The most powerful weapon against debt: Your mind
The most powerful weapon you have against debt is positive thinking. Unfortunately, it is hard to have positive thoughts about reducing your debt when the media is constantly overdramatizing the severity of our generation's debt problem.
It is easy to give in to that negativity. Pretty soon you start buying into the idea that debt reduction is painful and hard.
Here's a sample of the common things people think about when they are trying to reduce their debt:
- "I don't get to buy things I want anymore."
- "I can no longer afford to be happy."
- "I'm being punished for my past mistakes."
- "People will think I'm a failure."
- "Reducing debt is a long, hard, and painful process."
- "My friends will think I'm a cheapskate"
- "No one will date or marry a person who is broke."
Forget about getting out of debt! With that load of baggage on your mind all the time, you should be considered a damn hero for even getting out of bed every morning. Why not replace those negative messages with the following:
- "I get to explore my resourcefulness and creativity."
- "I get to focus on important things that truly make me happy: Love, family, friendship, faith, charity, and laughter."
- "I'm building a bright future for myself and my family."
- "People will admire me for taking control of my life."
- "Building wealth is an exciting life long journey to success and independence."
- "My real friends will be cheering me on."
- "I'm lucky that I get to find a soul mate who will love me for who I am."
Why Positive Thinking Matters
A recent University of British Columbia study shows that when women were told their gender is irrelevant to their math abilities, they do much better on math tests. In one test scenario, the women who received this positive information gave twice as many correct answers as another group of women who were told the opposite: that women are naturally bad at math.
The amazing part of the study is how little the researchers had to do to influence the women's behavior. All the researchers did was to simply have the two groups of women read two different essays — one stating that gender matters in math performance, and another stating that it doesn't.
If reading a short essay once can change test performance, imagine how big an influence your internal dialogue has over your debt performance. The voice in the back of your mind is a constant, never-ending driver of your behavior. If you allow that voice to say negative things about your financial plans, you will never succeed.
Go ahead and make a list of the negative thoughts you have about your financial plan, cross them out, and replace them with positive ideas. Carry this list around and refer to it constantly. There is no better weapon to get you through the test of life.
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