It was really interesting to see the full spectrum of reactions to my last post about Coaching and Consultations. I expected this would be a polarizing post for some people, so the reactions weren’t surprising.
On the one hand, some people said it was a mistake to charge $500 per hour because that price was way too high and would make it impossible for most people to afford, so it was an elitist and/or greedy price point.
On the other hand, several people cautioned me that it was a mistake to charge $500 per hour because I’d be quickly overwhelmed. They questioned my reasons for going so low. A few said they were eager to take advantage of such a bargain and that they knew others who’d be interested too. However, the undertone was that this wouldn’t be a practical price point in the long run and that for my own good, I’d have to raise the price quickly.
The first form of feedback came mainly via the forums; the second was mostly via my private contact form. This didn’t surprise me. The forums tend to attract a younger audience (since younger people are more comfortable using forums and tend to have more time for them), and younger people are more likely to fall into the “$500 is a huge sum” group.
What’s interesting is that this feedback has little to do with the actual price. I’d have gotten the same feedback if I’d said the price was $50 or $1500. The volume of feedback on each side would shift, but there’d still be people on both sides.
How much money is a large sum?
Is $500 a large or small amount? It depends on your perspective.
If you’re in a scarcity mindset, it might seem like a huge sum. If you have a wealthy mindset, it may be a tiny amount. That may be hard to believe, but it’s true.
I used to think $500 was a lot of money. It certainly seemed so when I would end a month with less than $100 total. If I gained or lost an extra $500, it could make a difference in my finances for months to come. An extra $500 was a significant amount of money.
But after shifting my mindset about money to invite more abundance into my life, $500 began to seem like a tiny amount. $500 represents the cash I might carry in my wallet. If I gain or lose $500, it makes no real difference in my finances. $500 is a fairly insignificant amount.
Once I got my mindset to this point (which I did mostly by imagining what it would feel like to be there in reality), it wasn’t long before my reality began to reflect it. I became a “vibrational match” for earning larger sums. At one point having more than $100,000 in the bank would have seemed rich or wealthy. But now it just feels normal… like duh, I’m supposed to have that much cash all the time.
Some examples of financial relativity
Here are some examples to help shed more light on the concept of financial relativity.
A realtor thinks having $50,000 cash is normal
Shortly after Erin and I first moved to Las Vegas in 2004, we were chatting with a local realtor who said she liked to keep at least $50,000 cash on hand at all times (not for investment, just for her personal money). Erin and I gave each other a quizzical look. We thought she must be very snooty or elitist to feel that way. Why would anyone need that much cash?
Eventually we realized that our reaction to her statement was precisely why we could never save up $50,000 in cash. We were pushing it away from us by assuming it was too much money to hold onto. Having $5,000 cash was about normal for us; $10,000 meant we were doing incredibly well.
I realized these figures were arbitrary as far as the universe is concerned, so we should be able to raise them at will. I began imagining having $50,000 cash AND considering it normal to have that much. The second part is really critical. In order to become the kind of person who could have $50,000 cash in the bank, it had to feel just plain normal to me, not fantastic or incredible. So I actually visualized seeing this sum on my bank statement and reacting with a ho hum, excitement-free response.
This might sound counter-intuitive at first, but it worked. We were able to have $50,000 cash only when we began to see it as a normal amount to have in the bank instead of a windfall.
Today if I were to have only $50,000 cash on hand, I’d feel some financial pressure to raise it back up again.
Now if your reaction to my saying this is similar to how Erin and I initially reacted to that realtor (something like, “Steve, you’ve become a greedy, elitist bastard!”), it’s safe to say you’re keeping yourself out of resonance to having such sums of money yourself. The big question is: Why are you doing this to yourself? Why not invite larger sums into your life instead of pushing them away? Are you suffering from low self-esteem or something?
Keep in mind that other people may be equally shocked by your opulent lifestyle even if you think it’s a normal (not wealthy or excessive) place to be. There’s a good chance you’re a lot wealthier than most people on this planet. What may feel normal to you could be a windfall for someone else. Who are you to be able to eat whenever you’re hungry or to have access to medical care when you need it? Do the expectations of others make you want to live below your potential to satisfy them? Or would you rather help those people raise their standard of living to at least the level you consider normal?
A poker player thinks $60,000 cash is nothing
A few years ago when I was studying poker (just for fun), I watched a poker tournament on TV where Daniel Negreanu (one of the “winningest” players on earth) got knocked out of the final table. His prize money was $60,000. The top prize for first place was probably around $1 million. In the exit interview, he was asked what he was going to do with all the money he won. He chuckled with surprise, as if to say, “Money? What money? I lost the tournament.” Then he said something like, “I dunno. $60,000? What can I do with that? Buy a car maybe? [sigh].” He clearly had the attitude that $60,000 was a small, almost negligible amount of money. It wasn’t a serious sum.
It was as if the interviewer had said, “Daniel, you just won a dollar! What are you going to do with it?” And Daniel replied jokingly, “I dunno… buy a soda maybe? [sigh].”
