You can’t dig your way out of a hole!
“When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to quit digging.” – Will Rogers
In October 2010, a group of 33 miners were trapped 2,000 feet underground in Chile. They were stuck there for over two months before a rescue team was able to drill a new shaft to get them on an elevator ride out of the hole.
As I watched that situation unfold on the news, I noticed something interesting. In the 69 days they were trapped in the hole, not once did anyone suggest they send a shovel down to the miners and have them dig deeper down. All the talks of rescue efforts were about getting to the miners and lifting them out of the hole, not sending them deeper.
This sounds like a silly observation, but I think it’s worth mentioning. If you’re serious about getting out of a hole, I highly doubt you’re going to grab a shovel and dig deeper. Yet, when most of us are in the hole with our money, the first solution that comes to mind is borrowing more money.
Where’s the logic in that? “I don’t have enough money to pay my bills so I’ll take out a loan and agree to pay even more money that I don’t have.” It doesn’t make any sense, but we’ve been conditioned to think there are no other options. But there are other options.
Just as you can’t dig your way out of a hole, you can’t borrow your way out of debt. So the first step in winning with money is to stop borrowing.
That’s it. Stop borrowing. Period. Cut up the credit cards, stop asking your family for short-term loans, and quit looking for ways to refinance your mortgage so you can go deeper into debt.
I know. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? That’s because it is.
Not only is it extremely simple, but it’s extremely effective. You can’t have a credit card problem if you don’t have credit cards. Amazing, but true.
So take the first step to winning with money: resolve not to borrow money anymore. Don’t just resolve to borrow more wisely in the future. Resolve to stop borrowing for good.
Next, set yourself up for success by removing the temptations to borrow. How? By walking the walk. Don’t just talk about getting out of debt. Prove it.
Cut up the credit cards. Don’t talk to the loan officer unless it’s to get your payoff amount. Realize that you can live without a car payment, then actually follow through with your new vision of living debt free. Stop thinking in terms of how much payment you can afford. Start thinking in terms of what you can pay for. In whole.
You are now ready for a paradigm shift.
Changing the way you look at debt changes the way you look at a lot of things in your finances. When you draw the line in the sand and refuse to borrow anymore, you start making better choices with your money.
You stop thinking about how much you’ll have to pay each month and you start focusing on what you need to do in order to have it paid in full when you buy it. You stop stressing about being able to make your monthly payments if you lose your job. You become more productive at work because you’re not stressed about paying your bills.
You also learn to value the things you own a lot more because you worked hard to own them outright. And you start thinking real long and hard before making a purchase because you aren’t willing to take shortcuts anymore. You start making sure it’s the right decision and you stop jumping into things without looking.
Eliminating your debt is a powerful stress reliever that results in standing taller, working harder, and enjoying life more. When you’re no longer willing to dig deeper, you might actually start looking up and finding a way to climb out of the hole.