Money as survival, living off grid and a money free world are terms that are being bandied around more and more as people become aware of the systemic trap we’ve all been indoctrinated into.
When you look at the patterns of how the money-as-survival system plays out, you realize its efficacy lies in how thoroughly it hamstrings you from every angle.
Today we’re going to briefly unpack five of the ways that the money system manages to keep you trapped, even though you may be making moves towards trying to get out of it.
1. A short cycle of 1-month
Time is a very artificial construct, once you get into it.
The only real measure of time we have is a day, and we mark that because we see the sun rise and set. It’s the contrast of the light and darkness that so effectively delineates the measure of time in a day.
There’s no such obvious marker however for weeks and months. Some would argue that you could use the moon and seasonal cycles, but those would vary according to where you are in the world, and if that’s true, then June in the Northern Hemisphere would have to become December in the Southern Hemisphere.
The purpose of that sidetrack is to lay the background for the idea that month-end is an artificially generated construct.
Nothing actually happens if you don’t pay by a specific date – well nothing of cosmic significance anyway. There are no cases of people getting struck by lightning for skipping bill payments… *smiles*
The biggest problem with this artificial cycle that concludes in month end, is that it is really a short cycle.
You quickly fall into the trap of living month-to-month, hand-to-mouth, with the idea that you’ll make it through the end of this month and then start the long-term stuff next month.
But next month never comes, does it?
You just get stuck in this loop of generating just enough money to make it to month-end, so that you can breathe for a day or two, and feel a bit rested before you launch into something bigger that could yield long-term results.
You get focused on completing shorter projects so that you can meet your immediate expenses, because if you don’t meet those then long term doesn’t really matter.
2. You don’t get enough time or rest
And you make it to next month, but when you get there, you’re still tired… and it always seems to be very close to when you have to make sure you can cover the next set of bills that is due.
You decide to rush through a few projects to make time for the long-term project that will yield results, or you spend time on the longer term project first…. either way, when it comes to balancing the other end of the scale, later on, you’re tired, and already starting to feel burnt out, as well as the looming pressure of month end.
And if you can just make it through month end, well then, next month maybe you’ll get time to sort this all out properly?
But you don’t get the time – and you don’t get the time to rest either. You’re running on empty, exhausted, and firing on maybe 40 to 80% of your cylinders… if you’re lucky.
So, even if you do find time to work on “the big thing”, you’re only doing it with half a brain.
The rest of your brain is wrapped in worrying about what you have to get done, how much money you have to generate, and what you can do to get there; so much so, in fact, that you are never truly present when you’re working – or when you’re resting.
It’s that constant inner voice chatter that becomes your worst enemy when you try to rest as well: yes, you take the time and rest your physical body, but your mind just keeps spinning and spinning and spinning, like a broken record.
And because you’re never firing on all cylinders, you never quite reach that great idea that could actually maybe pull you out of this mess.
Or you get the idea and you miss it, or just plain don’t have the energy to actually do anything about realizing it.
3. Constant low-grade stress
All of that inner voice chatter is a constant low-grade buzz – a stressor that eats away at the back of your mind, wearing you down and draining you over the long term.
You get even more tired and feel less inclined to find the time and energy to make that “big thing” happen.
You start feeling powerless to do anything in fact – but that’s okay: you’re usually too tired to notice.
This all-pervading tiredness further reinforces the pattern of “doing enough for month end so that I can rest before the next big surge.”
Over time, “enough to get by” is all you eventually seem to do.
4. Shame and failure
Hopelessness never comes alone: it travels with its friends, shame and failure.
The more and more we feel like we’re failing, the more we keep that information private, to ourselves.
When you do ego mitigation work, one of the powerful realizations you’ll come to is that anything only ever has power over you when you keep it private. You never fear something that is already known – this is why we hide things about ourselves.
Read more on ego mitigation here.
Out of shame, people stay private about their money issues: not just you, but also the people around you.
As a result, when we benchmark against others in our minds, we are really benchmarking against our imagination – and our imaginations love to paint a grass-is-greener scenario when we do that.
So on top of the hopelessness and powerlessness that we are already feeling, every time we think about how others are doing, we see ourselves as failures by comparison.
If you repeatedly tell yourself that you are a failure, thousands of times every month, you will eventually feel like a failure. When that happens, you will approach every situation expecting to fail.
When you’re convinced that something is doomed to fail from the start, well why should you even bother putting any effort into it?
5. Bad Habits
If you do anything repeatedly, it will become normal to you, and a habit. This is what we mean by something becoming “subconscious”.
Once you’re stuck in that cycle of “making it to month end,” and you’ve allowed it to become entrenched for a few months, you establish all these patterns as your default habits, your default reactions and behaviours.
From the moment you step onto that “getting by” carousel, it’s almost impossible to step off, and the entire system just repeatedly drags you further and further down, until you just give up hope of ever getting it right.