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Stressed About Money?

Person sitting on bench thinking about their money problems.
Everyday, I look at the news and it seems like the world is falling apart.  Sometimes, I’m sure it feels like your world is falling apart too, doesn’t it?  The bills are due, the cupboards are low, the milk is expired, your kid is sick, the car is making funny sounds, and you’ve got two weeks until the next paycheck.

Times could even be worse for you.  Is it possible that you’ve lost your job?  Have you missed a mortgage payment?  There are a lot of things that can make life seem impossible.  If I may poke a bit, there are also things a lot worse than what you’re going through.  I know that doesn’t seem like a comfort now, but sometimes it helps to turn a negative into a positive.

Let me first start with this: if you’re stressed about money, stop everything you’re doing and breathe. Take a moment to slow down. I provide a lot of information on this site to help you out, but nothing is a quick fix.  This article is intended to give you 5 things that you shouldn’t do when it feels like your financial world is falling apart.

1. Don’t Worry, Don’t Panic

Panic is the response of the unprepared.  Often, it is a self-fulfilling emotion.  If you panic, you don’t think correctly, and you make rash decisions.  Sure, it might seem like a nice time to vent at the bill collector on the phone, but push comes to shove, they’re your only friend.  An angry bill collector becomes a persistent bill collector, one who will take personal satisfaction pressing each key on the phone as they dial your number… for the eighth time this week.

A panicking person doesn’t consider all of their options because they are too busy dealing with the impending doom that only they face, and no one else has a clue about.  They are the only person to have been through what they have, and no one could ever possibly understand this special situation.  Quit panicking, and think intelligently!

2. Never Forget What Is Important

I’m amazed at how many people hurt the ones they love just because they are too selfish to see beyond their own circumstances.  I won’t name names, but I can think of one particular tycoon that not only lost his freedom due to his blind pursuit of wealth, but he also lost his wife, and kids. He had a wife and kids, who loved him so much, but he forgot what was important.  Don’t forget what is important, because it is far more valuable than what you’ve lost or are losing.

3. Do Not Dwell in the Past

This goes along with the above don’t.  You can’t dwell on what is wrong.  This will send you into a downward spiral.  Yes, pay attention where necessary, but don’t let it consume your life.  Dwelling on the bad will cause you to forget about what is important.  Being consumed by the negative will wear you out to the point of being numb.  Address the negative professionally, but give it no emotional credence.

4. Don’t Stop, Don’t Give Up

Don’t give up.  Don’t act like you have nothing to lose.  You do have something to lose, and you have plenty to gain by not giving up.  Have you ever seen a boxing match where one opponent gives up?  Who do you think wins?  Have you ever seen Mike Tyson fight someone who gave up?  Was Mike Tyson on the mat barely able to breathe from exhaustion?  How many games have you won by forfeiting?  I’ve effectively won zero games with that strategy.

Yes, you might still lose, but you’ll probably end up losing less.  Times might seem tough, but if you lose your spirit, or your vigor, then you lose a lot more than just stuff, you lose your identity.  Nobody wants to be around a sulking self-loather.  Be that bright person that everyone wants to be around.  At the end of the day, you at least might be an inspiration to someone else going through a storm.

5. You are not your mistakes!

Mistakes are a learning opportunity, they do not define you.  Making mistakes and learning from them is a valuable part of growing as a person. Losing everything is an expensive lesson to learn, so why do it multiple times? Identify the mistakes you’ve made and don’t make them again. If you make more mistakes, fine, at least you’re learning new things. If you make the same mistakes over and over, not only are you preventing progress, you also prevent learning.

If you repeat the same mistakes, expect the same results.  If you expect something different, then you’re crazy – from what I’ve heard.  Do things differently.  You’re better off trying things the opposite of how you originally tried them, (assuming that makes sense in context) and seeing what happens.  If you can’t think of how to do something differently, ask someone.  Ask a child!  You’d be surprised the amazing, yet simple solutions a child can come up with.  Out of the mouths of babes.

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