The Worst That Could Happen
In some ways, the most enjoyable moments of our life are when we haven’t started yet. We haven’t added up the debt we owe, we haven’t calculated how long it will take to pay it off, we haven’t started saving or investing. All we know is that we will do it at some point in the future.. maybe tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that.
Instead of starting down the chaotic path of change, we continue to pour our energies into our romanticized shadow self, the aspirational self that we’ve curated over time out of the qualities we admire in others.
This avatar is so close to perfection that we become intimidated by the herculean effort that it would take to transform ourselves into them. We compare our current selves to our ideal selves and begin to think about all of the perfect steps that would need to happen along the way.
Rather than attempting the impossibility that is perfection, what if we considered a more mundane path? What if we just started now, in the midst of all our flaws, with our most insidious habits at their peak?
What’s the worst that could happen?
If we set aside the details and just took action, without considering every angle and without learning the theory behind every strategy, what’s the worst that could happen?
We’d feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, judged. We’d feel like we were missing out, or that we were failures.
Don’t we already feel all of these things? Staring down our dreams while we preemptively micromanage without making a single, tangible move to achieve them is overwhelming. It is embarrassing to reflect on the same resolutions, year after year, without ever meeting them. We do feel judged for our lack of evolution, and our inability to progress. We are missing out, and we will continue to miss out, because we haven’t prepared for our present or our future. We do feel like failures when we aren’t living up to our potential.
The worst that could happen? We shouldn’t even be worried about it. We’re there, right now. Ignoring our finances and delaying our freedom is the worst thing that could happen.
Start today, in all of your imperfect glory. Do one tiny, simple, achievable thing, and do it today. Sit down and write out all of your debt balances today. Open your bills today. Do a written budget today. Check out one personal finance book from the library today. Listen to one money podcast episode today. Calculate your debt free date today. Sell one thing today. Move $10 to your savings account today.
Don’t think about the implications of this one thing, or the emotions around this one thing, or the future actions that this one thing will set in motion. You can do more later, if you want, but don’t think about later. Focus on that one hurdle, and accomplish it now.
What’s the best that could happen?
If the worst thing that could happen is already upon us, what about the best thing that could happen?
You finally face an intimidating number and feel proud that you’ve made the first step. You put aside the past and begin to forgive yourself. You start to gain momentum, even with that one simple action, and feel like you have a future ahead. It won’t be perfect, and it won’t be easy, but at least it will be real.