*Please note that this is a lighthearted attempt at talking about spending habits. I’m not trying to belittle this multifaceted psychological condition in anyway.
If you’re looking for the magic bullet when it comes to proper management of your personal finances, consider thinking outside of the box. Imitate a psychopath.
You’ve probably been taught at some point in your life that you can learn something from anybody. It’s not only true, but it applies to psychopaths as well.
Yes, you too can get out of debt, quit living from paycheck to paycheck, and prepare yourself for a comfortable retirement by imitating people who are generally thought of as criminally insane.
What’s a Psychopath?
When many people think about a psychopath, they immediately envision a violent murderer. While that may be true in some cases, it’s not always accurate.
Psychopaths are people who share a specific set of personality characteristics. These include fearlessness, charisma and ruthlessness. A person can exhibit these traits and never murder anybody.
Consider a fictional character you probably love who is also a psychopath:
Is there any one of the traits listed above that doesn’t apply to Bond? He has a license to kill and uses it. He has toyed with nuclear weapons at his fingertips. He has engaged in hand-to-hand combat with some of the most dangerous of bad guys. On top of all of that, he still has enough charm to seduce two to three women every movie.
James Bond is the psychopath we love to love.
It’s not likely that you’ll ever need psychopathic qualities to save the world, as Bond has done on multiple occasions. However, you can apply those traits to your money management. In doing so, you’ll find that your financial outlook is greatly improved.
Just Do It
The phrase is well known because it’s the motto of Nike. You might be surprised to learn that it was inspired by a psychopath named Gary Gilmore.
The creator of that slogan, Dan Wieden, came up with the idea in 1988. He was having trouble trying to come up with a single line that could connect various TV commercials.
Wieden said that he recalled a man, Gilmore, who had grown up in Portland and “ran around doing criminal acts in the country.” That man was eventually caught and sentenced to death by firing squad. Before his execution, Gilmore was asked if he had any final thoughts. He said: “Let’s do it.”
“I didn’t like ‘Let’s do it’ so I just changed it to ‘Just do it,’” Wieden said.
Apply that to the management of your finances by fixing your heart and your mind, with singular purpose, on getting out of debt and boosting your overall net worth. As with any other area of your life where you want to be successful, start with an attitude change.
Just do it.
Make it a point to “just do it” when it comes to paying extra money on the credit card bill each month. Make it a point to “just do it” when it comes to trimming back on the number of times you go out to eat every quarter. Finally, “just do it” when it comes to resisting purchases that would further jeopardize your savings goals.
Live in the Moment
It was mentioned previously that James Bond is a famous psychopath, but he’s not real. There are real psychopaths that you might respect: Buddhist monks. Kevin Dutton, an Oxford research psychologist says that Buddhist monks are like psychopaths because they live “in the present.” He also said that he prefers people to think of brain surgeons and CEOS rather than serial killers when thinking about the word “psychopath.”
How do you live in the moment when it comes to managing your finances? Make sure your current efforts are in line with your overall financial goals and your budget. In this case, living in the moment means checking your habits (and your math) to be sure you’re following your own guidelines.
Uncouple Behavior from Emotion
The stereotypical psychopathic trait is that they’re untainted by an emotional response to their own evil actions. However, a lack of emotion can be a good thing in a more positive context.
Avoid letting your emotions dictate your spending habits. Just because a night out at Ruth’s Chris sounds like a terrific evening, that doesn’t mean it’s how you should spend your money. Similarly, that 60-inch HDTV might make you happier when you watch Game of Thrones, but it’s an expense that might not be good financial management.
Be cool and calculated. Live by the numbers, not your feelings. Although, I do believe that there are certain situations where you should follow your gut when it comes to your finances, it’s good to stick with the numbers when you have a strict goal and deadline.
Psychopaths are typically viewed as awful human beings. However, they also have some traits that should be the envy of those who want to gain control of their finances.
Image source via Giphy
What do you think about living by numbers and not your feelings? How do you approach your financial goals when you have strict goal to achieve?