The Painting Gene

I did not get a painting gene.  By painting, I do not mean the artistic kind, requiring creative talent and the ability to synthesize the world as you see it into a one-of-a-kind colorful expression.  I don’t have talent even close to that. No, I mean the kind of painting you use on a wall in your home.  One color, applied with a roller and brush. How can I manage to make a simple task so hard?  I discovered the answer this week.  My financial gene usurped my painting gene.  This means I am genetically incapable of putting enough paint on the apparatus, whichever it is.  Unconsciously and automatically, I want to use as little paint as possible so I do not have to buy more.

Experienced paint-people know this is a disaster waiting to happen.  When you do not use enough paint, your wall becomes a collage of streaks and stripes of varying shades and shapes, instead of an uneventful homogenous surface. To fix it you practically have to call in a professional.

Thank goodness I was not painting a wall.  I was only priming our subfloor to prepare for carpet.  My husband of 25 years knows better than to put a roller in my hand to paint anything other than something that will be covered up shortly.  He got the painting gene.

So we both know (after some trial and error) where I am at my weakest.  But that does not mean my financial gene does not serve me well in other venues.  The trick has been figuring out when to let it do its thing, and when it needs a leash.

With all of our money habits and attitudes, in fact, there are times when they contribute to our success, and times when they hinder us.  Before we recognize that difference, we risk painting a financial collage like my subfloor –  varying streaks, stripes, shapes, and shades.  Instead, rather, a financial picture could be an uneventful backdrop to simply living a life.

Sometimes it is hard work to discover and admit when we are getting in our own way, but my husband and I have learned that once you map your “talent” genes, you require fewer professionals to fix the mess you made.  It costs less overall, and you stay married longer.

Holly Donaldson

Holly P. Donaldson, CFP® writes and consults on the psychology of money. Her fee-only, product-free financial planning practice focuses on increasing financial self-efficacy for those seeking a financial navigator to help them make good decisions. She is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch." With a fully virtual practice in Seminole, Florida, she primarily serves clients located in the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater areas. Holly will also work with clients who are a good fit located elsewhere in the United States.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Ken Welling

    Seems to me I read somewhere that we are more productive when we focus our attention
    and resources on the things we do well.

  2. Jennifer Lazarus

    I like your image of “mapping your talent genes” — and the results of being less frustrated, more appreciative of each other, and not having to hire someone to fix things. I may carry that image forward…

    1. Holly P. Thomas

      Thanks Jennifer. Just don’t carry it forward to any insurance companies. I don’t want them hiking my premiums once they map all of my talent gene deficiencies.

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