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May 22, 2006


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Michael Neill

Must have been something in the air - I posted this to my list on the 22nd and am reprinting it here with Robert's permission.


'There are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who say, "What happened?"'

-John Newbern

One of my favorite metaphors when it comes to exploring financial abundance is the value of both a thermometer, which provides a (hopefully) accurate measure of the current temperature, and a thermostat, which creates changes in the environment based on the difference between the current temperature and the desired temperature.

In order for your system to work properly, you need to not only set the thermostat to your desired temperature, you also need to link it to an accurate thermometer.

Now imagine that your finances work on a similar thermostat. If your current level of income/net worth is below the setting on your thermostat, your engine runs on overtime to generate the heat for action; if it is above the setting on your thermostat (i.e. you have 'more money than you know what to do with'), your thermostat will switch off and the fuel for action will
tend to switch off with it.

Worse still, if you have 'internal financial air conditioning', you will actively find ways to lose the extra money until your financial temperature gets down to a comfortable level!

This is why so many of us seem to get stuck at a certain level of financial success - we either never turn up our financial thermostat or we set the thermostat on high but never link it to an accurate thermometer.

Here are three things you can do to improve your financial environment, starting today...

1. Learn to Read your Financial Thermostat
There are two primary ways to read your financial thermostat. The easiest is to jot down your income and/or current net worth. Unless those numbers have radically changed over the past three years, chances are that's just about exactly what your thermostat is set for.

For example, if you earned $50,000 two years ago, $60,000 last year, and are on track to earn $55,000 this year, your thermostat is set in the $50K -$60K zone. Provided you don't earn radically more or less than this amount, you will feel financially 'comfortable'. (Ironically, this can be true even if you are panicked about being in debt. While it would no doubt be a relief to earn enough to pay down or even off your debts, check for yourself to see if you would really be comfortable earning considerably more than you currently are...)

The second way to read your financial thermostat is the 'five closest friends' method. Add up the income of your five closest friends and divide by five. You may be surprised to find that your current income is pretty near to that number, even if you have some friends who earn considerably more than you and others who earn considerably less.

If you do the same thing with net worth (and let's face it, your five closest friends are pretty much the only ones liable to share that information with you!), you'll find that once again, your own current net worth matches up pretty closely.

(The one exception to the 'five closest friends' method I have seen is if you are currently in a transition period, shooting up or falling down the financial ladder.)

2. Fix your Financial Thermometer
A strategy that is often overlooked is making sure your financial thermometer is working properly. If you didn't know your current net worth (or your income over the past few years), chances are that yours isn't.

Fortunately, fixing your thermometer is simple - either start tracking every penny which goes in and out or hire someone else to do it for you. And if you're assuming you can't afford to hire a bookkeeper, the fact that you don't know for sure is a sure sign that it will pay off for you!

Once you have an accurate ongoing mechanism for financial feedback, making more money becomes instantly easier and considerably more fun. As in any endeavor, the speed with which you are able to notice the results is a primary factor in your ability to experience flow and optimal states while
pursuing it. (See the 'Want to Learn More?' section at the end of this tip to learn more.)

3. Reset your Financial Thermostat
There are essentially two ways to reset your thermostat:

a. Change your intention

To better understand the difference between wishing you had more money and intending to have more, imagine you are in a nightclub. Across the room is a gorgeous man or woman you would love to get to know better. 'Wishing' is like staring at them all night and then going home bemoaning the fact that 'you could never meet someone like that'; 'Intending' is walking over and
asking them to dance. You may still go home alone, but it won't be for lack of intention!

In today's experiment, I will share one of my favorite ways of 'turning up the heat' on your financial intentions, but for now, just consider what amount of financial abundance seems to you to be a worthy goal and notice what happens on the inside when you declare your intention out loud and take
at least one action step towards it.

b. Change your associations

There is no question that one of the quickest ways to turn up your financial
thermostat is to begin spending time with people who are comfortable earning and having more than you currently do. However, while 'taking a millionaire to lunch' is always fun, you may want to change your associations more incrementally.

I still remember the first time I tagged along with Nina (now my wife!) and her friends almost 18 years ago. We spent the day on her brother's boat on the Thames, then all went out to eat at a 'fancy' restaurant. I phoned my parents that night to tell them that I'd met the most wonderful group of people, but I would only be able to afford to hang out with them about once a year!

Fortunately, I was interested in them because I liked them (as opposed to
'because they were rich'), and while I didn't join them for all their excursions, I got to spend enough time with them to become comfortable with a whole new level of financial abundance.

Today's Experiment:

1. Take the time to figure out where your financial thermostat is currently set. For most people this will be a range (i.e. $50K - $60K or 'between 5 -10 million') as opposed to a specific number.

Think about how you would react emotionally if you suddenly found out you were going to earn a bit more or less than that amount. When you start to become fearful or elated, you've gone past the edge of your current
thermostat setting.

2. If you don't already have an accurate picture of how much money comes in, goes out and stays behind each week (or at least each month), consider investing at least 10 hours and/or $1000 this month in setting up a system to find out.

Once your system is up and running, you will be able to maintain it in less than an hour a month (and in most cases for less than $100).

3. Imagine an actual financial thermostat in your mind - this can be a digital thermostat where you press buttons to reset it or an old fashioned 'dial' thermostat.

Just for fun, turn the financial temperature way up - at least ten times
what it's currently set for. What would it be like if this was just 'normal' for you?

When you've got a real sense of what it might be like to be comfortable with that much more money than you're used to having, turn your thermostat back down to a more comfortable level, but make sure it's at least a couple of degrees (perhaps 10K or 20K) higher than where you started. If you listen carefully, you will hear the sound of your financial heater starting up...

Play with these imagination exercises as often as you like. The more comfortable you can get with having more, the easier it will be to have.

4. Think about any people you may have been avoiding hanging out with because they have more than you. Notice if you are carrying any resentment towards them, and if so, do your best to let it go. It's very difficult to become what you hate, no matter how much you think you want to.

If appropriate, arrange to spend some time with them in either a work or social setting. After having spent a bit of time with them, decide whether or not this is a relationship you would like to cultivate. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to check and see if you actually enjoy their company... :-)

Have fun, learn heaps, and get comfortable with having more than you may ever have thought possible!

With love,
Michael Neill

Stacy L. Harp

Excellent post and newsletter. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate all of your insight and wisdom, and have started to apply your tips and they work great!

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