Let’s talk money mindset in week six, part one of The Artist’s Way challenge! This week our aim is “Recovering a Sense of Abundance.” What a wonderful topic to explore after introducing the concept of scarcity mindset last week.
Scarcity mindset is a self-imposed internal block to abundance. When we focus on what we’re lacking, we increase our stress and anxiety and make it more difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Cameron writes,
“This week you tackle a major creative block–Money…The essays will explore the ways in which your attitudes limit abundance and luxury in your current life.”
There are four sections in this chapter, plus a variety of exercises to work through at the end.
The Great Creator
What is your relationship with money?
This quote from Cameron really rocked me,
“And we will pursue art, we tell ourselves, when we have enough money to do it easily.”
Oh, how true this often is. I told myself something similar for years to avoid the real reason I wasn’t writing: fear of failure. It was safer to complain that I didn’t have enough money than it was to pursue my passion and risk not being good enough.
We tell ourselves money is a source of security, and it’s meant to provide us with the food we eat and a roof over our heads. We can only pursue our dreams if or when we have enough extra money leftover to splurge.
Why don’t we allow ourselves to experience joy?
Cameron also attributes our relationship to money with God. She suggests we believe our God will provide us with what we need, but we’re pushing it when we ask for what we want. God is too good to get involved with trivial money matters.
Many of us also have a negative association with money, so we sell ourselves short. We don’t believe we should spend our hard-earned money or time on “silly” creative pursuits. They aren’t crucial in the scheme of things, right? Work must feel like work, so how can we justify receiving payment for doing something we love?
“I want to be an actress, but God wants me to wait tables in hash joints. So if I try to be an actress, I will end up slinging hash.”
Get over it! It’s time to shift your money mindset. Examine your relationship with whatever source you believe in, and question why you believe this source would want you to lack for anything. Ask the same question about why you allow yourself to feel this way. Here’s a recent article from Forbes about moving out of scarcity mindset to abundance.
Working hard is admirable, but it’s no reason to deny yourself the little joys in life. Pursue something because you love it, and if you excel at it, don’t be afraid to make money at it too.
Here’s another great line,
“For those of us who have become artistically anorectic–yearning to be creative and refusing to feed that hunger in ourselves so that we become more and more focused on our deprivation–a little authentic luxury can go a long way.”
Artistically anorectic fits my former self perfectly. I used to worry incessantly about money and how I would never have enough to do the things I wanted to do. Time too. I never had enough of that either.
With this kind of money mindset, we come to believe our financial situation (or time) is our block, when in reality, it’s our feelings of deprivation. We feel powerless to make changes. We feel a life of duty and responsibility instead of one of luxury.
Cameron clarifies that luxury “has nothing to do with penthouse views, designer clothes, zippy foreign sports cars, or first-class travel.” Luxury is about allowing ourselves to feel creative pleasure beyond work, work, work. It’s about continually renewing our interests in life and our art.
Cameron also mentions the deadly duo of blocked creatives: artistic anorexia and prideful perfectionism. When discussing Alan, whose great luxury is music, she says,
“There were no practice shots for this player. He wanted to be at the top, and if he couldn’t be there he wouldn’t be anywhere near his beloved music.”
Blast! I have prideful perfectionism too.
What gives you genuine joy? That’s the true meaning of luxury. Carve out some time for yourself, and give yourself a sacred space for your art.
Counting, An Exercise
How do you spend your money? Take some time this week (or longer) to observe your spending. Record every cent, no matter how small. It’s important to determine our current money mindset, and this exercise will help you understand what you value and prioritize.
With luxury, I deny myself time more than money. For instance, I don’t want to start a project if I can’t finish it. I don’t want to drag out my art supplies if I’m going to have to put them away later. I’m slowly learning when I’m most productive and to take time where I can find it.
Money Madness, An Exercise
In this exercise, Cameron presents a list of phrases, and we are to fill in the blank. Here are a few I found the most intriguing:
- People with money are______. My answer: Either hardworking or passionate about their work–or both.
- Money makes people______. My answer: Freer to do the things they really want to do. Sometimes that means they’re more generous, sometimes greedier.
- Money is______. My answer: Freedom.
- In order to have more money, I’d need to______. My answer: Figure out my next career move.
- Being broke tells me______. My answer: That sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention.
Week Six, part two will be up shortly! Until then, you can find my previous Artist’s Way posts below: