As you know, Mrs. Planner is a teacher of literature, therefore this post is to prove to her that I have a true appreciation for the lessons that literature lends us. For instance, in a narrative there are 5 traditional types of conflict and one more modern conflict. These types of conflict serve to tell a story, generally that involves the protagonist’s search for redemption.
The types of conflict are:
-man vs himself
-man vs man
-man vs society
-man vs nature
-man vs God
-man vs machine
“What in the world does this have to do with money?” you ponder.
“Everything”, I say with a besmirched grin. (Anytime you can use the word besmirched, I suggest you do it)
You see these are the same conflicts that affect our money lives. Over the next few days, I will take each one of these conflicts and discuss it as it relates to your money life. It will not only serve to make you smarter, but it will score massive brownie points with Mrs Planner. Although the second reason seems self-serving, it isn’t. It is verrrrry self-serving.
Man vs Himself
There is a term for beings without internal conflict, they are called Aliens. Man, by his nature, struggles with his inner thoughts (I am using the masculine pronoun out of ease of use. Cut me some slack, Gloria Steinem.) That is what makes life interesting. You could be in the woods by yourself, yet your inner struggles would be enough to keep you occupied. Just ask Henry David Thoreau. Every time that you dream about winning the lottery, every time you think about buying a gift you can’t afford, and every time you sit on your hands as you watch the church collection plate float by, you are actually conflicted with yourself. This a good thing, especially when it comes to money. If you didn’t challenge some of your crazy impulsive thoughts then you would end up with things like a Big Mouth Billy Bass. If one of the main attributes of literary conflict is an ennobling journey, then these little money meetings of your mind are not only good, but they are a spontaneous display of discipline and mastery.
The bottom line: continue to argue with yourself, but make sure you win. Your financial life is way to important. Stick up for your future. Oh, and one more thing. Don’t have these conversations with yourself out loud. The canvas jacket with the arms crossed up will be headed your way. As we explore the other conflicts, I think you will quickly realize that “man vs himself” is the only conflict where “man” retains a sense of control. You can’t do anything about another man, society, nature, God, or machine. You can work on the skills that will allow you to be armed when the battle in your brain begins.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.