Saturday, June 13, 2015

Material goals

One constant of the sales and inspirational stuff I have been reading and listening to of late is the importance of setting goals, so as to provide oneself with impetus to improve ones skills and sell more.  Most of my goals are non-material, which is easy enough for me because we already have a pretty nice house, etc.  Our basics are in good shape.

But one thing that rings true from this material, especially Brian Tracy's Psychology of Selling, which is a pretty good 6-CD set, is that we have a mental image of how much money we are worth and that we earn pretty much in keeping with that, and that this mental image is a self-limiting concept. So, for example, I am mentally geared towards thinking of myself as earning what I used to earn as a management consultant, and my baseline goal is to get back in that ballpark.

But why don't I want to earn more than that?  Why don't I believe that I could and should?

Part of it certainly derives from coming from a place that did not really prize money first and foremost.  In a university town, we prioritize education and travel first and foremost, and that's what I'm about.

But I think another part of it derives from beating myself up for not having embarked on a path of earning and saving earlier in life.  I feel no little shame and (vis-a-vis my kids, and especially Natalie, on whom we spend less than others on things like traveling to other parts of the world) guilt about it.

And partly this comes from growing up Christian, Scotch-Irish (thrifty), and left-leaning, but also from growing up in an alcoholic household in which it was communicated to me that, whatever I did was fundamentally insufficient to warrant consistent love and attention.  I'm talking about dad here, not mom, to be clear.

In fact, a line of thinking within the 12-step world says that self-abnegation is in fact a direct reflection of low self-esteem. We (I) don't want more nice things because I don't believe at deserve them.

Anyway, the fact of the matter is I have a lot of baggage around earning and spending on myself, but a deep-seated belief in saving and aggregating.  So I gotta work on it.  There is no good reason, for example, why I shouldn't want to get a newer car to replace the 2001 Volvo?  Or a more comfortable couch to replace the futon here in the study that Mary got before she went to graduate school in 1989? Nobody ever sleeps or sits on it, hardly. I just put my briefcase down on it. I could nap and read there, in my ample spare time.

Gotta hop.

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