I thought about writing “Ten Pieces of Personal Finance Advice We Should Retire in 2011” but after reflecting on it, the idea seemed a bit petty and negative, even if it had the potential for a few chuckles. After all, good advice is good advice and I know from experience just how hard it is to come up with truly unique personal finance advice.
What I’ve grown to realize is that personal finance can’t and shouldn’t be isolated from self improvement and personal growth. For me, there is no point in increasing the size of my accounts if I can’t do so in a way that promises me more peace, more contentment and more joy in my life. Likewise, the happier and more confident I feel as a person, the easier it is for me to make smart decisions about my money and follow through.
Here are three things that I’d like more of in my life in 2011 as I work to improve both my financial health and my outlook on life. While you might have different goals in 2011, I want to encourage you to think of ways that improving your self esteem, confidence, and attitude can have a positive impact on your financial well being.
In 2011, I want to go beyond just an offhand acknowledgment that it’s good to be a middle class person in a developed country to truly understanding and appreciating every advantage I have been given. Gratitude helps us keep our lives in perspective and can help us stay down to earth.
When you approach the world with gratitude, you will become more modest but you will also start seeing opportunities where once you only saw roadblocks. You stop looking for reasons to feel put out and unlucky and being seeing how much you truly have available to you and all the ways that you can make your own luck.
I’ve always been an easy touch when it comes to giving away money and possessions, but this year I want to learn to be more generous with how I view others and to always remember that everyone has their own struggles and demons.
This is the quote I want to keep in my heart for all of next year:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato
I find that as I grow older and more understanding, I also feel more at peace with myself and my position in the world. This has made it easier to stop worrying about my image so much and I’ve become less vulnerable to peer pressure.
Contrary to what some might expect, having a more generous heart towards others has not made me more vulnerable to being hurt or fooled. I am still able to set healthy boundaries and act in my own best interests; however I can now do so without filling my spirit with negative energy towards others to justify my decisions.
There isn’t too much I can do about being something of a gawky klutz, but I can work on being more helpful, kind and full of good will towards others.
I am far from a perfect person, but I’ve found that faking it until I make it has been a sound strategy. The more I am conscious of responding to others with grace, courtesy, tact and understanding the more natural it becomes.
People respond well to those who act with grace and it does open doors that might otherwise have remained closed, but I find the real benefit is how much more comfortable and confident I am around others. All of the opportunities that have come my way because of the way I treat others is just gravy.
How closely entwined do you find your personal development to be with your financial well being? Do you find that as you work on your personal financial goals that you are also discovering things about yourself that help you develop in other areas of your life?