Control What You Can

As violence continues to escalate over the entire world, it’s easy to get caught up into a fear and discouragement type of a mindset. Terrorist attacks, random violence and other events can leave us wondering if safety and victory exist anymore.

Sometimes our finances leave us feeling the same sense of a lack of control. For some reason, along with the decision to get out of debt seems to come a steady stream of unexpected expenses. Murphy doesn’t want us debt free, so he throws in some home repairs, some medical bills or a car repair or two. Or four. Or six-thousand.

It’s easy when these wrenches in your plan come to want to throw in the towel and give up on your journey to debt freedom. But the fact of the matter is that if you give up, you’ll never win. As the old saying goes,

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. -Winston Churchill

Since we started our debt payoff journey nearly three years ago, we’ve had a myriad of financial setbacks, including but not limited to:

  • a laundry room that flooded twice and needed to be remodeled
  • the permanent breakdown of our washer and dryer
  • the permanent breakdown of our only TV
  • a roof on our house that needed replacing
  • 3 emergency room bills

and countless other financial “unexpecteds”. The total of these unexpected expenses runs in the twenty-plus thousand dollar range. Given that we started our journey with a 65% debt-to-income ratio, these expenses did not come without heartache – or without the addition of more credit card debt at some points.

Frustrating as those setbacks have been, we chose to keep pursuing our debt payoff journey.  Don’t get me wrong – we’ve spent plenty of time with our heads under the pillow, hiding with the hope that it would all just go away.

But then, the reality set in that we can only control what we can.

The rest we have to work around. So we chose to keep on moving forward and work around the unexpecteds, minimizing costs as much as we could and dealing with the rest. We chose to change our mindset from one of defeat to one of victory, in spite of the circumstances.

The unexpected expenses definitely caused our journey to be slower, but they can’t make us give up. Only we can do that. Or not do that.

The point of this post is to encourage those who are looking at their mountain of debt as an impassible pass. It isn’t. The journey may not go as quickly as you’d like it to, and it may not be easy to keep on moving in a forward direction when it seems that for every two steps forward you take, you end up taking one step back.

But the secret to debt payoff success lies in choosing not to give up.  

The secret lies in learning to control what you can and to work around the rest.

In spite of our numerous financial setbacks during the last three years, our debt is indeed going down. And we are taking steps to accelerate the process at each opportunity to do so.

I encourage you to do the same. Don’t give up – even when the house floods and the car dies for the 32nd time. Choose to get up and keep going, and you will indeed win.


*Photo courtesy of thinboyfatter


14 comments on “Control What You Can

  1. The path to debt freedom always ends up being a different one than what we originally charted out. No matter how much you plan, things change and come up. You’ll find that things that work against you often get balanced out with things that may work in your favor. You don’t know and you can’t predict it. The best is to just keep working forward.

  2. I think you are due for some unexpecteds on the positive side – that will allow you to accelerate this debt payoff. All of the disappointments serve as a training ground. If you can be wise in times of hardship, you will be wise in times of abundance. Here’s hoping that time is just around the corner : )

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