Why Would We Want to Cultivate Humility?
One might ask…
One definition of humility is as follows:
“Humility is the quality of being humble: modest, not proud, doing something out of the goodness of your heart, not for yourself, self-abasing.”
Today, I’m mainly concerned with cultivating a sense of humility with regards to saving and investing, and as a means to help one think twice before overspending.
The Need for Humility
Like The Police song goes, “we are spirits in the material world”.
We live in a culture and society that emphasizes acquiring material things. Television commercials and billboard ads constantly bombard and tempt us to buy the latest, greatest product. Or, we are tempted to buy a new car, or go on another vacation abroad. Electronic gadgets like computers, iPads, Kindles, iPhone and Androids are the latest toys people crave.
Truth be told, it’s nice to live the good life of spending and traveling and shopping, if you truly can afford it. But, truth be told, many of us spend beyond our means! We acquire credit cards which make it too easy to spend money we haven’t yet earned!
But let’s take a step back and look at where this urge to overspend is coming from.
Why Cultivate Humility?
Cultivating humility is a admirable trait, to have on the path to a more financially secure future. Sure, it’s nice to buy the things we want right now, but many times we forget that we need to put a big chunk of our paycheck away for savings and investing in the future… especially for retirement.
Changing the way we perceive things is very important, and we need to do this in order to discipline ourselves to save and invest, so that we can let our money work for us, as opposed to being an indentured servant to our employers.
Let’s look at some pitfalls that might get in the way of our accumulating wealth and financial freedom.
- Ego and Pride – We feel we are special enough that we deserve things. Somehow, our mind wants something shiny and new. And sure, we work hard for it and thus it becomes a reward that justifies the sweat and toil we endure at our jobs, but not at the expense of putting ourselves in serious debt.
- Someone Else Has It! – Admit it. When you saw your co-worker with the brand new cell phone, or driving in a new car, or someone at Starbucks surfing the Wi-Fi network on the newest Macbook Pro, you felt you just had to have one too. It’s that keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality of, “if they have it, I can have it too! After all, I deserve it!”
Cultivating a sense of humility helps put a lid on the desires of overspending and credit card use (and abuse).
Humility actually teaches us to re-evalutate our wants and desires, and think more on a plan of action to save and invest for the future. Especially if you have children, it’s important to discipline one’s self and put money away for a future college fund or to save money in the event of an emergency.
Humility teaches us to be less materially oriented and think about satisfying a specific goal, rather than satisfying one’s own needs first.
So, how does one specifically develop humility?
6 Ways to Cultivate Humility
- 1. Eating smaller portions at meals. I know this might sound silly to some of you. How does this relate to humility? Well, it teaches us to exercise portion control, and being that food is a big part of everyone’s lives, this somehow translates to other aspects in life. Just as we don’t want to over eat, we don’t want to over spend.
- 2. By helping others. Whether it’s a neighbor or helping an old lady cross the street. Doing little things to help others, like making someone a cup of coffee, or giving someone a nice, thoughtful gift, goes a long way in developing a sense of humility.
- 3. Read eastern philosophy. The great sages from Asia, like Confucius and Lao Tzu, wrote a lot about humility, of being less egotistical and to simply live in better harmony with our surroundings.
- 4. Practice meditation. This is a good practice to still the mind and clear the mind of thoughts. It’s a very subtle practice that seems useless because to a Westerner, it seems like nothing is getting done. But, something actually IS getting done and you are changing the way you perceive life at a deeper level, and can help to cultivate humility and compassion.
- 5. Practice Frugality. Probably the most direct way anyone can do to cultivate humility, is to practice frugal living. And this basically comes down to less spending, and wise spending. But, also includes ways to save money around the house, from turning off lights to conserving water. And frugal living doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing much enjoyment in one’s life, but to find ways to enrich one’s life without having to spend and arm and a leg to do it! The act of practicing frugal living will help one cultivate a sense of humility, and the two actually go hand-in-hand. And, combined with savings and investing will help save more money to achieve more financial security for the long run.
- 6. Practice dollar-free weekends. This comes directly from How to Create a Dollar Free Weekend. This is just one idea, in order to saving money by not spending a single dollar in a given weekend. And, I recommended one weekend in a month, in which to do things that are FREE, yet can be life enriching, if we allow our minds to appreciate the richness of simple things that are FREE.
Cultivating the Proper Mindset
Actually, the purpose of this writing is to help cultivate the proper mindset to spend less, and to control the mind from over spending, with a sense of humility.
At a time when hard times have befallen many, it’s important to control our spending habits, so that we have more money available to redirect to savings and investments. That way, we allow our money to work for us, and not against us.