While most of us don't like to think we're driven by money, the truth is we are. In a recent survey I conducted among 500 people, 70 percent reported that at least half of the decisions they make in their life are driven by money. Additionally, 55 percent said money played a large role in decisions about how to spend their time.

How did we get this way?

Perhaps our tough economic times are to blame. As Lynne Twist shares in her book, The Soul of Money, "In the grip of money, those wonderful qualities of soul seem to be less available. We become smaller. We scramble, or race to 'get what's ours.' We often grow selfish, greedy, petty, fearful, or controlling, or sometimes confused, conflicted, or guilty. We see ourselves as winners or losers, powerful or helpless, and we let those labels define us...."

It's easy to connect your self-worth to your financial situation.

We are constantly surrounded by messages in the media that tell us how we dress, the house or neighborhood we live in, the car we drive, and the products we use all say something about us. We're sold the message that we'll be happier or we'll look more successful if we only have certain material possessions.

Even if we don't view ourselves as materialistic, it's easy to get caught up.

We begin defining our self-worth by how much money we have in the bank, how big a salary we have, how many clients or how much money we make in our business, the value of our investments or our material possessions, often without even realizing it.

I certainly saw myself as a winner when things were going well financially and was quick to brand myself a loser when they weren't. I have definitely let myself be defined by my level of success and income in the past. And I must admit, it snuck up on me. I didn't even realize I was doing it!

I have nothing against money.

It's certainly nice to have. In many ways it makes life easier, however I've learned that more doesn't necessarily make life better. The issue I have, and the one Lynne Twist illuminates in her book, is the hold we've allowed money to have on us. The enormous amount of power and energy we've given it. The way we've let it take over lives, rule our decision-making, and define who we are.

It's definitely time for a change.

To stop letting our finances be a scorecard of our self worth. And to remember that money is merely a currency created to facilitate the exchange of goods and services.

Author's Bio: 

After spending 25 years in the marketing industry, Debbie LaChusa became so frustrated with its "be more, do more, have more" mentality that she began speaking out about it. She wrote a book entitled "Breaking the Spell: The Truth about Money, Success, and the Pursuit of Happiness" and created the Money Success Happiness blog all in an effort to help others learn how to stop chasing money, success, and happiness and instead discover the true path to a happy, healthy, wealthy life. To read the first chapter of "Breaking the Spell" for free, visit www.breakingthespellbook.com