Three things you’ll learn from this article:
- The fact that your confidence and self-esteem are strongly connected to your finances.
- Borrowing from people, indebtedness and laziness can destroy your self-confidence.
- The principles of wealth creation and abundance are available to everyone who is willing to learn and break their backs to put them into practise.
There was a business executive who was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.
Suddenly, an old man appeared before him. ‘I can see that something is troubling you,’ he said. After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, ‘I believe I can help you.’ He asked the man his name, wrote out a check, and pushed it into his hand saying, ‘Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.’ Then, he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.
The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller—then one of the richest men in the world! ‘I can erase my money worries in an instant!’ he realised. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed cheque in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.
With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.
Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed cheque. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
‘I’m so glad I caught him!’ she cried. ‘I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.’ And she led the old man away by the arm.
The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.
Although the business executive never used the money, just the feeling of having money changed the way he did business. If the feeling of money can make you get deals, you can imagine what the real money can do!
In this article, I’ll take time to briefly summarise some of the key things of which you need to take note if you’re passionate about becoming confident and financially independent.
If you have been around for a few years, you know by now that, when you have little or no money in your pocket or bank account, you feel very low. You get intimidated by people who appear to have all their needs; you fall into diverse temptations against your values to get some quick cash; you entertain the fear of falling into debts or remaining in one; and you tend to speak or act like a pauper.
Statistics show that men are stressed most in the middle of the month. One funny trend in Accra is the fact that, around the middle to the third week of each month, there is less traffic on the roads. This is because many car owners are unable to buy fuel and rather choose to use public transport. Funny, isn’t it. Money can be good!
A lack of money and concerns over having inadequate funds is a major cause of stress and even suicide. A lot of people commit suicide when their companies go bankrupt simply because their source of income has been cut short and their self-esteem has dropped.
The purpose of having wealth is to use it to create the life you desire, enhance the lives of the people you care about, and to leave a legacy that represents your passions and values. Money therefore is acknowledged as an important component in maintaining your level of confidence.
Poverty & poor self esteem in children
In the lives of children, self-esteem is the key-driving factor in their achievements: children need a positive sense of self-esteem in order to succeed in life. A poor person, according to the United Nations, is a person who lives below $1 per day, and children from poor homes are characterised with low self-esteem because they are unable to have their basic needs met; they tend to be teased by other children, and when they grow up, they’re unable to compete well because of their poor background.
Finances therefore play an important role in the lives of both children and adults, and it must be the determination of every adult to have a firm grasp of money and finances so that their children do not have to suffer the consequences of living with poor self-esteem.
Adults tend to loose self-confidence when they’re struggling financially; this is something I have come to garner through experience. It gets even worse when you have big debts or if you have lost a job, business, or your main source of income. Even if you’re a student, you can’t concentrate when your school fees have not been paid and when you have no pocket money, groceries or provisions left in your cabinet.
It is absolutely important however for me to establish first of all that a significant part of your self-esteem and self-confidence is determined by how much financial reserves you have in stock, and your ability to meet your immediate and medium term financial obligations.
Heavy debts destroy heavily
‘The borrower is servant to the lender’ says the Bible in Proverbs 22:7. In some cases, debt can be useful, such as in buying a house or saving the life of a sick person. However, taking on debts, or borrowing from banks or friends, also brings financial, psychological and emotional challenges, such as interest charges, stress and difficulty in building up your savings. Debt is a trap, and so many people are already caught up in it. If you happen to be in debt, work extremely hard to come out of it and stay out of debt. And, as you build savings gradually, it would boost your self-confidence and self-worth.
If you play around with the importance of money in line with boosting your confidence and successful living, you’re kidding around with your happiness and your entire future!
With this preamble, let’s look briefly at how you can strengthen your finances in order to develop stronger self-confidence.
- Avoid borrowing as much as possible. Avoid debts. Live within your means. The borrower is subject to the lender.
- Avoid begging people to help you. Start small. Learn quickly. Serve others, and be willing to labour to get an income.
- Learn how to budget by listing how much you earn or receive against what you need to buy. Budgeting prevents you from doing impulse buying.
- Set a savings goal—I know a friend who studied Economics at the University and, right in first year, he started buying Treasury bills with some of his pocket money. Some of his friends laughed at him because they thought the Economics he was studying was making him stingy and miserly. By the time we finished university, he had kept enough to start his own business. You can also set a goal to keep some of your income no matter how small it is and you will be amazed at what it will do for you.
- Separate what you need from what you want. There is a quote I love which says, ‘If you allow yourself to follow your every desire, you will become a joke to your enemies.’ Buy only what you really need because there will be newer versions of what you buy to keep by the time you really need it.Build multiple streams of income. If you are a student, for example, you can decide to learn a trade during your long vacations. You will be amazed how this skill will help you, even when you complete school and you do not have a job. I know some professionals who make clothes during weekends for their work colleagues in order to make more money. You can do the same.
- Monetise your talents or skills: Usain Bolt is a world record holder because he has identified what he can do with his legs. There are musicians who are amassing wealth, etc. This is why I have shared with you how you can discover your true self. This will enable you commercialize your talents. Please read Chapter 3 on my book ‘The Power of Self-Confidence’ for more on this.
To end this article, know that you have every right to become financially independent and confident. You may even be unemployed now, and may be living on the support of your family and friends; nonetheless, by taking a critical look at how you spend money and by making baby steps towards creating wealth, you can rebuild your self-confidence as well as your self-esteem.