I read a lot of blogs, a lot of books and a lot of, well, pretty much anything that comes across my path. Heck, I’m even guilty of actually reading some of my junk mail (sick, I know, right?). With so many people struggling financially and the tough state of the economy these days (don’t we constantly hear about this on the news?) I’ve seen a lot of articles and blog posts about how to save money. I’m always looking for money-saving tips myself and trying to share with you what I’ve found to be good (or not so good) for our household. I also read the comments below online articles. Readers have great insights and additional tips. I love reading them (I also love it when people jump in and add their two cents here as well! I’m grateful for any source of wisdom!).
What I’ve noticed when I go reading lately troubles me. I’ve seen a persisting attitude of “that just won’t work for ME-therefore it’s bad advice!” For example, I recently read a blog post encouraging people to ride bikes or walk more. It had a link to a great little calculator to help determine the potential savings, and even went so far as to admit the thing might not be 100% accurate to each persons personal situation but that it might be helpful and at least interesting to check out. Then I read the comments. There were a surprising number of comments stating reason after reason why they thought this advice was so off the mark: Can’t ride my bike to work because I live 65 miles from my job. Can’t ride my bike because it’s too hot here. Can’t walk because it takes too long. My town is not bike friendly. We don’t have sidewalks. I shook my head. And then a quote I often hear Dave Ramsey make crossed my mind:
Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.~Dale Carnegie, American author, lecturer.
I shook my head. Personally I love to bike. Our whole family does. We’re that family that you see tooling around with the kids in the bike trailer, using correct bike signals, heading to the park, or the grocery store or the library. We purposefully chose to live close to my husbands job to maximize biking and walking. We live in an environment that often shoots over the 100 mark on the thermometer. We’ve also lived in towns that aren’t bike friendly. We’ve lived in areas that lacked sidewalks. While it made it a little harder, we still managed. Because we chose to.
The thing is, it’s not really about biking or walking being some great avenue to financial savings and a more frugal life that I find to be the problem here. It’s about owning the choices we’re making. It’s about unwillingness. It’s about an attitude of reluctance to challenge yourself. I’m not saying all advice out there is good. Some of it won’t be. But don’t go throwing the baby out with the bath water. If you are happy with the state of your finances or don’t feel compelled to live a better life then by all means, stay put. No one is shoving you of the cliff of making positive changes. No one owes anyone the perfect answer or parachute, either. Sometimes you have to be willing to find the gems that work for you. Sometimes it’s one idea, heck even one sentence in an article that might speak to you. You have to find it and be inclined to see it.
Being willing to try something new or see a solution from a different angle so that it fits you better is all it takes. You have to be willing to take a chance and experience the discomfort of change or newness. And you have to take ownership of your own attitude and how it affects your personal success or failure. Check in with yourself. If you have a habit of being a naysayer-or seeing that glass as half empty-is this blinding you to the positives and the possibilities of better? I think everyone does it at some point in our lives. But don’t let it get the best of you and be where you stay. Some times all you have to do to succeed is to get out of your own way.
Have you gotten in your own way recently? What can you change your attitude about today that might open your eyes to a positive change in your life today?