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” actually turns out to have some relevance to neuroeconomics. If we posit that growth shows up in the brain as FACES – the acronym UCLA neuropsychiatrist Dan Siegel offers for a super-healthy brain – such an organ would be Flexible, Adaptable, Coherent, Energized and Stable. Basically, able to meet the world in the moment wide awake but not hyperaroused, especially when it comes to money. Only our brains can’t grow and become integrated like that unless we practice. Enemies offer us just the practice opportunities our brain needs.
Enemies can become the fruit we get to put in our spiritual and economic juicer in order to practice creatively growing and integrating our brain’s (and heart’s) neural networks. They are the people who can trigger us and catapult us over the hyperarousal hump. We probably don’t have to go out of our way to deliberately make enemies like that, though. In any community of 150 people our brains are quite capable of accessing and transferring traumatic memories which will morph more than a few of them into pulp fiction – static stories our brain loves to make up about people and set them in the concrete so necessary for us to keep doing our work. We probably want to keep their numbers to a manageable minimum, though.
Offer the world more value.
None of us receives even a dime but that other people give it to us. And there are two primary reasons people give other people money: 1. They receive something of value in exchange; or 2. They love … often, us (refer back to No. 1 just mentioned). That’s it.
If we have a job and receive a paycheck, then our boss is giving us money for the value she places on the time and energy we devote to making the business successful. If we work for ourselves, then people only pay us for goods or services that they receive in exchange. In order to receive more money, find creative ways to increase the real and perceived value of the goods or services you provide.
Additionally, consider spending increasing amounts of time with … people who truly love.
Turn yourself into a master CAO
Everything that’s challenging with each of the above guidelines is challenging primarily for one reason: one way or another they transmit an electrochemical signal that semi-automatically tells our adrenal glands to secrete stress hormones. Among a number of distressing physiological actions, stress hormones tighten the muscles in the body, usually in response to one thing: the scary stories/thoughts our left hemisphere constantly makes up about people, places and things. Continually walking through the world with a tight jaw and tensioned abs doesn’t really feel all that great.
One way to address this surreptitious stress hormone situation is to begin practices that will allow you to become a master CAO – Chief Adrenal Officer (This is where those enemies above come in). CAOs are constantly experimenting with ways to gain conscious mastery over what actions their adrenal medulla and adrenal cortex take throughout any day.
So, there you go. Take on any or all of these directives and be amazed at what happens to your “net worth,” guaranteed.