We Are, Therefore We Do

One of the Heaths’ most interesting findings has to do with how our identity drives our behavior.

Parts of our identity are set at birth – our nationality, our ethnicity.  But parts can be chosen, such as our occupation.  The Heaths describe several examples where change came about through the conscious cultivation of a new identity, such as the factory workers who were encouraged to see themselves as inventors and became amazingly creative at coming up with ideas for new products and finding new ways of running the factory more efficiently.

I believe very firmly in this idea.  As I’ve written before, our culture conditions us to see ourselves as consumers.  And yet, by definition, to consume is to use up, squander, and spend wastefully.  That goes a long way toward explaining why so many people have so much debt and so little savings.

Consciously rejecting that identity and seeing ourselves as builderscan help us use money in constructive ways that enable us to build lives of meaning, purpose, and joy.

What About You?

How do you see the Heaths’ guidance about our emotions impacting your life, either in a change you’ve already made or in one you’re working on right now?

Matt Bell is the author of three personal finance books published by NavPress, including the brand new "Money & Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples."  He teaches a wide variety of workshops at churches, conferences, universities, and other venues throughout the country.  To learn more about his work and subscribe to his blog, go to: www.mattaboutmoney.com.