The 10 Signs That You Have a “Poor Mindset”

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind" by T. Harv Eker. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you tired of being a victim of your financial circumstances?  What are the different ways you tend to sabotage your finances?

According to T. Harv Eker, the author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, there are 10 negative tendencies that reinforce your belief that you’re powerless when it comes to money. Challenging these negative tendencies is the first step to eliminating them.

In this article, we’ll help you to identify the specific thoughts and beliefs that discourage you from taking positive actions to improve your finances.

T. Harv Eker: Poor Mindset Tendencies

Eker mentions 10 poor mindset tendencies that poor people tend to engage in:

1) Blame others for their financial problems: “It’s the economy’s fault that I’m not making the amount of money that I want.”

(Shortform note: Jordan Peterson (12 Rules for Life) offers a more constructive approach than blame. Before you blame the outside world or specific people for your misfortunes, ask yourself: What personal responsibility did you have in your misfortune? Have you done everything in your ability to solve your problems, or are you passively letting bad things happen to you?)

2) Resent others’ good fortune: “They think they’re so much better than us!”

(Shortform note: Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book claims that resentment is a major flaw that leads you to avoid facing your own flaws and accepting responsibility for your own thoughts and actions. Confront your feelings of resentment by investigating their cause. Ask yourself: Why do you feel resentment, and how is this resentment harming you? For example, you resent your neighbors because they have a beautiful new car. The resentment makes you feel embarrassed about your old car and this harms your self-esteem. Next, ask yourself whether your embarrassment about your car is really their fault.)

3) Rationalize their lack of wealth: “It’s okay, there are more important things than money.”

(Shortform note: Malcolm Gladwell (Blink) explains that rationalizing is simply explaining our actions or thoughts with reasons that aren’t accurate. Our inaccurate explanations for our decisions harm our ability to make smart decisions. For example, if you make excuses for your lack of wealth by claiming that you don’t care about money, you’ll base your future decisions on this premise and make decisions that keep you poor.)

4) Complain about their financial situation: “I hate my job and it doesn’t pay enough.”

(Shortform note: According to the authors of Crucial Conversations, complaining is a method we use to intentionally ignore the role we play in our problems. It justifies our current behavior by excusing us from any responsibility and, as a result, we don’t feel any motivation to change our thoughts and behaviors. The authors argue that instead of complaining, you should focus on telling yourself accurate stories that motivate you to think and act constructively. In other words, focus on your role in the problem and think about what you need to do to change the situation.)

5) Limit their choices: “I can’t be rich and be there for my family and friends.”

(Shortform note: When you focus on your limitations, you block yourself from seeking solutions that will improve your life, and you resign yourself to staying in the same situation. In Awaken the Giant Within, Tony Robbins suggests that you should instead focus on asking yourself positive and empowering questions that lead to solutions. For example: What can you do to create more money and be there for your family and friends? Empowering questions lead to solutions that will help you to create the life that you want.)

6) Feel unworthy of financial success: “I’m not good enough to earn more money.”

(Shortform note: Feelings of unworthiness or of “not being good enough” are very common. However, according to Jen Sincero (You Are A Badass), it takes the same amount of energy to see your faults as it does to see your strengths. She suggests countering your insecurities by imagining yourself through the eyes of someone who admires you—this person will only see your full potential and your talents. This method will train you to focus on your strengths, and, as a result, feel less stress around your perceived flaws.)

7) Focus on their problems and fears: “I’m not going to try in case I fail.”

(Shortform note: Brendon Burchard (High Performance Habits), claims that the tendency to focus on problems and fears occurs when we don’t have a clear purpose for our actions and are too focused on the difficulty of our present circumstances to look to the future. According to Burchard, if you want to make improvements in your life, accept that challenges and hardships are the route to your success. Therefore, focus on what you’ll gain from overcoming your problems and fears, and use this to motivate yourself to move forward.)

8) Aim low and seek security: “What’s the point in working more than I have to?”

(Shortform note: When you aim low, it’s often because you’re afraid to take risks and move out of your comfort zone. If you remain inactive in your comfort zone, you’ll never improve or gain the confidence to go for what you want. The authors of The Confidence Code claim that the best way to move forward to what you want is to continually take actions that move you out of your comfort zone. For example, offer to take on more responsibilities at work—the extra work will challenge you, and may lead to a promotion and a pay rise.)

9) Mismanage their money: “I might as well spend my money because I’ll never be rich.”

(Shortform note: According to Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich, there’s a psychological reason underlying our tendency to mismanage our money: decision paralysis. Sethi argues that we become too overwhelmed to make decisions about our finances when we’re presented with multiple options and opinions about the best way to move forward. To move past this, he recommends that you switch your focus from information-gathering and start taking small proactive steps towards financial success.)

10) Seek instant gratification: “I will spend my money because I have nothing else to look forward to.”

(Shortform note: It can be difficult to make sacrifices now for the sake of your future comfort. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, offers a way to overcome the temptation to indulge in instant gratification: He suggests that you find ways to immediately reward yourself for engaging in the positive habits you want to form. For example, each time you avoid spending your money on something frivolous, transfer this money to an account earmarked for something that represents the wealth that you want, like a new car or a special outfit. The satisfaction of watching this account grow will outweigh your fear of missing out and will encourage you to make decisions that benefit your finances.)

The 10 Signs That You Have a “Poor Mindset”

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Here's what you'll find in our full Secrets of the Millionaire Mind summary:

  • The difference between the way rich people and poor people think and feel about money
  • How to improve your finances by taking conscious control of your thoughts
  • Why you may be holding yourself back from becoming wealthy

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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