Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Failure is not Fatal

I've started spending challenges before. Quite a few of them, in fact. Some have been more successful than others but none of them have been completed for one reason or another.
 
I've had excuse after excuse for why I haven't been more proactive about my debt. Sure, I've had intentions, obviously it's all I write about, but my words have always spoken louder.
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Brick walls (excuses) I've used to stay in debt:
  • I need all of the things from Target. I couldn't possibly give up Target!
  • I wouldn't have a social life and I would miss out on everything
  • My friends would think I am lame and stop inviting me to things
  • I would be so bored and lonely
  • If I gave up unnecessary spending, it still wouldn't make much difference in my debt to be worth it
  • Chipotle is way too good 
  • I don't want to be too consumed with all the sacrifice and put too much pressure on myself
  • My schedule is too busy to give up convenience and make all my meals
  • There's no way I would skip buying presents for birthdays or Christmas or donating to charities
  • I have to travel to visit my friends and family or take advantage of cool opportunities!
  • "I could really go for a drink, or pizza, or pad Thai right now," which always turns into ordering more. 
Lately I've been hearing a lot about how failure isn't the worst thing to happen. And I wonder about what the world would be like if the greats allowed failure to stop them. We would have no Disney movies or light bulbs. Hell, slavery could still be a thing (though I like to think it would have ended eventually!)

Lincoln was a champion and he never gave up. Here is a sketch of Lincoln's road to the White House:
  • 1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
  • 1818: His mother died.
  • 1831: Failed in business.
  • 1832: Ran for state legislature - lost.
  • 1832: Also lost his job - wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
  • 1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
  • 1834: Ran for state legislature again - won.
  • 1835: Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
  • 1836: Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
  • 1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature - defeated.
  • 1840: Sought to become elector - defeated.
  • 1843: Ran for Congress - lost.
  • 1846: Ran for Congress again - this time he won - went to Washington and did a good job.
  • 1848: Ran for re-election to Congress - lost.
  • 1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state - rejected.
  • 1854: Ran for Senate of the United States - lost.
  • 1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention - got less than 100 votes.
  • 1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again - again he lost.
  • 1860: Elected president of the United States.

Getting out of debt is a big task, sure. But it's certainly not Earth shattering and it won't be the singular action that changes the world. I'm not the first to get out of debt and I won't be the last. So there really should be no reason to say "I can't." I have no good reason not to get myself into a better financial situation.

Well, Winston, I'm ready to try again with more confidence than ever. My current challenge isn't technically over yet.  I haven't set foot in a Target and I've avoided buying clothes and eating out 95% of the time. However, I've spent a little bit decent amount with my sister in town. Although it hasn't been perfect, it's been my best shot yet. I want to keep that momentum going and see what I'm really capable of.

Stay tuned for the official plan tomorrow! 

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