HUGH CULVER

3 daily rituals that will make you rich

Updated to Habits on May 3, 2023.

This post was originally published in January 2017 and was updated January 2023.

I’m nervous about posting this.

This message is so important, I worry that my humble writing efforts won’t do it justice.

You see, I want you to be rich.

Ouch!….sounds like get-rich-quick hyperbole, right?

….let me explain.

I want you to feel wealthy – free to make decisions you want to make. And I want you to pull off the dark blanket of worry that weighs on so many people. 

Just to be clear: this isn’t about possessions or cash in your wallet—it’s about the experience of abundance.

Most of us (myself included) grew up with a scarcity mindset – there’s only so much to go around, so be careful not to lose it. “Scarcity mentality measures out life by the ounce;” writes Erin Straza in, Comfort Detox “it always concludes that the needs outweigh the resources.”

Oh, we might talk a big talk about income, wealth, savings, and growth. That’s all great.

But a scarcity mindset isn’t obvious—like software. It’s there, running your programming, twisting each decision, and clouding your thinking. You assume it’s just the way it is – as if it’s permanent.

Old cars, old clothes

I come from a big family. Somehow my dear mother – in only 10 years – delivered nine of us to the world. And when I was a kid, clothes were handed down, we bought old cars (My Dad would say “You know you lose a quarter of a new car’s value as soon as you drive it off the lot”) and a restaurant dinner was what we saw other people do.

We weren’t poor, but we certainly weren’t learning about abundance, or what it feels like to be rich.

All of us on a road trip across Canada

In a binary sort of way, I used to think being rich was only about bank accounts and how many days you can call “vacation.”

It’s not that simple.

“A person’s relationship with money,” says behavioral economist Sarah Newcomb1, “is almost never about the numbers. It is about the stories we tell ourselves because of those numbers.” To tackle those stories we need to understand that there is enough to go around.

There is enough

We all compare ourselves to other people. It used to be we only compared on the sports field, in school, at work, or from the books we read. Television and modern advertising took that to a whole new level of comparison. Today we are bombarded with images of happy people living happy lives in beautiful places. They all seem to be more successful, taller, richer or have better abs.

The real harm is when we believe we don’t deserve better—as if what we want is in limited supply. This scarcity thinking can even lead to being “…resistant to taking care of ourselves as fully as we can.” says clinical psychologist Suzanne Lachmann2.

So we don’t attempt to save, get in shape, eat better, or invest in education. After all, if you don’t deserve it, what’s the point?

The truth is you do deserve it and there is enough to go around.

There’s enough money, opportunities, business, deals, triple Venti half-sweet non-fat caramel Macchiatos, and clients. And there’s certainly enough for you.

If I was to make of list of lessons that changed the course of my life, this would be first on the list: if you want to change your life, start by changing your programming. With a bit of focus and consistency, you can trim away years of programming and install the latest, greatest version of you. The new version of your mental software is already there – it’s waiting – you just need to hit the “install” button.

I started with 3 rituals.

Call them habits, mantras, observations, or – Oh, I know – upgrades. Practicing these rituals won’t miraculously pay off your credit card debt, give you a six-pack or get you a raise. You won’t be taller, smarter, or more attractive either (sorry.) But, you will be doing something 90% of people never think of doing: choosing how to live.

Here they are – 3 deceptively simple rituals that could quite simply change your life and make you rich.

RITUAL #1: Notice abundance.

Walk in nature, appreciate people who have something you want (don’t dismiss or envy them), and reward yourself (like with a special cup of coffee, a book you’ve been wanting to read, or an overdue yoga class). Your goal is to become comfortable with having wealth in your life.

You may be living with a debilitating disorder – it’s called the psychology of scarcity (Daniel Kahneman)—the belief that there isn’t enough to go around. This can have short-term impacts, like relying on crazy-high rates at payday lender outlets (there are now more of these outlets in the United States than McDonald’s and Starbucks outlets, combined). It can also impact your decisions, by playing it safe or not asking for what you want.

