We Don’t Need No (More) Education

If you’re looking to master your money, it’s time to put down that book.

Ok, this isn’t intended to conflict with other articles that discuss the importance of educating ourselves in personal finance. In fact, money mastery requires it.

Your first port of call is to become aware of where there are gaps in your knowledge and understanding, and then get to work in doing something about it. It’s part of the necessary sequence.

The problem comes when you spend all your time looking for new information and not much time applying what you’ve learned. It’s very easy to think you’ve got your money situation under control simply because you have the education.

Unfortunately, being book smart doesn’t mean you have mastery over your money at all. It just means that you’ve got a better understanding of where you could be going wrong.


Books, books and more books

And this applies to all areas of life. How many times have you tracked down a weight loss program, only to delay starting it so that you can do research into different programs with more glamorous names? And in the process of doing more and more research you end up putting it off or doing nothing at all.

Yes, you may make mistakes if you rush into applying the wonderful insights that you’ve learned and being thorough with your research may help alleviate that. But having great information doesn’t mean you’re immune to errors being made anyway.

The important thing is to not get caught up in the drive for perfection and analysis paralysis. Good enough may well be good enough. But having all the information also doesn’t mean that you’re motivated to act on it either. That’s the crux of the problem.

In his TED talk “Why TED Talks don’t change people’s behavior”, Tom Asacker captures the essence. There is plenty of information out there and we can all find strategies, people to model and techniques if we really want it. What’s missing for many of us is a connection with our personal truths, our individual narratives and an alignment with our hoped-for future.

In other words, you can read all the books in the world. You can watch every TED talk out there. Or even listen to one of the many, many podcasts available. But unless you can align the information to your values and your identity, then facts are just facts that won’t move you to action.

So before you head back down to the bookstore to find yet another book on personal finance or personal development, or sign up for another seminar on “how to guarantee future wealth and riches”, take a step back. Ask yourself what’s really holding you back in your life and your finances.You may already have all you need right in front of you.

And despite having all the required information to hand, the reason why you struggle to make headway may be down to a simple lack of alignment with your true passions or an inspiring vision of a future self.

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