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The Neuroscience of Money Mindset: What to Know

Emily Williams

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Is your mindset blocking you from making the kind of money you desire? Have you always dreamed of building a business that allows you to live a life of luxury, filled with all of the finer things? And, despite your hopes and wishes, do you have a niggling feeling you can’t seem to escape that tells you it’s just not possible for you, or that you don’t deserve it?

The good news is that you can liberate yourself from limiting beliefs and break through the income barriers, if you’re willing to do the necessary work on your mindset. It goes without saying that in order to change the mind, we must first learn how the brain works. So let’s get a little geeky and talk neuroscience, shall we?

I first want to introduce you to the concept of fixed and growth mindset, because if you want to step into the space of abundance and make more money than you are right now, you’re going to want to harness the power of a growth mindset and the magic of expansion.

Fixed vs. Growth mindset

Contrary to what many people think, the human brain doesn’t stop developing after childhood. It’s true that fluid intelligence (related to problem-solving) begins to decrease, while crystallized intelligence (related to facts and experiences) continues to increase. Nonetheless, throughout your whole life, your brain is constantly evolving and changing; knowledge can be adopted, and your mindset can be adapted and improved through learning and retraining.

Psychologist Carol Dweck of Stanford University was one of the first people to research the concept of fixed vs. growth mindsets. In her work, she defined them as:

  • Fixed mindset: people believe that their intelligence is fixed and static.
  • Growth mindset: people believe that their intelligence and talents can be improved through effort and learning.

In Dr. Dweck’s own words, those with a fixed mindset think that “they have a certain amount [of intelligence] and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb”.

On the other hand, those with a growth mindset understand that knowledge is something that’s accrued over time, and even see setbacks and failures as a necessary part of the process! Generally speaking, people that exhibit a growth mindset are more motivated and less likely to give up when the going gets tough… so as you can see, it’s absolutely necessary that you are able to shift into this mindset in order to see the level of success you want to in your business!

This is nowhere truer than in relation to money.

When it comes to mindset work, wealth generation is one of the most important areas to address, as so many of us (no—all of us) have pre-existing beliefs at play, rooting right back to our childhood conditioning.

We’re told from a young age that money doesn’t grow on trees, to be grateful for what we have, and even given the impression that those who do have money are evil. Of course, as we grow, and so too do our desires, we come to know that none of this is even remotely true (well, apart from the growing on trees bit). 

Or at least we think we know, but in reality, it’s not so simple… because your subconscious mind is running the show. It makes up 90% of your total brain function, so rewriting how you think about money is no easy task.

Now, if you’re not just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, you’re probably thinking, Emily, I know this, I’m a 6 or 7 figure business owner, I’ve done the work, I’ve made the money—but let me assure you that this work never ends. Sure, you might have journaled on your thoughts and feelings around money and pinpointed where your stories stem from, but that is not enough to change the inner workings of your mind.

Even today, at multiple 7 figures, I still work regularly on my money mindset (and not just because it’s what I practice what I preach, because the line of thinking that got me from 6 to 7 figures won’t get me to 8. Thankfully, neuroscience has the answers when it comes to being able to change the way our brain works, think more positively about money and adopt a growth mindset with regards to accruing wealth, as award-winning Neurolinguist, Dr Vanessa McIntosh explains…

“It’s been scientifically proven that our brains are neuroplastic, adaptable beyond measure. Studies on patients with brain damage (e.g. those who’ve suffered a stroke and those who’ve been afflicted by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s) have been monumental in neuroplasticity discoveries. For example, people with aphasia, a disorder of language which causes problems with either comprehension or production, have fully recovered, despite having disruption to the neurons involved in those particular functions.

People with Wernicke’s aphasia, for example, present with comprehension problems caused by damage to the left hemisphere (side of the brain), whereas people with Broca’s aphasia present with production problems caused by damage to the right hemisphere. Neuroimaging, however, shows that in patients that fully recover, the left hemisphere of the brain activates when the patient is successfully producing language (even though that’s not usually involved in language production) and vice versa. The different areas, Wernicke’s and Broca’s, come to perform tasks they’re not designed for, due to neuroplasticity.

