On the Verge of… Hope
When you’re stuck in a bad situation, it can be all too easy to never attempt escape – even when the prison doors are left wide open.
Learned helplessness keeps us stuck in jobs we hate and holds us back from seeing our dreams through to reality – but this behavior can be unlearned. In this episode, you’ll learn how it keeps people trapped in jobs they hate, poor health, and terrible circumstances despite how easy it might be to escape a negative situation.
Best of all, you’ll learn how to defeat this psychological trap and regain a full sense of control and hope in your life.
Here Are The Show Highlights:
– How to re-discover ‘hopes and dreams’ to create purpose in your life ([9:25])
– Why the majority of people unknowingly enforce their sense of despair – and how you can avoid the same psychological trap ([10:30])
– Two things that are far more important than what college you go to ([15:05])
– How to put some WOW in your day…and someone else’s simultaneously ([17:00])
Remember to download Grandma’s free wholesome wealth recipes book by dropping into http://www.grandmaswealth.com. Time-honored wealth strategies served with a helping of balance and trust.
If you’d like to see how Grandma’s timeless wealth strategies can work in your life, schedule your free 15-minute coffee chat with us by visiting https://www.grandmaswealthwisdom.com/call…just like Grandma would want us to do.
A hearty welcome to Grandma’s Wealth Wisdom with your hospitable hosts, Brandon and Amanda Neely. This is the only podcast for strategies to grow your wealth simply and sustainably like grandma used to. Without further ado here are your hosts.
Brandon: Hey, I'm Brandon and welcome to Grandma's Wealth Wisdom where we work with you to build wealth grandma would be proud of.
Amanda: And hi, I'm Amanda. Today's episode is titled On the Verge of Hope. We hear from so many people who only feel despair when it comes to their money, so no matter where you find yourself, either you're unemployed, to busy to change, caring for a sick relative, or whatever the despairing situation, there are ways to find hope. We hope, pun intended, you finish today's episode with more hope than you have right now. [0:01:01.8]
Brandon: It's a despairing world. It's easy to lose sight of our dreams. It's easy to actually stop dreaming entirely. Bad things happen to practically everyone at some point in our lives. For example, like we talked about a couple episodes ago, one out four people will experience a disability before they reach retirement age. Not to mention the increase of natural disasters in recent years and there's also health problems of all sorts. For example me, I needed my appendix removed and had to pay people to work for me. I mean I felt like I was taking disability for a little bit of time, it felt like, Amanda, like I was out of work, and I had to get someone to work for me.
Amanda: Right. You were back to work within a week because I remember you sat down while you worked instead of standing so that you didn't have to pay someone else to be there for you. [0:02:01.0]
Brandon: I did have to move around boxes and things like that, so I felt there was that thing where I had to pay somebody, and I felt a little helpless at that time. Then there's a relationship disasters like divorce, break ups, loss of friendships, even simply moving across the country where you have no support system can lead to despair.
Amanda: At the risk of piling on here, I would add simply the compounding stress of being overworked and underpaid and having life's responsibilities get way out of control can lead to burnout and emotional and physical fatigue. That's pretty despairing.
Brandon: Now we don't need to add more here. If you're not feeling despair just turn on the news and you'll feel it really quickly.
Amanda: Right, but even like for some people, sometimes nothing bad has happened yet, we're distracted, and our priorities are on things that might bring us to a point of despair later on though. [0:03:00.7] For example maybe some people buy a home that they really can't afford and that could lead to despair when the next housing bubble bursts and they find themselves underwater with little chance of recovery anytime soon. Or maybe it's not the housing bubble that burst, but a pipe that bursts and they're literally underwater within their home and they don't have the emergency fund to cover the things that are involved with all of that. This could lead to a place of debt and despair.
Brandon: Here's grandmothers hard truth. Hope is not a strategy. I'm going to say it again. Hope is not a strategy.
Amanda: You can't hope yourself to a better situation. In fact, hope is not a verb, I looked it up in the dictionary, you can't use hope as a verb. So to hope yourself to a better situation is like grammatically not even correct. You can't do it.
