One of the most significant challenges in changing our money habits and financial behaviours is communicating it with our family and those in our care. Relationships and communication are already so nuanced and complex that when we include financial matters, things can escalate with intensity without us even trying! As a result, we can find ourselves wishing we’d approached the conversation differently because we had hoped for a different outcome.

Winning the person, not just the argument, is old wisdom that helps us when entering into conversation with those we value above all else. It’s not always easy to keep this focus, though, because our need to be right can become an over-ruling motivator. Psychologists recognise this as our ego getting in the way.

Ego is reactionary and consists of well-organized conditioned behaviours, including reasoning, tolerance, memory, understanding, judgment and planning. The superego is our inner voice that is more about slowing down and responding healthier when our ego may cause us to act out of a habit that we’re trying to change. 

At WellsFaber, we believe that if we are to thrive in life, we must learn to listen more to our superego and less to our ego; this is how we can begin to win people and not just arguments. It’s also how we can make better decisions about our wealth.

In a moment of potential conflict, when we feel like our thoughts and opinions are being challenged, here are a few tools to slow things down and respond more healthily:

  1. Even if I am right, is my response serving me?
  2. What am I trying to achieve here?
  3. What actions would be most aligned with my values?

The emotional agility guru, Dr Susan David, says: “Find the wisdom in letting go, listening before speaking, breathing before acting, and moving through the world with a genuine sense of curiosity instead of a point to prove.”

We will find that this may not come naturally at first; whilst it makes sense in our heads, we must learn how to make it a habit. Initially, we may also encounter resistance from those we’re trying to win over, especially if they’re used to us constantly trying to win an argument at any cost.

If we want to thrive in life, we need to learn to work well with others and not push our own agenda all the time. When we can practice winning the person and not the argument, we will find that we will not only change our own habits and financial choices, but we will positively influence those around us to do the same.