Emtotional Detachment from Money
by Ron D. Pate

Often I am asked to share lessons I’ve learned as I climbed and continue to climb the ladder of financial success. This article shares one of these lessons, perhaps one of the most important lessons, and one that few realize is needed to achieve significant wealth.

Many people I run into want to achieve a level of financial success uncommon in our society, but few ever make any significant inroads toward this goal. As I consider the lessons learned, I conclude that one of the most difficult and I feel one of the most essential lessons I’ve had to learn is that of emotional detachment. Most people are simply too emotionally attached to money. Understand I do not mean to not care, but rather to not care too much. The attachment many feel to money results in a level of fear which prevents them from pursuing those things which could make them wealthy. Most wealthy people I have met have taken risks and have developed a good level of emotional detachment. Without this, the losses you may incur along the way toward your goal can cloud your financial decision making ability. It can cause you to abandon the path on which you have embarked, just when abandoning the path is the most certain way to failure, whereas dogged persistence in the face of difficulty would otherwise result in the success you seek.

Interestingly, we often hear of very wealthy people going bankrupt, or having a business go bankrupt, and then in a few years they’re right back in the saddle, often in a more attractive position than they were prior to the decline. When making large decisions with your own money, it is much different than when you make decisions which affect someone else, an employer perhaps. But it should not be so. If you are to make the most rational, likely to succeed decision, it requires a clear conscious, clear from irrational thoughts driven by fear, one of our most powerful emotions.

It is hard if not impossible to develop true emotional detachment without embarking on the journey toward wealth development. When a negative financial situation arises, that is the time to take the experience and use it for positive personal growth. For example, there was a time when I lost well into six figures of assets in just a few months. When this initially happened to me, it was extremely painful and caused significant emotional distress. Fortunately I realized that I could either wallow in the feelings of anger and depression resulting from this loss, or I could turn it into a positive growth experience. It was this experience that helped me develop the beginnings of emotional detachment, and ultimately that helped me isolate my thinking in a way that has allowed me to employ greater leverage, take larger calculated risks, and to realize much greater returns than I ever lost.

Although you cannot turn on a switch and instantly experience emotional detachment from money, it is important to realize this requirement. You can never fully detach emotionally from money, nor should you want to, but understanding and doing so to an extent is essential if you are to develop significant wealth. No, this will NOT make you wealthy, nor will it necessarily give you insights on the achievement of wealth, but without it you can rest assured it will be more difficult for you to do the things that can lead to outstanding wealth and financial freedom. Indeed, the lack of a reasonable level of emotional detachment from money has sunk many marriages, and killed many financial dreams.

In closing, just remember this regarding money and material possessions: In the end, you can’t take it with you!


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Copyright 2005 by Ron D. Pate, All rights reserved.