Last updated on July 5th, 2022 at 02:04 pm
Does anyone remember the TV movie Sybil, starring Sally Field?
It was based on a true story about a woman whose abuse as a child had caused her personality to shatter into multiples. Well, Sybil is inspiring me today, odd as that may sound. A new day is dawning. My moment has arrived. The rubber, she is hitting the road.
It’s time for me to put some traction on my dream of personal finance mastery.
I have set a goal.
It is this: to spend (or not to spend) from a consciousness of value. And I am calling on my own inner Sybils to help me get there.
I don’t mean to make light of the psychological disease of multiple personality disorder. I do mean to suggest that within each of us, there are multiple personalities. If we are psychologically healthy, our inner multiples generally get on well and cooperate to help us function as productive human beings. Since they sing in harmony, we may not always be aware of the different voices within us, and the different purposes they serve.
Here’s what I mean. I discovered that the convenience of money causes me to suffer an unconsciousness of value. Since I am not hauling around a wagon-load of grain to trade for goods I need, I forget to think about what I’m trading and what I”m getting in return. That makes money far, far too easy to spend and to regret later.
The personality within me that is responsible for that behavior is one I learned about from the Kolbe A Index, which designates me a QuickStart. A QuickStart loves ideas and innovation. Not so good with follow through and just about hopeless with implementation, a QuickStart is like a crow attracted to shiny objects, one right after the other.
My QuickStart loves lives to buy on impulse.
Books, yarn, software, gadgets – these are catnip to the QuickStart. She is powerless before them.
Fortunately, I’ve got another personality that I can call on to modulate QuickStart when she’s about to go on a spending bender. Enter Strategic – one of the five strengths attributed to me by the Strengthsfinder 2.0 assessment. Where QuickStart is a regular fountain of ideas, Strategic excels at anticipating twists and turns and thinking ahead. These two make a good pair.
My inner Strategic came up with a plan to steer clear of impulsive spending. It’s a simple plan, just three small steps that even QuickStart can get behind.
Here’s the plan…
Any time I feel QuickStart emerging to make an impulse buy, I am going to invoke Strategic to do 3 things:
1. Write down the item and the price.
QuickStart adores the little journal I bought for just this purpose. Yes, I do see the irony in that remark.
2. Have my second thoughts first.
That means, step out of the store, or turn away from Amazon.com, and think purposefully and with focus about what I will actually do with the object of my impulse, when I will do it, and how much I expect to enjoy it. BEFORE handing over any money. QuickStart will love this because it’s imaginative – and being imaginative is her favorite thing.
3. Not buy it for a minimum of 48 hours. Maybe even not buy it at all!
QuickStart won’t like walking away, but she’s darned distracting. Within an hour or so, it’ll be old news.
I test-drove this little system recently, and it worked pretty well. I did not buy some yarn to make a sweater I had forgotten all about. (I had to put that in italics, it’s that significant!)
Strategic concluded after only a few moments’ thought that it would not be $100 worth of enjoyable to bring the yarn home and put it in a closet until I finish the other 3 sweaters that I already have on the needles. Even QuickStart found that a boring prospect.
Getting out of the yarn store without spending even one thin dime made me do a little dance. It was awesome. I was in control!
If you have a big dream that is not happening, here is my advice:
- Get to know yourself in all your permutations, and designate some inner Sybils to help you move things along.
- Use your strengths, rather than trying to wrestle your weaknesses to the ground.
- Take small steps that aren’t scary. Even the small victories feel great.
- Celebrate your accomplishments, every single one.
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