When we read George Orwell’s 1984, the purpose of language blew our minds. Orwell argues that linguistic decline goes hand-in-hand with the decline of thought. In a dystopian world, he describes how political parties, in the fictional state of Oceania, developed a new language, Newspeak. With restricted vocabulary, Newspeak intended to limit and control people’s thoughts. Imagine not being able to express what you’re thinking because there are no words for it! So how do words and language impact our financial lives?

Call it esoteric, but the words we use shape our perspective of money. And the way we look at money defines how we deal with it. Of course, there are other factors as well, such as our upbringing and the environment we live in. But our financial lives are a product of more than that, and words play an important role.

Words that imply Scarcity and Abundance

Would you say that you have a scarcity or an abundance mindset?
A scarcity mindset is when one looks at opportunities in life as a finite pie, meaning if one person gets a big share it reduces your share of the pie. Scarcity is also associated with the feeling of never having enough. An abundance mindset on the other hand, refers to the belief that there is plenty out there for everyone.
Consider the following statements:

  • I’m too old, and there aren’t enough jobs in the market
  • I’m not good with money/numbers
  • Money is evil

All these statements denote a scarcity mindset. We are setting our own limitations focusing on what we think we do not have. The language is negative, debilitating even. The result? We are holding ourselves back.
Now, consider these statements:

  • With the experience I have, I could start my own business!
  • Money is intriguing, I can learn how to get good with numbers
  • Money gives me an opportunity to contribute and make an impact

Notice how the abundance mindset uses words differently. A change in tone, from negative to positive, encourages us to take action. The abundance mindset is uplifting, and it is what helps you get from where you are to where you want to be.

Once we start observing our language, we can identify which mindset we lean toward. Switching from scarcity to abundance isn’t hard. When we believe our minds are malleable and start using positive words to describe our relationship with money, our financial life automatically improves. Progress is inevitable.

What comes first, thought or language?

Speaking of the inevitable, we are reminded of a quote that’s attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. He said,

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

If destiny stems from our beliefs, and language helps us process, articulate and act on those beliefs, we cannot underestimate the power that words have.

Thoughts come first and we use language to express it. But to us, this is like the chicken and egg situation. The way we use words and language also impacts the way we think. It is a constant cyclical process.

Picture this: a newly wed couple is discussing money. The couple believes in being equal partners. They decide to open a joint account and pool in money to run the house. Whenever they talk about this account, they use the words, “our money”, as opposed to “your money” or “my money”. One simple word, “our”, brings in a sense of partnership like nothing else can. Moreover, they are both free to do as they please with the money in their individual accounts, no questions asked.

This situation is in stark contrast to what many couples face in their marriages. Money is often the biggest source of conflict in relationships, and one of the leading causes of divorce. Why? Simply because the right words weren’t communicated, leaving both parties with a feeling that their freedom has been restricted.

Financial Freedom

Circling back to the novel, 1984, here’s an excerpt that’s worth noting.

“The word free still existed in Newspeak, but only to communicate the absence of something, for example, “The dog is free from lice”, or “This field is free of weeds”. The word could not denote free will, because intellectual freedom was no longer supposed to exist in Oceania.”

Freedom. In our world, the dictionary says that freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants, it’s the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. In terms of your finances, financial freedom is the ability to afford the kind of life we desire for ourselves and our families, the state of not being a puppet of money.

To achieve this, it’s essential that we pay attention to the words we use. We must question our financial decisions and dive deep into the why’s. “Why do I think the way I do about money? How could I think differently, and speak differently? What journey do I wish to create for myself and for those around me?”

The words we use have the power to become self-fulfilling prophecies, impacting our financial lives more than we could ever imagine.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this, too. Have you ever felt the impact of words on your finances, or on any other aspect of your life?

Author Bio - Komal Shivdasani
Rushina Thacker

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