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Dress for Success?

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Dress for Success?

What your look might be saying about you.
Michael  Neill
Michael Neill More by this author
Dec 28, 2009 at 09:00 AM

I recently had the privilege of assisting my friend Paul McKenna in putting together a system for creating wealth which he published in his fantastic book, I Can Make You Rich. Along the way, he conducted interviews with some of the wealthiest people on the planet, and we had the opportunity to meet with numerous millionaires and even billionaires to find out what it was they had in common when it came to the creation of wealth.

One of the more curious patterns we noticed was that the people with the largest bank balances did not always wear the nicest clothes. This echoed the findings of Thomas Stanley, who in the book The Millionaire Next Door recounts the story of a group of advertising executives who were paying extremely wealthy people to come in and participate in a market research study for a new high-end product.

The ad executives all showed up in their Armani suits and leased BMW’s and Mercedes’s, only to be greeted by a procession of men and women dressed in jeans and showing up in pickup trucks and 5-year-old Buicks and Fords. One advertising executive was heard to say, “Where are all the millionaires who look like millionaires?”

While Stanley used this story to illustrate his findings that many people reached millionaire status through careful saving and frugal living over a 20 or 30 year pattern, I noticed something different:

Some people dress and shop to keep up appearances; some people dress and shop to please themselves.

What is interesting to note is that this pattern was by no means restricted to people with a lot of money. Here are some of the most common patterns I have noticed generally: 

  1. Be rich, look poor:
    If you believe that people can’t be trusted or that your friends will resent your success, you'll want to hide your wealth as much as possible.
  2. Look rich, be poor:
    If you think you're only attractive or likeable to the extent that you spend money, you’ll spend more than you make, no matter how much or how little that is.
  3. Be rich to look rich:
    Some people direct their passion for gaining power, acclaim, or love into creating more money. This can lead to a rich bank account but a poor sense of self-worth.
  4. Be poor to look poor:
    If you subscribe to the “blessed are the meek” theory, you're liable to sabotage your financial security in order to protect your virtue—or the appearance thereof.
  5. Be authentically wealthy:
    Whether you earn minimum wage or appear on the pages of Forbes, your wealth is authentic when it’s an expression of your true desires in both how you earn it and how you spend it.

During our study of the wealthy, one multi-millionaire in particular kept attracting my attention in that he was generally well-dressed save for some of the ugliest, most beat up looking shoes I had ever seen. At first, I assumed that he must be wearing them for some kind of effect, and I began to make up stories about what that must mean about him.

After all, when we place more importance on others’ impression of us than we do on our own sense of well-being, comfort and style, we betray our self-trust and over time, decrease our self-esteem.

But when I finally built up the nerve to ask him about his shoes, he looked surprised that I had even noticed. As it turned out, the millionaire wore those beat up old shoes for the best of all possible reasons—they were really, really comfortable and he really, really liked them! 

Today’s Experiment:

Which of the above money styles best describes you? Do you have one with one group of people (maybe your employees) and another with a different group (like your neighbors)? How does this affect your relationship with yourself?

Today, notice your thoughts and actions around all those things from which other people might get an impression of your financial situation.

For example:

When you put on your shoes—scuffed and cheap or high-end and polished?
When you look at your watch—Timex or Rolex?
When you get into or out of your car—Skoda or Lexus?
When you go to a restaurant—McDonalds or The Four Seasons?

Remember, the point isn’t what you have but why you have it. Each time you choose something you really want over something you want to be seen wearing, doing or having, your authentic wealth will begin to grow.

About Author
Michael  Neill
Michael Neill is an internationally renowned transformative coach and the best-selling author of five books including The Inside-Out Revolution and Continue reading