Brandon: So I'm going to give you a personal example here. [0:03:59.9] As a couple years back I was having chest pains, I was getting, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, felt like the business was going to kill me.
Amanda: You were diagnosed with anxiety, like literally.
Brandon: And they said you need to have less stress in your life, you need to, how much coffee you drink, was another question which I own a coffee shop and I was drinking a lot of coffee. I realized that I needed to change things. I needed to do something. So the first thing I did was lower my intake of coffee, which is very hard thing to do as a coffee shop owner, at least at the time it was. And also I decided to get physically fit, start exercising more. And so that's what I did, I went to the gym, started exercising and started developing a strategy to not be on that medication, the anxiety meds, and to change my future. That's what I did. [0:04:59.9] Then now what I'm doing is taking a step further and doing something with my nutrition, because it's not just working out, but it's eating healthy. If I just eat Big Macs all day that's not going to help me with being, I can hope I'm going to be healthy, but after eating Big Macs is not going to happen.
Amanda: Health tier is a great example, we're going to come back to it again, but Brandon's telling you is that like you can't hope yourself into better health. Right? You have to actually like do something about it.
Brandon: Which is what I'm doing now and doing some nutrition things with a friend of mine, Dr Kim, and taken even further to get even better healthy, better, more healthy.
Amanda: So maybe health is a good example and we'll talk about how this applies to your wallet and your wealth too. Another point about this whole idea like hope is not a strategy is that you also can't hope that someone else will fix the situation for you.
Brandon: Yeah, I had actually had to do something about it. [0:06:01.4]
Amanda: Right. Too many people place their hope in a politician or in the system to remedy whatever is causing them despair. In most circumstances only you and your god have the power to rediscover hope in a helpless, despairing situation.
Brandon: Now that doesn't mean you have to do it on your own, but you do have to be an active participant in moving from despair to hope. You have to be an active participant.
Amanda: Yeah, just as a side here without getting all religious, even if God does move in a miraculous way to help you transition from despair to hope, you still have to be an active participant in that, like you have to receive what he's doing and you have to move forward from that place, so just little side note. But here's what I really believe is happening when it comes to despair; despair is really a sense of complete loss of control. It goes back to an important discovery, this man named Martin Seligman made in the 1960's and 70's what he discovered, there is research, has this technical term called "learned helplessness". [0:07:13.4] Unfortunately, as part of his research, Martin administered shocks to dogs, which is no longer condoned, no longer part of research, hopefully, but that's what Martin did back in the 60's and 70's, what he was doing is shocking these dogs, making them lose their sense of control, and then he would put them in a situation where they could do something to help themselves, and what he found was that they still didn't do it, they didn't escape even when they had the chance to do so, they became passive. These dogs learned to be helpless even when they had opportunities to help themselves.
Brandon: So what you're saying is even when it was easy for them to escape they didn't do it?
Brandon: They couldn't see what was right in front of them, or if they could see it, they didn't have the motivation to change their situations or circumstances. [0:08:07.4] The idea from this research is that human beings are similar to the dogs, and hopefully, going back to hope, Martin didn't administer any shocks to humans to test the theory, at least we don't know about that. Maybe he did, you never know.
Amanda: No, I don't think so. So they've taken what he did with dogs and they've applied it to people and basically the theory states that, let's say someone experiences a devastating setback or a persistent situation that they couldn't change, they could not control their exposure to this horrible thing that happened or that continues to happen. And then afterward people would still lose hope for the ability to change their life or to change painful situations in the future. They become passive, and even when they have the opportunity to help themselves they don't take it. [0:09:02.5]
Brandon: And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy then too, when you have no hope that your life can change, you don't do anything about it and the situation doesn't change. Change is difficult anyway. When you feel despair and the loss of control, change becomes almost impossible.
Amanda: And the key word there is "almost". It's still possible, there are some things that you can do to regain control and rediscover hope.
Brandon: Now in extreme cases the standard recommendation is to seek out the help of a professional psychologist or health care giver if it's an extreme situation. Now we're not professionals in that sense, so we encourage you to seek the help of a professional if you have any inkling that it would be beneficial for you to see that person.