Again, I’m not fixating on money – this is about abundance in nature, having enough to eat, and being able to walk without fear in your neighborhood. This is the growth mindset coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck that can lead to better decisions and even longer life3.

The only difference between people who have more of what you want and you is that they have different mindset rituals. Abundance is all around you.

RITUAL #2: Take 2 minutes at the end of every day for gratitude.

As simple, hackneyed, and cliché as it might seem, there is research to prove the value of gratitude. In one experiment4, writing letters (even if you don’t send them) or phoning to express gratitude to someone influential in your life resulted in measured happiness increasing by as much as 400%. Think about that – four times the happiness from scribbling on a piece of paper!

Expressing gratitude is also a brain booster. When you share how grateful you are (even thinking about how grateful you are) it has a positive effect on your brain and well-being that can be measured days and weeks later.

In one series of studies, using fMRI scans, researchers found that expressing gratitude (thinking, writing, or calling the person) showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex, a brain area associated with learning and decision-making. “Simply expressing gratitude may have lasting effects on the brain.” reported researchers Joel Wong and Joshua Brown, “…it may help train the brain to be more sensitive to the experience of gratitude down the line, and… improved mental health over time.5

RITUAL #3: Ask for what you want.

The more you ask, the easier it becomes. Go for simple asks, like going ahead in a line because you’re in a hurry, or having interest fees charges waived from a missed credit card payment (which I did this week.) Here’s a great example.

I’m writing this post from Wailea, Maui listening to the calls of the Mynas, sipping Ceylon tea as the morning warms up. In a few minutes, we’ll be paddling out into Alalaleili Channel to spend the morning watching Humpbacks breach.

Crazy right? How did this happen?

Simple, I asked for what I wanted (in this case to borrow a friend’s condo).

When you ask for what you want, resistance lets go of the steering wheel and opportunity moves into the driver’s seat of life.

My experience has been that when I speak up and ask for what I want more often than not I get what I need. As Mick and the boys put it, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you’ll get what you need.”

On more than one occasion, I’ve been asked to waive my speaking fee for an event. I could thank them and walk away (a lose/lose.) Instead, I now ask if they want to buy a copy of my book for every delegate (often that is the equivalent of paying my fee). Surprisingly, even though they might have a policy of never paying speakers, they will find the money for books.

If we are going to do good on this planet we need to come from a place of abundance, not scarcity. “If you really believe that abundance is available to all,” says Michelle Rose Gilman, founder of Fusion Academy6, “you’ll end up attracting your own abundance.”

More about wealth creation

In this post “Want to make more money? Solve a bigger problem” I argued for raising your value in the market by solving bigger problems. A great starting point is to run a quick survey of your audience and ask them what they need.

In the post, “Want to make more money? Look in the mirror” I wrote about “turning up” your money margin so you are ready to receive more money. Sounds weird, but once you admit you’re wired to a money-set-point (money margin) it only makes sense you can change it. Here’s the 5-step formula I use:

  1. Learn to be uncomfortable
  2. Study success.
  3. Ask for what you’re worth.
  4. Accept money as good.
  5. Give money away.

If you want some incentive to turn your back on that chocolate chip carrot muffin, read “How to get rich by spending less money (it’s easier than you think)” – if nothing else, you’ll save $1,000 this year.

And, finally, in one of my most popular posts “How to make money now as an expert” I go deep into how to make money as a speaker by, well, not speaking!

Footnotes:

  1. The Three Rules for Healthy Money” Psychology Today. Sarah C. Newcomb Ph.D. April 2016.
  2. How to Finally Feel Good Enough to Deserve Better” Psychology Today. Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D. Oct. 2013.
  3. Why Mindset Matters” Stanford Magazine, published on medium.com Sept. 2017.
  4. The Science of Happiness – An Experiment in Gratitude”, Gratitude Seeds Magazine.
  5. How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain”, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Joel Wong and Joshua Brown.
  6. Michelle Rose Gilman and the Fusion Academy middle schools


Walking by matthew Feeney on Unsplash

Grateful by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash