When we are in kindergarten we call it socialization, as teens we call it peer pressure, and as adults we try to perceive ourselves as individuals and somehow immune. Nonetheless the influence creeps in subtly by the jobs we work, families we are part of, social activities we engage, churches we attend, and media and music choices we make. Yes, we pick our groups so we acknowledge we have choices in the matter but that in and of itself shows that we do recognize and participate in the process of submitting to the pressure of influence of the company we keep. If it were not so than why would we not feel comfortable in expressing our individuality by being alone? Why would we be discontent with what we refer to as loneliness?
Resumes and obituaries often list all the associations we have aligned ourselves with as well as our own descriptions of ourselves:
- I'm a Republican (or Democrat)
- I'm a member of the Baptist church
- I'm a veteran
- I'm a vegetarian
All these things indicate where our alliances are and those of like mind will be drawn to us and others will recognize them as our boundaries or areas where we are likely to disagree. Even seemingly small questions like "do you drink?" tells something about what we find acceptable or not and immediately let us know if we have something in common or not.
What does this have to do with money? In the past two elections when one states themselves to be a Republican or a Democrat has often been a clear indication of not only their own monetary ideology but also what they believe the countries national policy should be. Though they might disagree in measure they will probably agree in principle.
I love detective stories where the leading characters must follow the clues to find the culprit. "Follow the money" which is one of the primary methods of tracking ones behaviors, motives, and activities.
Most of us try to think of our finances as a compartmentalized aspect of our lives, as if it is somehow separate from who we are. The reality of it is that how we handle money from gaining it to managing it shows much about who we are and our own motives, ideals, and priorities. We further tend to align ourselves with those we feel compatible with for shared encouragement, achievement of common goals, and shared lifestyles.
So for all of us who desire to be doing better it is a good idea to check ourselves to recognize and acknowledge what influences we are allowing to permeate our thinking and then align ourselves with the direction and people moving toward where we as individuals need to go.