By Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (1961-2006)
Author of the bestselling, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book series
From the introduction to his 2001 book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money.
When the subject of money comes up, there’s often stress in the air. Money is necessary, of course, but it’s confusing to most of us.
Most people feel they have too little of it; a few people have too much. Money causes rifts between friends as well as family members. Money breaks up marriages and lifelong friendships. I’ve heard there are more arguments, fights, and disagreements about money than about any other subject in the world.
People become greedy about money, and they become stubborn. Rarely does this topic bring out the best in someone; often it brings out the worst. Many people are foolish and wasteful with their money. Others become very controlling and uptight. To further complicate matters, money is often associated with power and prestige. Therefore, many people attach their self-esteem to their net worth and, in doing so, ruin their chance to have happy and peaceful lives.
You’d think that when a person acquired a certain degree of wealth, they’d stop sweating about money, but usually the opposite occurs. Rather than feeling relief, they become even more obsessed. Now they are worried about keeping it, protecting it, caring for it, and so forth.
I’ve been with many poor people, a great number of rich people, and a vast number of people in-between. In all honesty, I’d have to say that 99 percent of them, regardless of their financial statures, sweat the small stuff about money.
Indeed, it’s a universal tendency. You can’t (and probably don’t want to) avoid the issues surrounding money, but you can learn to take them more in stride. And when you do, your entire life will become more relaxing and peaceful.
It’s quite possible to achieve great wealth and success in your life, yet remain unaffected by it. It’s possible to make wise and appropriate decisions about money without excessive worry or grief. That’s what this book is about: finding ways to create abundance and more fun without the stress that is usually associated with such intentions.
Learning how not to sweat the small stuff about money won’t take away all the monetary issues you have to deal with, but it sure will bring you more peace of mind. With added perspective, and perhaps a bit of humor, you’ll be able to tend to your money wisely—make great choices and see things clearly without having fiscal issues take over your life.
If you’ve read any of my Don’t Sweat books, you know that I believe strongly in the potential of people. I believe we have the potential for great joy, compassion, and wisdom. And part of this potential is manifested when we learn to stop sweating the small stuff.
When you stop sweating the small stuff about money, everyone benefits. You’ll feel better, and what’s more, you’ll probably make more money, too. To me, it’s pretty obvious that any success we enjoy is despite our worry, not because of it! Worry and excessive stress are distractions that keep us from our dreams and from our greatest potential. So as we discover ways to worry less, to “not sweat it,” we ignite that capacity within us.
Even as importantly, others benefit, too. As we worry less about money, we are more willing to do things for others. We are more generous and charitable. Rather than postponing the giving of our time, energy, ideas, or money because of fear, we learn to give freely, from the heart.
I’ve known many people who, after dropping some of their concerns about this issue, started donating money and volunteering their time for others. Without the emotional burdens of getting too uptight about money, you can use your energy in more constructive ways, doing the things that bring you the most joy.
The 100 strategies in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money were written to help you banish worry from your life forever.
Whether you want the confidence to pursue a new career or dream, the emotional freedom to ask others for help or for a raise, the ability to handle criticism or rejection, the confidence to take a risk, speak to a group, do more for your favorite charity, creatively and confidently market a service or product—or simply to become less uptight about money—consider these strategies. I am hopeful that they will help you create an even better life.
For more information about Carlson’s books, visit www.dontsweat.com.