Dear Dave -- What is the main difference between people who follow your plan, stick with it and succeed, and those who fall off along the way? -- Damon
I’ve walked with thousands of families through financial problems. Some of them were speedbumps that just needed to be smoothed out, while others seemed like mountains. The biggest factor I’ve noticed separating those who stick with it and gain control of their finances, from those who give up and go back to their old ways, can be boiled down to one simple word — hope.
Hope is stolen when we misunderstand failure and believe lies. One of the biggest lies that robs people of hope is the one that says failure is permanent. The moment we start seeing failures of the past as predictors of our futures, it extinguishes that ember of hope. Failure happens to all of us at times. It’s natural, and it is normal. The way to reach your goals, though, is to keep failure in its cage. And failure is caged when we begin to understand it isn’t permanent.
Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If we believe failure is here to stay, we lose enthusiasm. And that leads to an inability to re-focus on success. People often make dumb, short-term decisions when they’re in financial difficulty. If you talk yourself into believing you’ll never be able to save enough money to pay cash for a car, you’ll lose hope and borrow the money. Debt not only robs you of the ability to build wealth, but it’s also usually the result of losing hope.
Have you done something stupid or wrong in the past that you are still reliving daily? Is that memory haunting you, and stealing your hope? Remember, the past only has power over you if you let it have that power. Don’t get me wrong. The past can hurt, and it can be disappointing. But you can either give in to it and let it control you, or you can learn from it and make a conscious decision to keep moving forward.
The choice is yours.
Dave Ramsey is a personal money-management expert, a bestselling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio program “The Dave Ramsey Show,” which is heard locally on KROC-AM. For more financial advice, visit daveramsey.com.