As I write this I’m living and working in New York City. Everywhere I look there is abundant wealth. Between investment bankers, hedge funds, luxury shopping, big negotiated deals, skyscrapers being bought and sold, all kinds of businesses buying all kinds of services, people feeling the need to buy to satisfy a variety of needs and wants. There is a lot of money flowing and being exchanged. One might say it’s an abundance of wealth. You also can liken it to the ocean. It’s big, bigger than you can naturally comprehend.
So how do you participate in the ocean of wealth flowing all around you? Can you see it, hear it and touch it? Do you know others who participate in it more than you do? Do you want more of that ocean of wealth to flow through you? After all, you really don’t keep money. You may work for money, it flows to you and your checking and savings account. But then you pay your bills, or you put it in investments held and used by others such as your bank or the stock market. You don’t really hold your money, you participate in the flow of your money. Perhaps you hide it under your mattress, but then it’s not working for you and it’s value diminishes. Other than hoarding, money is flowing and being exchanged for goods and services along the way.
I grew up on Long Island and went to the beach every day as a kid. I can visualize walking up to the waters edge and getting my toes tickled by the waves. I had a sand pail and could scoop up the water. Can you visualize this? I also had a shovel and a cup. I could dip the shovel and get a little water. The cup would hold more. The pail would hold even more. If you think of people in your life who remain poor, it’s similar to them walking up to the ocean’s edge with a shovel. They dip it into the ocean of abundance and they participate in the flow of money in a very small way. Others bring a cup. Still others bring a pail. And some bring a truck. So we see various levels of wealth.
Our wealth is dependent on the container we bring. What determines what container we bring? Our expectations of ourselves. There are countless stories of people with little money who have won the lottery only to lose everything within 3 years. Their self-concept was a like a shovel. It was filled to overflowing and because they didn’t change the size of their container, the water just overflowed and seeped back into the sand. Then there are ‘rags to riches’ stories of immigrants or poor people who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and became multi-millionaires. They expanded their containers by expanding who they were and what their expectations were. Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich after interviewing hundreds of people who expanded themselves by reading, strategizing with others who knew more, having wealthy mentors. They grew themselves so they could handle the flow of more wealth. They grew their own containers. Look at Donald Trump. He loses it all and then gains it all back. His container is big and he is used to having it be full. When it empties, it fills right back up again because that’s his expectation.
How can you grow your container so you can have more wealth flowing through you?
- It’s been said that you’re the average of the 3 people you spend the most time with. You will gravitate to the level of the people around you. For me I wanted my kids to go to elementary, intermediate and high schools where I knew they would be around other achieving college-bound students with caring parents. So we moved to an area where we could find that. It was my expectation and I sought it out. As a result my kids didn’t think twice about going to college. It was their expectation that they would get a college education and become productive in the world. In your own life you will have to stop spending so much time with people who think small, and spend more time with people who think bigger.
- You can read and listen to all the self-improvement materials you can handle. You can attend events and conferences meant to expand your thinking and awareness. The point of effectiveness is to really believe and apply them. Often a coach helps you internalize how it all applies to you, asks you deeper questions, helps you face the fear of change and giving up old paradigms and unproductive deep-seated beliefs, helps you discover the kernel of yourself that you can transport to a higher level of wealth, achievement and self-conscious living. I once worked with a young man who wasn’t very fond of networking and it was holding back his career. He had inherited from his father the attitude that going to events and meeting people at the same or higher wealth level was inauthentic and exploitative. When we reframed it that all people who are networking were there to meet other people and grow their contacts for future business, then he would network at places where he would fit in easily (who all had the same size containers). Once he was invited to an event through his employer at the offices of President Clinton. Of course, people with lots of money and political clout were there as it was a fund raiser. He felt out of his element and on his way home had to stop at a local bar for a beer so he could feel more comfortable again. He wasn’t ready to have his container stretched. Since then we’ve stretched his self-image so that now he feels he belongs at higher profile events and he has gone to similar events comfortably.
- You can join a mastermind of people who are at the level you want to attain. You can breathe in the assumptions of success that come naturally to others and that you’re acclimatizing yourself to. You start to think like them and act like them and get included in the resources they share, the projects they do together. Before you know it you may be looking forward to the next group at an even higher level of wealth flow, expectation of success and container largesse. These groups might be formal or informal. But it will certainly have an effect on you, your perception of yourself and your expectations of what you deserve.
This is essentially what we call your container: what you feel you deserve and what you expect of yourself and those around you, what you seek because of your comfort level with that level of success and achievement. It’s true in wealth building, in education, in happiness, in self-awareness and conscious living. You get what you expect. If your container is small, when you dip it into the ocean of wealth, you will get a small amount. If your container is larger, you will get a large amount. The size of the ocean doesn’t change. It’s there for anybody. If you pull up a tanker truck to the ocean and put your hose in and pump the ocean water into the truck and fill it to capacity, you certainly participate in the flow of wealth in a much bigger way. Have you made the ocean smaller even by taking a lot? No, because it’s just flowing through you. Does the size of your container make a difference in your life? Certainly. Can you choose to upgrade the size of your container? Certainly, but only if you want it at the deepest level, and you are willing to change, giving up the known past to move into the unknown future.