Have you ever got upset by a random story you read online?
I remember reading a tragic story on BBC news and got really troubled by it.
A newly retired American couple had embarked the much-anticipated round-the-world trip.
After years’ servitude to responsibilities: job, kids and whatnots, the time had finally come for them to relax and enjoy what life after retirement could offer.
And guess what different plan fate has for them?
At the first leg of the trip, the husband fell to his death from a famous tourist attraction.
I remember blurting out:
Oh, why them?! Why now?!
They were strangers to me. But the tragic event really upset me.
The cruelty and unfairness of life and all.
Life’s Randomness and Unfairness
Millions of people spend their whole life working, saving and preparing for the future.
Along the way, some of us fall ill and get dealt a bad hand.
Face a cruel fate like the unfortunate couple above.
Life is unpredictable: we simply don’t know when our time’s up.
I’m not saying this to paint a bleak picture on life or to advocate:
“Let’s just live for today because we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow”.
That would be plain wrong (and unwise).
But life’s randomness and unfairness can give us a better perspective.
And that’s precisely what we need when we tackle the debt: a clear head and a new perspective.
Without both, we struggle daily with fear, panic, stress, anger and depression.
That’s just too much to bear.
Below are 3 debt lessons I’ve learned during the most difficult time of my life.
They put me in a whole different mindset so that I could deal with debt in a positive way.
Debt Lessons No.1 – Debt is One Part of Our Life
After closing down my online shop, I had faced a debt so big that I felt paralysed.
And I panicked:
How am I ever going to pay off all this?
It was an insurmountable amount that scared me.
I wished for some invisible hole to swallow me. And make me disappear.
I had spent so long in that state I got myself ill and ended up having minor surgery.
My immediate thought (after coming round from the surgery) was:
What if I died?
Only a few days prior to the surgery, I had read a patient died due to an allergic reaction to anaesthesia.
What if I had a bad reaction like her and died there and then?
Then, there was another thought.
What if I knew I was going to die in a few hours’ time? Would I be so worried about my debt?
hmm… probably not.
It’d be the last thing I’d worry about, considering all my debt would die with me.
By worrying about it constantly, I made my life all about my debt.
When in fact debt was only a part of it.
Debt Lessons No.2 – Debt is Just a Problem That Needs a Solution
While struggling through university, one life motto got me through:
Every problem has a solution.
I chanted the phrase whenever I was plunged into challenging situations.
Eventually, I put myself through education.
Whatever life threw at me, I looked for solutions instead of dwelling on the problems.
Sure enough, every time, I’d find solutions, one way or another.
And I realised I had forgotten all about that because my mind was preoccupied with problems, not solutions.
The random comment on an online forum by someone “any debt can be solved” has woken me up and brought out my old self.
And I decided to face head-on as I had done many times before and tackle my debt systematically.
So, I sat down, did my first budget, cut out expenses straight away and started looking for opportunities to increase my earnings.
Remember debt is a fixable problem.
The moment you step away from worry, anxiety and stress of debt and turn your focus on solutions, you’ll relieve negative emotions and start seeing opportunities to reduce debt.
Debt Lessons No.3 – Don’t Let Debt Define Us
Whether it’s from bad choices or life’s unfortunate events such as medical emergency, car repair, divorce, job loss or business failure, debt doesn’t define us.
Sure, it can knock us down. H.A.R.D
But never forget that we’re not our debt.
We have abilities to work out what went wrong and what to do to put things right.
We set off on the new trajectory of our life, approaching everything with a conscious mind and making good choices.
And we are made up of all those things, not just our debt.
We have only so much time in this life.
We’ve already wasted enough time on emotional turmoil – I certainly did.
See a big picture of your life as a whole and realise that debt is just a small part of it. It’s fixable that needs a solution. And it doesn’t define us.
Celebrate a day to day achievement while chipping away at debt.
And know that debt doesn’t have to nor should stop you from living your best life.
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