How Expectations Influence Your Money Mind
Apologies in advance to my male readers, you may find this post uncomfortable.
Both sexes have societal, familial and peer expectations inflicted on us from birth. Humans are kid of hard wired by eons of survival needs to desire and even require the approval of the tribe. Without the tribe, individuals fail to thrive, or sometimes even survive.
Male and female money expectations.
In our patriarchal world, the money expectations and messages women receive are different than the ones men receive. They are different, not only at the top level of consciousness, but at almost all levels. Messages are embedded in the stories we hear, the movies we see, the lessons we learn in school, the chores we are asked to do, the personal characteristics we are supposed to have and more. We absorb these messages day to day in the fabric of our souls, both consciously and subconsciously.
Money messages abound; such as, the man should be the breadwinner, women don’t need to be concerned with it. The man is supposed to earn more, the man should follow the high paying and prestigious career choices, the man should be the president or the CEO or the man should start and run the business. These are still prevalent expectations.
The messages women have received through time make her dependent on the man. You are weaker, I’ll defend you. You don’t have the education (or in past times – the intelligence) to deal with money or business. You can’t work because you have to bear the children and spend your time raising them, keeping the house, making the garden, doing the food shopping, cooking his dinner and etc. Your time is not as valuable as a man’s time.
You don’t get to make the family financial decisions because you don’t earn (as much of) the money! Your career and finance goals must subordinate to your man’s – you should move if he gets an opportunity in another area; you should entertain his clients – yet these aren’t usually reciprocated.
Different money messages are still occurring.
These messages are good neither for the man or the woman! Both sexes suffer when these types of messages are given. Yet the fact remains that we are still receiving them.
Twins are born, one male, one female, to the same family on the same day and are raised together in a stable household. Even if the parents make every effort to ensure that both are given the same kind of education, expectations, chores, money instructions and opportunities, society still makes sure that the money message is different.
The girl learns history in school, she doesn’t read about great women of the past, only great men. The stories she reads and hears honor and make heroes of males. Females are a side story if even mentioned.
She is encouraged to take ‘softer’ subjects instead of sciences and math. She doesn’t see female athletes making big bucks and rarely hears of female business owners or leaders. She is steered towards ‘helper’ careers by teachers, counselors, books, magazines and media. So instead of becoming an engineer, she becomes a school teacher. Instead of becoming a doctor or a dentist, she reaches for a nursing or dental assistant career.
A different angle opens opportunity.
Just think of all the motivational books you have read, all of the histories of business and industry. What if a simple substitution of the female pronoun was used in these stories – what a difference it might make in opening up new worlds of opportunity to more than half of the population! What doors might slam shut for the men of the world in the future?
Try it making the story about her.
Substitute ‘She’ or ‘Her’ or Hers for each He or Him or His and woman for man in this excerpt from “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill.
Here is the original version:
“Through the aid of his imaginative faculty, man has discovered, and harnessed, more of Nature’s forces during the past fifty years than during the entire history of the human race, previous to that time. He has conquered the air so completely that the birds are a poor match for him in flying. He has harnessed the ether, made it serve as a means of instantaneous communication of millions of miles, and has determined, through the aid of imagination, the broadcasting and a receiving station for the vibration of thought and he is beginning now to learn how to make practical use of this discovery. He has increased the speed of locomotion, until he may now travel at a speed of more than three hundred miles an hour. The time will soon come when a man may breakfast in New York, and lunch in San Francisco.
Man’s only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination. He has not yet reached the apex of development in the use of his imaginative faculty. He has merely discovered that he has an imagination and has commenced to use it in a very elementary way.”
Now read the female version:
“Through the aid of her imaginative faculty, woman has discovered, and harnessed, more of Nature’s forces during the past fifty years than during the entire history of the human race, previous to that time. She has conquered the air so completely that the birds are a poor match for her in flying. She has harnessed the ether, made it serve as a means of instantaneous communication of millions of miles, and has determined, through the aid of imagination, the broadcasting and a receiving station for the vibration of thought and she is beginning now to learn how to make practical use of this discovery. She has increased the speed of locomotion, until she may now travel at a speed of more than three hundred miles an hour. The time will soon come when a woman may breakfast in New York, and lunch in San Francisco.
Woman’s only limitation, within reason, lies in her development and use of her imagination. She has not yet reached the apex of development in the use of her imaginative faculty. She has merely discovered that she has an imagination and has commenced to use it in a very elementary way.”
Yes, I do understand the use of the masculine pronoun to include us all, but did Hill mean it that way in this passage? Doubtful.
Do you understand the power of the pronoun in opening up new worlds to all of us?
In this same book, example after example of men conquering, inventing, developing, succeeding – with few to no examples of women doing so. In the first lesson, on desire, he quotes others 19 times, two of them from women. He shows examples of 20 people, one of them a woman. Hero stories are one of the best ways to instill a lesson, demonstrate a value and inspire a person to action. Why don’t we have more heroine stories?
Why do we wonder that women make less than men, or that that only 20 out of Forbes list of 500 CEOs are female? Why do we scratch our heads and ask why when from the moment they are born, women receive a different money message than men, with correspondingly different money expectations?
Expectations don’t have to define you.
It’s hard to break from the expectations ingrained in you since birth. It takes awareness of the need to do so, it takes the desire and courage to go against the grain and it usually takes extra effort to get on the same step you would have been on if the expectations were not different.
What are you doing to help your daughter or granddaughter encounter better money expectations? How are you helping your son or grandson to adjust to the changing financial tide?