Unlearning (Beliefs about Money)


Part of my journey these days is to unlearn the things I’ve picked up along the way that don’t serve me anymore.

The process of unlearning means letting go of previously held beliefs and ideas that are false, outdated, and unproductive. This can be difficult because many of our beliefs are subconscious, and we may have emotional reasons for hanging onto them, so they create blind spots in our consciousness. Sometimes things just have to get so bad that we have to do something about it.

We unlearn things in order to make room for knowledge that is more accurate, resonant, and truthful to who we really are, and how life really is.

Currently, I’m unlearning beliefs I’ve had about the life areas of finances/jobs, and career/vocation. These terms are used in casual conversation, but I realized I don’t truly understand their meaning, even though they have a huge impact on my quality of life, so I’m unlearning/relearning what they mean to me.

In a talk given by Alan Watts, he says:

The difference between having a job and having a vocation is that a job is some unpleasant work you do in order to make money, with the sole purpose of making money. There are plenty of jobs because there is still a certain amount of dirty work that nobody wants to do, and that therefore they will pay someone to do it. There is essentially less and less of that kind of work because of mechanization. If you do a job with the sole purpose of making money, you are absurd, because if money becomes the goal–and it does if you work that way–you begin increasingly to confuse it with happiness or with pleasure. Yes, one can take a handful of crisp one dollar bills and practically water your mouth over it, but this is a kind of person who is confused like a Pavlov dog, who salivates on the wrong bell.

I can definitely relate to that, and it’s something I noticed my parents and other adults struggling with while I was growing up. I think most of us like the feeling of doing a good job, but when money (or the fear of survival) becomes the sole purpose of doing it, it takes all the joy and meaning out of what we do.

I want to do things because I enjoy it, it has personal meaning to me, and I see the purpose in doing it. Sometimes that will mean being paid to do a job, running my own a business, or both, but I want to know what my intentions and motivations are behind what I’m doing.

This is a work in progress, and I’ll be sure to write more about it.


image credit: Pixabay

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2 thoughts on “Unlearning (Beliefs about Money)”

  1. This is really a good subject. Like you, I was raised with people doing jobs because they needed to make a living, not necessarily because they liked it. Some things people enjoy doing won’t make them a lot of money, but it’s okay if they live within their means. Some people need to do something they don’t enjoy merely to put food on the table. It’s really a tough subject. I appreciate this post and the deep thought on the subject.


    1. It really is an important topic, especially where I’m at right now in life. My parents came here to escape the Vietnam War, didn’t know the language, and the first jobs they had were cleaning restaurants and working in factories. While I deeply admire their work ethic, I know that to succeed financially in America it takes more than just breaking your back every day and living paycheck to paycheck. This subject is definitely worth more articles, and I’m glad you read it and got something out of it.


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