A person will continue down a path of destructive behavior until the pain of continuing exceeds the pain of changing.
An important thing you can do to deal with your debt is to get uncomfortable with your situation.
In the book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg tells about the disappointing launch to Febreeze. At first, all the marketing team simply knew was the product wasn’t selling as projected. But they didn’t know why. It wasn’t until after visiting the home of a lady that they figured out the problem. A marketing team from Febreeze went to the home of a woman who had several cats. The house reaked of various nasty smells. However, what the group found intriguing was that the woman couldn’t even smell anything. She’d gotten used to the stench.
There’s a lot of people who are living in a stench of debt, and they can’t smell anything.
Here’s the truth about debt: No one, absolutely no one can help you get out of debt until you start to smell the stench, and it starts to make you sick.
As long as your debt is ‘a reasonable amount’ or ‘your only option’ or ‘unavoidable’ or ‘not so bad’ or any other similar phrase, you won’t get out of debt.
Getting out of debt takes work, and it requires sacrifice.
We only sacrifice for things we deeply care about.
I’ve had enough conversations with folks about debt to know which people are ready to get out of debt and which ones are destined to wallow in the stench for more time.
I remember clearly having a conversation with someone who said they wanted to get out of debt, but clearly they weren’t sick of their debt. I suggested she do less dining out. I suggested she send the kids with lunches. I suggested she reduce her phone costs.
The response to each and every suggestion was, “I couldn’t possibly do that.”
The pain of giving up her luxuries was greater than her desire to get out of debt. Unfortunately, she’ll probably just need to fumble with the stink of debt for a few more years untill she has the motivation to change.
Beware of what people say about debt.
I was visiting with some friends, and for a brief moment, I felt like I was the fool in the group. They were talking about leveraging their loans and mortgages. They were talking about the smart ways to use and manipulate their debt. For a moment, I felt like I was the one left behind because I hadn’t yet figured out how great debt was. But then I asked myself if I’d trade my financial situation for any of theirs, and the answer was a resounding ‘no’.
We need to be willing to think differently and recognize that debt is making us sick – not healthy.
It’s probably time to look inside and ask yourself: would my situation be better with this debt or without it? The more you learn to get sick of debt, the more likely you are to finally find your way out of debt.
What helped you realize that the stench of debt was something you needed to address in your life?