Arbitrary Financial Rules of Life: The Cause of Most Suffering

Human beings have a tendency to create arbitrary rules, judgments, classifications, meanings and hence, emotions about the ‘stuff’ of our lives. I’ve heard it said more than once that we’re Meaning Making Machines. And it’s those meanings that we contrive that get us into trouble every day, in more ways than one.

Take the arbitrary rule that families ‘should’ spend holidays together. Who said? And what policeman is going to come arrest you if you decide to go to Cancun some December instead?

Take the arbitrary judgment that rich people are greedy. Who said? And if this is so, why do so many philanthropists exist?

Take the arbitrary classification that if you live in a big house you are rich and if you rent a room in someone’s home and write all day, you are poor. Who said? What if the person living in the room simply wants simple and quiet and the people living in the big house owe more on the house than they have equity in it?

Take the arbitrary meaning that if you’re not totally passionate and happy with what you do for a living, you can’t possibly become rich. Who said? It was only a couple of decades ago (at the most) that human beings decided that we need to “love what we do and the money will follow.” (We talked about this just last week.)

The ideas of wealthy and not wealthy and what it means to be those things is so arbitrary. We all know happy poor people and sad rich people and everything in between.

The following story is a perfect illustration of this idea and I just wanted to share it with you. Enjoy…


One day, the father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the express purpose of showing him how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, ‘How was the trip?’

‘It was great, Dad.’

‘Did you see how poor people live?’ the father asked.

‘Oh yeah,’ said the son.

‘So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?’ asked the father.

The son answered:

‘I saw that we have one dog and they had four.

We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end.

We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.

We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

We have servants who serve us, but they serve others.

We buy our food, but they grow theirs.

We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.’

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, ‘Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.’

End of story…

So you see, as we’ve heard over and over again, life is relative and it’s often only with contrast that you get to see your life compared to someone else’s and see an alternative that you probably didn’t know existed for you.

When people say they ‘can’t’ move or are ‘stuck’, it’s often due to one of three things (or all of those things together):

1) They don’t know there are other options.

2) They are so fearful of change that they won’t choose another option even if they know it exists.

3) They really don’t want the other option badly enough (or goodly enough:-).

Your Wealth Work for today (like homework but better):

1) Look around your world and notice how you classify people, places, things, situations, etc. financially.

2) Ask  yourself if those classifications are actually true (most of the time you will find they aren’t).

Financial Stress

3) Notice if those classifications cause you emotional distress in any way, be it comparing you to that other person, place or thing or feeling badly about yourself or negative emotions about another person. Could be practically anything.

4) Know that the information you are discovering in the first three pieces of this process are leading to your financial challenges in ways that you don’t have a clue.

5) If you haven’t done so, please invest in the book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, by T. Harv Eker. It’s the best book about there on financial beliefs and it changes people’s lives for the better when they consume it. Notice I didn’t say read it. I said invest in it and consume it.

I reread this book yearly and continue to learn more and more things about myself in terms of money, wealth, investing and a lot more. The deeper you go with yourself, the deeper you’ll be able to go the next time you take in the material.

Just something to think about!

p.s. If you really want to go deep, sign up for Eker’s Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar. It’s usually free but in this case, you don’t get what you pay for. You get life-change in a big way and I highly recommend the program. I’ve been through almost all of his seminars and loved them. Learned a ton and am where I am partly because of his programs. Check them out…