Want more money? Thank your Christmas tree.

This weekend, we put up our Christmas tree.

Since then, I hugged it and thanked it every day.

I thanked it for giving its life to light up my house and my life.

I thanked it for being so full and beautiful.

I thanked it for having strong branches that keep all of our silly ornaments without dropping them.

I thanked it for sparkling so beautifully under the weight of the lights and decorations – just for us.

I thanked it because, by its nature, it was selfless. Maybe not by choice, but the end result was the same – it fills my heart with joy every day as I work right next to it and get to take little peeks and long glances at it, daydreaming of flurries and battles in the snow.

My Christmas tree isn’t the only thing that gets thanks.

This is my favorite working spot. I have my kitties (the second one you can see lying on the chair in the kitchen), my Christmas tree, and my laptop. What else could I want?

This is my favorite working spot. I have my kitties (the second one you can see lying on the chair in the kitchen), my Christmas tree, and my laptop. What else could I want?

I thank my fridge for keeping my food cold and lasting longer.

I thank my comfy armchair for keeping me cozy and comfortable while I work.

I thank my kitties for giving me endless entertainment and love.

I thank my body for allowing me to do all of the things I’m doing. I thank my husband for supporting me with love, care, and tenderness every day.

I don’t take these things for granted, because I’ve learned that I’m unhappier when I do.

When I don’t take the time to think of all of the things I’ve been blessed with, I’m needy. I’m wasteful. I crave more luxuries, more stuff, more time, and when I get it, I still only want more.

This is most obvious when it comes to money.

When all I think of is that I don’t have enough money, that I need more, I am frantic and desperate. I’m stressed out. I’m worried. Everything I do to get that money feels slimy and fake.

In her book Money: A Love Story, Kate Northrup (such an amazing and inspiring woman) explains a concept that is so close to common-sense we usually don’t even realize it:

MONEY = VALUE

She explains that money is fake (duh, you didn’t think your paper bills actually held any intrinsic value, did you?) and is only used as a universal way to exchange value.

The problem is that being focused on money puts you in a mindset that is completely incompatible with creating value.

The phrase “I need more money” comes from fear. The fear of being poor, the fear of not having enough, the fear of not getting enough for the work that you do. This fear puts you in survival mode, which triggers the fight-or-flight response.

Suppose there’s a sunny path that winds around some but eventually takes you to the top of the mountain you want to climb. From the bottom of the mountain, it looks like that path is going to take longer to get you to the top. It’s tempting to climb over the steep side of the mountain instead. It looks like that way will get you to the top faster.

By taking the winding road, you are having an overall better time and higher chances of reaching the top of the mountain. However, if all you can think of is getting to the top faster, you will be miserable. The only way you will enjoy the experience is if you focus on the process of walking along this beautiful path, taking in the scenery and going at a pace that feels right to you.

By taking the steep side of the mountain, you face a much higher risk of falling and having to start over, and might injure yourself. By the time you get to the top, you might be too exhausted to be able to appreciate and enjoy having reached the top.

The winding road represents a focus on offering value to the world. When all you think about is “how can I offer the most value” or “how can I help people the most”, you are operating from the love center of your brain, and are opening up your creativity and genius. Since you are creating value, you will eventually start making money (maybe more than you think) as long as you continue to maintain this mindset.

The steep slope represents a focus on making money. By focusing only on the outcome, you are bypassing the process that allows you to create it organically. Just like pesticides focus only on the desired outcome and end up having more unwanted side effects that create imbalances in our environment (like killing off bees), by focusing only on making money you are flipping the fight-or-flight switch on and precluding yourself from being able to access your full ability to create value. Any value you do create will be imbalanced and feel “off” or fake.

What if you’re already focused on making money? How do you switch?

The key to switching your mindset from money-focused to value-focused is gratitude.

Gratitude creates awareness of the abundance that is already in your life, and turns off the fight-or-flight switch. It also turns on the love switch, which puts you in a more generous and loving mood, perfect for expressing your creativity to offer real value to the world!

So go ahead and thank your Christmas tree, your food, your stove, your couch, your comfy bed and cozy house, and most importantly the people around you: your husband or wife, your children, your parents. I’ll wait.

