Imagine that four is your lucky number. Say you are job hunting, and you get an interview on April 4th at 4:00 pm. What are the chances?
With all those fours in the mix, you know you’ll get hired.
So, of course, you do.
Everything about the job is perfect: friendly co-workers, an easy-going boss, and free parking.
Life is pretty good for a while until COVID-19 lockdowns hit your town. A few months later, your company announces they are creating a layoff list. Anyone without a certain number of years will find themselves on that list and out of work.
The number of years they decided upon is five.
And how many years do you have with the company?
But wait! Isn’t four supposed to be your lucky number? What’s going on here? Not only do you find yourself out of a good job; after several months, you are unable to find a new one. More importantly, you think you can no longer count on the signs from the Universe that once helped guide your path, and you need them more now than ever because you find yourself getting ready to kiss poverty—and you can already tell his breath stinks!
So what can you do?
As a mindfulness practitioner and a person who has experienced a heavy dose of financial hardship, I recommend adopting a few key mindsets.
MINDSET #1 – Deliberately Create a Future for Yourself
That dream of taking a European vacation two years from now is on hold. The money is gone. It went to pay the rent. Heck, you can’t even think about life two years from now when you aren’t even sure where you’ll find the money to cover next month’s electric bill.
Finding yourself in an impoverished state can seemingly rob you of your ability to see yourself doing anything in the distant future. When you held a secure and well-paying job, you could easily conceive of things like a 15- year retirement plan or a 30-year mortgage. However, when a person struggles financially, the individual’s time frame for goals and dreams often shrinks down to months or weeks. Sadly, many who are homeless live a day-to-day existence.
This type of short-term thinking is dangerous, as it can keep you trapped in poverty and lead to depression. Therefore, it is up to you to deliberately create a future for yourself. While the type of goals and achievements in that future might be dramatically different from your previous ones, there are still many things you can realistically see yourself doing.
One thing to consider is learning origami. There are free how-to videos online. Could you see yourself learning this craft and giving away some homemade origami projects to family or friends six months from now?
The important thing here is not what you see yourself doing; what is vital is that you set a goal for yourself at least six months to a year out into the future. If you don’t care for the art of paper folding, envision yourself doing something else. Even seeing yourself having cleaned out and organized the garage is okay as long as you see that as an obtainable goal that you could achieve in the future.
Because seeing yourself as having an extended future and being open to the possibilities that could enter into it creates the space for opportunities to come into your life. Believing you have opportunities increases happiness.
MINDSET #2 – Consider Yourself to be Your Main Investment
Wealth creation consists of saving money and investing it. Poverty can cause an individual to become preoccupied with the first part of that equation and dismissing the second part. Desperation to find savings on everything from milk to raincoats to toilet paper overtakes the brain. Save. Save. Save becomes your mantra. There usually isn’t any extra money left for investigating things like money market accounts or fine art, so the thought of investing leaves one’s consciousness.
Yet, this is the type of consciousness needed for wealth creation.
The best way to maintain this type of thinking is to reframe your thoughts about spending your money. For example, say you decide you want to save money by buying some online food saver bags. Putting fruits and vegetables into these bags will waste less food and reduce spending on produce.
However, you can also view this purchase as a smart investment in your health as you are prolonging the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in your home to improve your nutritional needs.
Notice how that line of thinking is expansive, whereas the notion of penny-pinching to save a few cents on produce is reductive. Having a balance of both thoughts can help relieve some of the anxiety financially challenged people create by continually entertaining thoughts of needing to save every dime.
MINDSET #3 – Turn Your Situation into a Game When Possible.
If you haven’t seen the film Life is Beautiful, please watch it. The story centers around a Jewish Italian bookshop owner who employs various games to shield his son from the horrors of imprisonment during World War II.
Let’s face it. Poverty isn’t usually fun. Leaky ceilings, worn-out shoes, and insufficient heating aren’t pleasurable experiences. Too much focus on these difficulties lowers our vibration, ignites stress, and increases depression. Since leaving your environment usually isn’t possible, making a game out of your situation is often a practical method for maintaining your sanity and optimism.
Here’s one option if you live with others: Get a small box or jar. Every time anyone in the household encounters stress, they get to write down the experience on a small piece of paper and put it in the container. At the end of the month, you can all play “Guess my Stress,” a type of charades played by taking turns pulling the pieces of paper out of the jar and act out, without speaking, the action on the paper.
The more ridiculous and exaggerated the actions, the better. Should you play this game, you’ll discover you’ve found a way to transmute the energy of stress and negativity into something funny and absurd. In that way, you will feel as if you have power over your troubles instead of feeling as if your troubles have power over you.
#Mindset 4 – Continue to See Yourself as Lucky.
Give the number four a break. Wait a while before seeking a different lucky number or talisman. You might not be as unlucky as you think. Had you stayed there, you might have found that downsizing caused your co-workers to become competitive, transformed your boss into a micromanager, and turned the free parking into a memory.
Keep in mind this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.”
Understand that his message isn’t saying you have to do cartwheels every time something terrible happens to you. The things that push us into financial hardship don’t usually fill us with joy. Death, disease, and betrayal rarely ignite feelings of good fortune. However, if we can find an element of luck within the situation, we can increase our chances of attracting more luck into our lives.
In fact, according to Richard Wiseman, author of Luck Factor, lucky people see the positive side of their bad luck. They believe that any ill-fortune in their lives will, in the long run, work out for the best.
A mindset like this boosts resiliency and increases happiness. Think about using it if poverty forces its way on you and gives you a smelly kiss. No, you don’t have to love the experience, but you can hold your nose and get through it. Maybe afterward, you’ll meet someone who went through the same thing, and they’ll offer you a free beer or even a job.
You might be that lucky.