July 19, 2024


The Intersection of Information and Insight

Why You Need Some Space Between Thinking and Doing – It Will Make You Richer!

4 min read

I’m going to assume for a minute that you’re one of the millions of people who have a recurrently frustrating relationship with spending.

It probably starts with a commitment to sticking to your budget, and you do for a few days.

Then, despite your resolve, you break down, pull out the credit card and do something that you promised you wouldn’t.

You wake up in the morning ashamed and resolve never to do it again.

Then you repeat.

Been there?

Done that?

Frustrated, you wonder what’s wrong.

You’re smart, you’re successful, and when you set your mind to something, you’re able to do it.

I think we can all relate.

If not money, insert food.

So what can we do about this problem of knowing we should act one way but repeatedly doing something different?

The answer lies in understanding the relationship between the stimulus to do something, how we respond and a little secret I’ll share in a minute.

But first, here’s the problem as I see it:

Almost all personal finance advice focuses on controlling the stimulus or your response to it.

Gurus tell you to stop looking at Instagram, stay off Facebook, fire all your non frugal friends and disown your spendthrift family members.

That is an effort to control the stimulus.

Then, you’re told to control your response.

Most of this advice centres on making it painful to spend.

Cut up your credit cards. Use only cash.

Track, review and feel bad about your spending.

It works until it doesn’t anymore.

You can’t ignore all the voices screaming at you to spend, and making spending painful increases the feelings of shame when we do something wrong.

It only leads to more spending as a form of self-medicating.

So here’s the little secret I promised, and it’s not mine.

It’s most often attributed to Viktor Frankl.

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