I give this example because people often question how well NLP (neurolinguistic programming) tools and techniques can work, and my response is that if the brain can rewire itself for speech and language, why wouldn’t it be able to do so for money mindset issues and so on? Of course it could. And in fact, there is even evidence to suggest that the brain is much more neuroplastic than that.

Don’t believe me? Take hemispherectomies for another example. A hemispherectomy is a brain surgery that’s necessary in severe neurological conditions like epilepsy and involves the full removal of one hemisphere. In theory, hemispherectomies should be devastating and debilitating. Each half of the brain is responsible for wildly different functions, yes the comprehension and production of language as described above, but even controlling different sides of the body. And yet, if a hemispherectomy is performed up until the teenage years, when half of the brain is removed, say the right side, the other half, the left, has the capability to rewire itself into a whole new right brain.”

Pretty incredible, right? Miracles like these are available to us all, but of course, we have to be willing to do the work necessary to facilitate these rewires. Which, going back to my previous point, pretty much depends on whether you’re someone of a fixed or growth mindset. The fundamental psychological difference between those who are financially successful and those who aren’t is that those who are believe financial success is possible for them. As a result, they are keen and eager to engage in the money mindset work that will afford them that financial success. Many, many people don’t see financial success as an option at all, and so instead of making efforts to achieve money goals, stay stuck in their monthly cycles, under earning and over spending, living hand to mouth, or even engaging in feast/famine behaviours, complaining that they will never have the riches or wealth that they long and yearn for. 

Now, with that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of simple ways (I promise!) in which you can work towards a healthier relationship with money using neurolinguistic programming, shall we?

Making over your money mindset

There are two things I would like to introduce you to that will help you step into the energy of abundance.

1. Notice the power your words hold

The first requires you to pay close attention to the language you use when you speak to yourself about money. The words and phrases you choose to apply to particular things is a great indicator as to how you feel about them, and by consciously changing what you say, you are able to create new pathways in your brain and link new emotions to the subject—in our case, cash!

Let’s try an example:

  • First, think of the vision you have for your life and business and imagine yourself achieving it. Spend a few moments basking in the glory of your accomplishments. Then, ask yourself: “What is possible?”. 
  • Next, think of everything you don’t have in your life or business, but crave. Think about why you don’t have those things, and how much you wish you could have them. Ask yourself: “Why isn’t this possible for me?”.

Notice how each of these statements makes you feel. Your words and the feelings you attach to them are incredibly powerful, so start making a conscious effort to flip the script.

One NLP tool most people I work with know about and use occasionally is affirmations, which can be used to slowly but surely shift your perspective from a negative to a positive one. Other things you could try include the NLP swish, modeling or mirroring techniques (let me know if you would like me to write a blog post that explores these powerful tools in more detail!).

2. Recognize that abundance is a state of mind

Next, you must make the realization that abundance isn’t something that you attain once you reach a certain financial milestone. In fact, it doesn’t have to be related to your bank balance at all. Learn to tap into the energy of abundance by slowing down and taking time to appreciate all of the wonderful things you have available to you right now. Look at your surroundings, what do you love about your home? How does it make you feel? Safe, secure, held, warmly welcomed? When you visit 5* hotels, luxurious spas or exotic locations, be sure to harness the energy of prosperity. Each and every time you purchase a luxury item—everything from a glass of champagne to a Chanel handbag—take time to delight in the abundance of it. Being intentional about shifting your state of mind to default to feeling wealthy in this way will work to change the way your brain thinks about money. It will prove to you that everything you hope and dream of is possible for you, influencing the way you act, which will in turn make it happen for you.

I really hope this blog post helped you better understand your brain, and that you’re looking forward to implementing the tips and tricks I shared, lovely!

If you’re wanting to dive deeper into your money mindset work, I recommend taking our I Heart Money Course! It’s a step-by-step course where you’ll learn how to remove money blocks, transform your relationship with money, make more money and uplevel your life in every way imaginable. 

Learn how to become your most successful self, attract abundance, and create a life better than your dreams…

Click here to take I Heart Money.

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