Amanda: Right, that's absolutely number one thing that is suggested here. [0:10:01.6] Now for less extreme cases we want to give some other ways to find new motivation and determination to control your situation and rediscover hope. We're going to go through them not applying them to your money and then will apply them to your money at the end so that you can be thinking about it in different ways and then we will come back to how it actually helps you build wealth. So we left four ways to control your situation, rediscover hope. The first one is to do something within your ability right now, and then build up your ability to act and control your situation over time.
Grandma always said, “Eat your vegetables.” She loved making home-cooked meals with healthy food and from-scratch desserts. Would you create a diet of fast food or cookie cutter financial products that made you fat and bloated with fees or would you like wholesome time-honored wealth strategies served with balance and trust? Get started with your healthy money planning by downloading wholesome wealthy recipes; your moola cookbook is waiting for you at grandmaswealth.com.
Brandon: Now remember what grandma said, hope is not a strategy. You have to take action.
Amanda: One thing we learned a long time ago about social justice is that spreading awareness is not enough. We learned that people who are exposed to messages about injustices, but are not given a practical step to take or maybe they're given one but they choose not to take it, those people can become jaded and they're likely to tune out to future messages that are spreading awareness about the same issue or about different issues. We see the same to be true for personal change as well. If you know your situation's despairing, maybe even know what you could do to change it but you do not act. What is happening is that you're building up that sense of despair, you're reinforcing it. [0:12:00.0]
Brandon: And again, that goes back to my example with nutrition and with exercise, is I needed to do something and I felt a sense of despair right in the beginning, that I was really going to die or be on meds and I needed to make a change. So I continued to make a change, and what I'm doing in my next phase is getting a better plan around my nutrition, and hopefully with this person, have a little bit of an accountability and trying to up my game when it comes to my fitness and my health side of things.
Amanda: You started with what was somewhat easier to do at the beginning, you started with reducing your consumption of coffee, and then over time you built up your ability. Even when you started going to the gym you would go like once a week and then you were able two or three times a week and now you're going more often. Just that ability to act; you start with something small and you build it up over time. [0:13:02.5]
Brandon: I think the eating thing is going to be a harder thing for me because I love food, as you know, and I like sweet things.
Amanda: Absolutely. That's why you like me. Just kidding. So number two here is to create a path or a plan. Often the motivation to take those smaller actions at the beginning can come from seeing where the first step will lead later on.
Brandon: Lots of people want instant results without any effort or work, I mean I know I would love that, but it can take time and effort to build this. In order to find the motivation to put forth the effort it is helpful to know the end results that work should build towards. For me, I know I want to know my end results of my health nutrition side and I kind of have an idea that it's good and they give me the motivation to walk this journey.
Amanda: A practical example, I think a lot of people who have been through college can relate to, is that college is really hard; it takes a lot of effort to do well in college. [0:14:09.3] But if you think back like teenagers when they're first starting to think about college, they work with parents, they work with teachers, guidance counselors, all those kinds of things, they think about what their career path is going to be, they pick a good school based on where they want to get that job, and they believe that that plan of action, that path that they're going on getting that particular degree from the specific school will help them get that dream job. So when it comes to the difficult things, or even like putting forth the work to apply for a college, go to classes, write papers, take tests, that effort is seen as worth it because there's the hope of a degree and an awesome job later on. The path gives the hope and the motivation to do well, to stay up late, to make it happen.
Brandon: And as older adults, we end up developing plans for lots of things, but sometimes not the most serious of things. [0:15:06.4] I mean a plan for health and wealth is actually more important than what college you go to in the reality of things. What you'll do Saturday nights or that next vacation you're planning to take maybe not so much. If you're having trouble taking the first steps, perhaps you need a bigger path or plan to see where the first step is leading. The path is the source of the motivation.
