For decades, culture has taught us to sacrifice the future for the present. That we need to behave, look, or live a certain way to be happy. We're sold a fantasy where the clothes we wear, and the items we own define us. We're made to believe that if we have any funds left over, after our necessities are paid for each month, that is called "disposable income." We're made to consume, consume, consume.
If you have any funds left over, after your necessities are paid for each month, that is called "disposable income."
That is how we think of things today isn't it? Disposable. We need whats new, fresh, or trendy. Just toss the old thing and get the new thing. You've got disposable income, so what does it matter?
"You Only Live Once"
Lease a new cell phone every year, the payment is only $30 a month! Trade in your car for a loss, get that new car, you deserve it. You can afford $400 a month! Need new clothes? Get this store card for 20% off your first purchase! Your payments will be minimal. New place? Furnish it on credit! Christmas time, again, put it on credit!
Before most of us know it, we're stressed out, unsatisfied, unhealthy, and swimming in debt. Now our payments are so high, we don't have enough money left after our bills to not use the credit card to survive, and that stresses us out even more. We fight with our spouses and our kids because the life we're living isn't what it's supposed to be. It seems hopeless.
How can we live the life we want to live? "We have to make more money" we think to ourselves as we chase down a higher paying job that we won't find satisfaction in. "We need more time" we say to ourselves as we wait in the fast food drive through attempting to save some. "We need a vacation" we tell ourselves because we're so stressed out. "We deserve it."
Whatever those lies are that we're telling ourselves, all we're really doing is justifying that act of trading our futures for our present.
"We deserve it"
We treat everything as if it's disposable. Our money, our possessions, our relationships, our bodies... The YOLO culture has us believing lies. There is a better way.
Take a different path
"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin" - Mother Teresa
There is a better way. Like most good things, it's not easy, but it is done every day by millions of people. It starts with a very simple mental shift, a kind of audit. Start thinking about the outcomes of the way you're living your life. Then think if those outcomes are what you desire for your life. At Ramsey Solutions, we refer to that as a "Desired Future"
If your actions won't bring you to your Desired Future, (this is the hard part) change your actions. Profound... I know.
If we eat nothing but burgers and fries and sit on a couch all day, the outcome of those actions is more likely to be weight gain and heart problems than pristine health and physique. Just so, if we stop buying things on credit and pay more than our minimum payments the outcome will be that we will be debt free.
"If your actions won't bring you to your Desired Future, change your actions."
An effective way to change your actions is to get to know yourself. Start asking yourself some questions about your life and how you react to it.
How do I feel after spending time on social media? How much time did I just spend scrolling? Why did I do that? What do I want my life to look like in 15 years? What things make me feel anxious? What do I like about my job? What do I hate about my job? Do we need 2 cars, that second home, the time share, expensive vacations?
You may find this to be an enjoyable experience. You may not. Either way, your answers will act as a compass. If you want to go north, but your actions are pointing south... Change directions, it starts with you.
You are not disposable. Stop treating your life as if tomorrow doesn't matter. Be a better you. The world will be better for it.