Hello #Bedshour and Bedford folks. Now this isn’t one of my articles but I really enjoyed the read and it got me thinking. Why do I get such a buzz from shopping and the bigger the spend the bigger the buzz? Why do some people get buyers’ remorse? What happens when we simplify our life and spend much less? When is enough money enough?!
Money & Happiness
Would you ever guess that one of the VPs at JP Morgan Chase has also authored children’s books? Or that the same man is also a Grammy award-winning jazz album producer, and has written a book that is slated to be one of the top 15 business books coming out this year? How about that the guy who fits both of these descriptions has also traveled the world researching the origins of money and how it affects us?
Meet Kabir Sehgal. All of the above statements about him are true.
His new book, Coined, looks at the neuroscience behind our relationship with money, where it came from, and where it’s going. Even if you’re not into all that, you’ll be deeply interested when you hear Kabir explain how our brain reacts to even the touch of money. I couldn’t stop asking him questions about his research and how money affects us all.
Money’s Impact On Our Biology
Money truly has a profound impact on us. The effect money has on our biology is incredible — and it can shape our lives in ways we didn’t know. Just saying the word money can stimulate your skin, and actually touching it can numb your senses.
Money activates regions of the brain from the reward and fear centers in the exact same way as someone who is about to do a hit of cocaine. That’s a pretty powerful effect. Even the idea of gaining money is more exciting on a subconscious level than actually receiving money.
Do you know anyone that plays the lottery or gambles often? Have you ever asked them why they do? They’d probably say it’s because they might win.
That thrill from the possibility of winning comes from a cognitive bias called availability heuristics: things that are more readily available to your memory start to inflate the idea that the same thing is going to happen for you.
Money And Genetics
Our genes interact with money on a level so deep that it can affect your FICO score (which is your credit rating). That’s because there are genes that give you a predisposition to take greater or lesser risks. That means a lot of our financial decisions are made on a subconscious level.
Money is deeply evolutionary — we associate money with the ability to do… anything.
You can even test the impact money can have on people for yourself the next time you go for drinks with friends. When it comes time for you to pay for the next round of drinks just tell everyone that you’ve decided you’re not going to. Watch the reactions and energy shift — it’s amazing. You go from being a stand-up friend to the jerk who’s freeloading. Because you didn’t honor the currency — the social debt.
Money Through History
Anthropologists have gone back to look at societies and their relationship with money. Before there was physical currency, they used bartering. Even back in ancient Mesopotamia (4000 BC) there were debt and loan instruments because there has always been the need for something we don’t have (food, shelter, water, etc.).
The part of the brain that activates when money is destroyed is the same part of the brain that is involved in toolmaking. Ever heard the phrase, “Money is a tool?” It’s not an empty metaphor. There’s a neurological basis involving our reactions to money – gaining it, losing it, and seeing it destroyed or wasted – that triggers a natural response to survival.
Money And Happiness
There’s even some research done on how much money is “enough.” There’s some evidence that once you hit a certain level of income, your life doesn’t improve that much more the more you make. Once you are able to take care of your health and your stability, and the stability of your family and loved ones, the need for money should decrease.
But some peoples’ reaction and connection to money is so strong that they will go far beyond their basic necessities, working long hours and neglecting other parts of their life to achieve some sort of happiness that comes with the increase of money and the promise of more.
This is interesting because money is frequently discussed in religion in the same light. In the book of Matthew, 80% of the parables are about money. Across all the faiths there’s a different type of logic than what we act on now, and that logic is “less is more.”
It’s only in pursuing money that you realize that it’s not the end all be all. You need it to take care of yourself and your family, but as you age you learn that there is more to life.
Money is a symbol of value. It represents many different things to us. But how we react to it, how we measure our own successes and failures by our finances, is something most people don’t consider.
Take The Money Challenge:
My challenge to you is to start to really pay attention to what money does to your mind and brain. What the purchasing of items does — when you spend too much on something, when you choose not to spend on something — and how far a certain amount of money can get you.
Once you start to realize the effect money has on your life and your mind, maybe you can start to be more mindful in what you do with your money
Listen to the whole podcast here:
Lewis Howes is an online marketing expert, sought-after business coach, author, podcaster, and lifestyle entrepreneur. A former pro football player, collegiate football record holder, two-sport All-American, and current USA Men’s National Handball team member, he is the host of The School of Greatness podcast, which has been downloaded by millions since its iTunes launch in January of 2013. Howes has built multi-million dollar online education business and Details Magazine as one of “5 Internet Gurus Who Can Make You Rich.”
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