Amanda: So that's number one and number two. Doing what's in your ability to do right now and then building up that ability over time, and then having that path, that plan for the longer term so you'll have the motivation to do those actions that you need to do. We're going to go through the third and fourth ideas pretty quickly here. The third one is to find people who have done what you're trying to do. There is no challenge known to man or woman that someone in the world has not overcome already. [0:16:05.5] No matter where you're born, the color of your skin, the situation you find yourself in, there are people who have found hope despite whatever it is and you can too. Find these people, read their stories, if you can, talk with them in person, and ask them what helped them. Now with money it can be really hard to find people that are willing to talk about it, even know who to go talk to because we don't often share what we're going through with money so the strategy here is to talk with someone who knows lots of other people's story with money; someone like Brandon or me that work with people. Now, obviously we can't share their personal information, we keep that highly confidential but we can share what's benefited people in similar situations to you. And then indirectly you can learn from others who have overcome and found hope in their own situations. That's number three, find people who have done what you're trying to do. [0:17:01.0] And then number four is to perform an act of kindness. Get out of your own head and benefit someone else. This has two benefits to it. First of all, it actually helps releases helpful chemicals for yourself that clear the fogs of depression and so forth. There's actually a chemical reaction that happens in your brain when you perform an act of kindness or someone else that's helpful in the feelings of despair. And then secondly it's also a practical action that builds your sense of control. If you can't do something for yourself yet, you know when we talked about number one there you felt like, "I can't do anything, that's going to be impossible." perhaps doing something for someone else will help you see that you might be able to do something for yourself too. Even if that thing that you do for someone else is totally different you're still going to build up your sense of control, your sense that you can take action.
Brandon: To bring it all together money, can be the root of a lot of despair. [0:18:00.6] Money is also a hard thing to feel much control about, so it's an area in which it's hard to find hope. We don't set the price of a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas, we don't have a 100% over our salary or if we're going to get a raise, and emergencies happen that throw out our best laid plans for building our wealth all the time.
Amanda: Yeah, I ran across this really interesting study from 2014 that found a spike in admission at hospitals within two days of drop in the stock market. What they found people that had money in the stock market, when the stock market would drop those people would experience particularly things related to their mental health, anxiety and depression that would make them be admitted to the hospital, and they found within two days of that market drop that they saw the admissions rate spike, particularly related to anxiety and depression. [0:19:02.4]
Brandon: It wasn't part of the study, but I wonder if the correlation exists because the stock market is outside of people's control and the drops teach them helplessness, which can lead to anxiety and depression. There's so much we could explore when it comes to the stock market and psychological health. So Amanda, let's mark that down as a future episode topic.
Amanda: For sure, there are some interesting studies I've come across that we could definitely share about. Let's bring this home. If you
take nothing else from today's episode I want you to remember this. Even if you cannot see it there is hope. You might be experiencing some of that learned helplessness with your wallet, and it's not your fault. Outside circumstances can cause a loss of hope and a loss of a sense of control. With learned helplessness you cannot see the way out, even if it's right in front of you, you might not be able to see the escape route or the path to a better place. [0:20:00.8] Even if you don't see it you might not be able to figure out a way to take advantage of it and improve your situation.
Brandon: What is in your control is what you do next. Remember, hope is not a strategy. So getting some outside perspective to help you see what might be difficult to see on your own is really important and is a strategy, plus it's a strategy that can lead to, A, a path forward to your money, and B, actual steps to change your situation. To get some outside perspective, take 30 seconds right now and go to GrandmasWealthWisdom.com and request a meeting, select the time to talk for 15 to 20 minutes and we look forward to seeing if we can help work alongside you develop a path and hope and to take some helpful steps towards that hopeful dream you have. [0:21:02.7]
Amanda: Yeah, so use that link in the show notes to go to our website and schedule that meeting. In the next episode we're going to be wrapping up this series of On The Verge of episodes with On The Verge of Breakthrough. We've talked about finding a sense of home, protecting your ability, redefining peace and rediscovering hope now we're ready to bring it all together. We'll be telling some stories of people who have achieved breakthrough in their finances.
Brandon: Until next time, keep building your wealth simply and sustainably for your own future and the future of our grandchildren's generation.
The topics presented in this podcast are for general information only and not for the purposes of providing legal, accounting or investment advice. On such matters place consult a professional who knows your specific situation.