While some people might see Negreanu’s attitude as haughty, arrogant, or elitist, I think it’s a reflection of a wealthy mindset. This may help explain why his tournament poker winnings exceed $10 million to date. Since $60K represents a small amount to him, he’s a vibrational match for earning and holding much larger sums. If $60K was a lot of money to him, he probably wouldn’t be able to win even that much, and even if he did win it, he’d have a hard time holding onto it.
Incidentally, Negreanu lives in Las Vegas and has been vegan since 2003. Just had to throw that in.
A businessman thinks $24,000 is a fair price for an hour of his time
Earlier this year I spent a few hours talking with a businessman who consults for $24,000 per hour. And yes, people actually pay him that amount. In a short period of time, he can help his clients optimize their businesses in such a way that this is a profitable exchange for them.
If I tell him I’m charging $500 per hour for a consultation, there’s a good chance he’ll laugh at me… as if I’m suffering from low self-esteem or something.
Is a 30-minute consultation with this man really worth as much as 24 hours of consulting with me? Does he have 48x as much business knowledge, experience, and insight as I do? Of course not. He gets paid this amount because he’s a match for receiving it. To him this is normal. For me it would still seem amazing or incredible.
Becoming a match for a million-dollar home
Many years ago, Erin and I were on vacation in San Diego. At the time we were basically broke and deep in debt. We were driving around Rancho Santa Fe, a wealthy neighborhood with homes that cost a few million dollars each. As we drove past a real estate office, an idea struck me, and I asked Erin if she wanted to have some fun. She consented.
I walked into the realtor’s office and confidently proclaimed that Erin and I were interested in buying a house in Rancho Santa Fe, something in the $2-4 million range. (I knew that was a reasonable price range because Erin and I had checked out the listings taped to the office window before we walked in.) I was probably 25 years old.
A realtor welcomed us and asked us a few questions. I answered honestly that I ran a software company in Los Angeles. Next thing I knew, the realtor was driving us around in her Jaguar, shuttling me and Erin to various homes for sale in the area. Erin and I had a fun time pretending we could actually afford them while trying not to look like total idiots. “Hmmm… that tennis court looks like it will need repaving soon.”
At the time I thought this exercise would help us adopt a wealthier mindset. We’d be inspired by all the wealthy homes. But it didn’t work at all. We just weren’t a match for those kinds of homes. They were too exciting to us. We couldn’t imagine living there and having it feel normal. It was too big a leap… too impossible.
Fast forward about 12 years to 2007. Erin and I went shopping for a new house in Las Vegas, this time for real. Our price range was $1-2 million. We paid a little over $300,000 for our previous home, so this was a big step up. But this time when the realtor took us around, it was totally different than when we were looking at homes in Rancho Santa Fe. This time we could actually imagine living there and having it feel normal to us. We were mildly excited but not overwhelmingly so. We looked at many different homes and ended up buying our first choice.
Years ago this house would have seemed amazing or extravagant to us. But now it just feels normal to live here. It actually surprises me when people visit and seem overwhelmed or amazed by it. We certainly enjoy living here, but it isn’t amazing or overwhelming to us.
Do you ever buy things for yourself that seem like normal purchases but which other people might consider an extravagant or wasteful luxury? Have you ever bought a cup of coffee or a bottled water? If you buy such items regularly, you probably don’t consider them luxuries. They’re just normal purchases. But many people would disagree and say you’re being incredibly selfish and wasteful. You don’t need coffee, and you could just as easily drink tap water. You elitist pig!
My point is to demonstrate that if you think something is out of reach for you, it is. If you think it’s normal or expected, it becomes so. Realize that your comfort zone is totally arbitrary though. To many people on earth, getting adequate nutrition is a luxury. To some people, a million-dollar home would be slumming it. You define your own comfort zone.
Imagine having 10x as much cash and income as you have now. Would it make you uncomfortable, at least initially, if you suddenly found yourself there — not in fantasy but in reality? Would you feel awkward, uncertain, unworthy, or anxious? What would it take for you to embrace the mindset that this higher level of abundance is perfectly normal for you?
Just because you’ve been conditioned to believe a certain level of wealth is normal for you doesn’t mean that standard is objectively meaningful. You needn’t spend the rest of your life remaining loyal to arbitrary inherited beliefs.
Money and the Law of Attraction
I know it may seem counterintuitive to aim to feel normal instead of excited when it comes to earning more money. The truth is that too much excitement will actually block you from receiving larger sums because that probably isn’t how you’d feel if you were actually there.
If you think $X is a large sum, and the amount makes you anxious or excited, you simply won’t be able to attract and hold $X. If you really had $X and could hold onto it easily, how would you feel about it? It would seem as normal to you as your current financial equilibrium.
In this case the proper application of the Law of Attraction is actually to dampen — not to magnify — your emotions, such that the new level you want to reach begins to feel normal, expected, and believable. Otherwise you’re holding yourself in a state of disbelief. If reaching your goal seems like a miracle or a monstrous windfall, you’re actually pushing it away from you. This is true not just with money but with anything else you might wish to attract, including new relationships, career advancement, spiritual development, health gains, etc.
General enthusiasm about your goals is fine, but if you’re holding yourself in a state of awe and amazement when you think about them, it’s a safe bet you’ll never get there.
If you want to enjoy more financial abundance, you must learn to become comfortable with the kinds of changes that currently make you feel uncomfortable.