After you’ve made your “gratitude tour”, come back and tell me: What is the first thing you will do to create more value?

Note: This post was inspired by Marie Forleo’s video from today “6 little money mindset shifts that pay off huge.” I had been mulling over  these things for a long time but watching that video finally got my butt in gear. She gives some great advice so be sure to head over to watch it!

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Comments

  1. Great points you’ve raised here. When we shift our focus into creating value and stop chasing money, money will find us.

  2. Hi Laura
    This is so true.
    Christie Marie Sheldon has done a study on energy scale. Things like guilt, apathy, grief and fear score 30, 50 75 and 100 respectively.
    Acceptance (350), reason (400), Love (500), Joy (540), Peace (600) and enlightenment (700).She did not state an energy scale for gratitude but it will be with all the positive things.
    I am grateful for my family, friends and everything that I have.
    You are right that when we are grateful we are able to make better decisions and be more creative.
    I am grateful for your post today .
    Raj

  3. Hi Laura
    The study I quoted by Christie Marie Sheldon was not in fact done by her.I got that information from another source.
    After reading your reply I looked it up and it was Dr David Hawkins who did the study and wrote a book, Power vs Force.
    Sorry about that. Among the searches I did I found out that Gratitude scale is between 600- 800.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards
    Raj

  4. I totally love the idea of a Gratitude Tour! Thank you for sharing this, Laura!

  5. Gratitude Tour, what a powerful element to add to our lives. I love this so much I’m going to do this with my daughters! Thank you for this, my first stop will be to my body (without it I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I have) and my pup (without his silliness I would probably never step away from my computer during the day)…very interested to see what each of my kids will do.

  6. First thing I will do today create value: making holiday presents for my neighbors who I am grateful for every day. I want them to know how much I value them and their friendship. Starting the cookies now!

  7. Wonderful concepts. I used many positive concepts, like gratitude, in my SmokEnder method which I created to help me escape the tenacious hold cigarettes had on me for 22 years. My gratitude to be FREE of that devil on my back allowed me to offer that to other smokers. Now over 2,000,000 smokers around the world have benefitted. Almost 45 years later, I’m still grateful and still working to help smokers get their freedom from addiction, so I’m updating my book, You Can Stop Smoking and working on a new one to help people who have quit other than SmokEnders. It’s called “So you quit smoking…again? Here’s how to stay quit.” I’m 90 now and still motivated by gratitude.

  8. I do believe the power of gratitude brings such abundance in our lives in so many ways! I love the concept of thanking anything that brings you joy and happiness! Great post!

  9. I love Kate’s book (and her name ;) ) It does seem so obvious doesn’t it?! That money = value. I thought about that today as I gave a client a “deal” on her rates. We can meet in the middle and if we both feel happy about the value for the dollar spent – the more fruitful our relationship can become. The winding road up the mountain side with all of its views from different angles is such a brilliant visual. Thanks for sharing that.

  10. “For each new morning with its light,
    For rest and shelter of the night,
    For health and food, for love and friends,
    For everything Thy goodness sends.”
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

  11. That is magnificent, Laura! I am working on my abundance mentallity, specially in this month. But I had forgotten that thankfullnes is the key to bring more value to your life and make that switch from fear to confidence.

    I actually think that money is just a way of exchange. But I havent looked it in the terms that you put it. You go further, I mean, I think about working to have money in order to exchange it for paying the rent, buy my food, etc. But I forgot to see the value that my work is offering to others.

    So, I am thankfull for your post in the comments of MarieTV episode because it remainds me an important thing I needed to have in account also: to think how would I feel if I had more more money to achive my goals. That is a great example to follow. I will do that. Thankyou.

    Last but no least. I would like to traduce a phrase from the book http://www.pequenocerdocapitalista.com “Rich is the one who can carry out her plans without the money to be an obstacle”

    XO

  12. Loved this article! I’ve recently started a Gratitude journal, where each morning I write down 5 things I’m grateful for. I felt silly when I first started writing down things such as books, stove, etc. because they seem so small and insignificant. But, it really is a matter of perspective and not taking things for granted.

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