Most of us were brought up poor or in the middle class—and then continue the rest of our lives plagued by the thoughts, ideas and actions of the poor and the middle class. If you were brought up like I was, by parents that had great intentions but few ways to create financial freedom, then there is a good chance you are still trapped by mental money traps that continue to hold you prisoner.
No one would deny that the wealthy think and operate differently regarding money, wealth, finances and investing. Here are some common mental money traps:
1. "I just want enough to be comfortable."
At the core of the middle class is some idea that they can somehow find this place of comfort, which becomes a compromise for any possibility of financial freedom. Consider that a significant number of people save little money for retirement. This has caused masses of people to be unable to quit working at retirement age, because they are without enough money to take care of themselves during economic contractions.
2. "I need to make money."
This idea—that you need to make money to have it—limits you to believing you must trade time for money. Quit thinking about making money and think in terms of collecting it. When you trade something of value with the public you will get money in return.
3. "Bigger isn’t better."
Wrong. Bigger is better and more is glory. Quit thinking little. The best companies in the world are big. Staying small takes a lot of energy. I talk about this in The 10X Rule—go 10 times bigger than you think is necessary. It’s more fun and it gives you a better chance of succeeding.
4. "More money, more problems."
This is simply an idea that those without money use to justify having less and being broke. If more money is more problems, then bring on the problems, because I tried being broke and that was more than just a problem. Quit trying to make rich ugly—it’s not.
The truth is the more money you have, the more control and choices you have over every aspect of your life. More money means new problems, not more problems.
5. "It takes money to make money."
The phrase, "it takes money to make money" is completely incorrect. It takes money to make more money. While later in life the rich use their money to create wealth, in the beginning stages it only takes courage and persistence to create money. This belief that you first need money makes you a victim and gives you no way out.
6. "Money doesn't grow on trees."
The person that commonly throws this phrase around is suggesting money is limited and scarce. The only shortage of money on this planet is in the mind of those that don’t have money.
Related: How to spend your way to wealth
7. "Another day, another dollar."
The rich exchange dollars for time because they know time is more valuable than money. Unwilling to trade money, the average person believes the only way to make more money is to work more hours. Big money requires thinking about money without time considerations—think broad money.
8. "Money is the root of all evil."
The actual saying is "the love of money is the root of all evil.” It has been passed down inaccurately and become misunderstood that money is somehow evil. Rich is right, not wrong. Bill Gates told a college class, “if you are born poor it’s not your fault, if you stay poor it is.”
9. "A penny saved is a penny earned."
Believe this and you will never have financial freedom. A penny saved is a penny and if you spend your life thinking about pennies you will never create financial freedom. Saving in itself is not bad, but the masses are so focused on saving they never advance their money. No one ever got rich saving more, they just got old.
10. "Money can't buy you happiness."
I never met a rich person that was trying to get happy while they were trying to get rich—they have nothing to do with one another. In fact, my entire life I have not been seeking happiness. I have been seeking a meaningful life where I am free to do what I want to do and what I love the most.
11. "A penny for your thoughts."
This is the kind of damaging, freely thrown-around idea that shows how little people value their time and money. Quit thinking about pennies and quit demeaning your ideas. Your possibilities are limited only by thoughts, ideas and actions.
12. "Rich people are selfish."
It takes a bit of selfishness and self-esteem to prioritize taking care of yourself and creating financial freedom so that you don’t become a problem for others. If you don’t think enough of your own finances how are you ever going to make the difficult decisions and necessary choices for your spouse, children, community, and your future?
The fact is if you are already rich, you need to up your game and start thinking the way the super wealthy do. If not, maybe it's time to change the way you think about money.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.