money health weekly


You Can't Change Your Past

you can't change your financial history
❝Sooner or later, you have to give up hope for a better past.❞ -Irvin Yalom

I'm sitting on the couch watching a movie with my wife. We're enjoying some red wine and relaxing after a tiring day of hiking with our dog, Bingo. The wine is good, and I think it would pair well with dark chocolate. I walk to the kitchen and get some from our drawer, and I divvy it up back at the couch. Excited to sink my teeth into this chocolate, I don't pay attention as I cross my leg. My foot knocks over my glass of wine onto the floor. I can't believe it; I just spilled my red wine onto our light-colored carpet.

There were times in my life where this would have caused me to go crazy. I would have been angry at myself. I would have told myself stories about how life would be better if I didn't get up to get that chocolate. I would have felt sad because this carpet is less than 2 years old and expensive.

Instead, I realize that getting angry, upset, sad, or filling myself with regret won't help me. Right now, I'm in the middle of a situation that needs my attention. Right now is not the time to dwell on what-ifs. Right now, I have red wine soaking into my carpet.

I rush to the kitchen to grab a handful of paper towels to soak up what wine hasn't been absorbed into the carpet yet. My wife runs to the cleaning closet to grab carpet cleaner and some towels. This situation that needs our attention gets our attention.

After spending some time cleaning up my mess, we are finally in a position to be able to talk about my role in what happened. We are able to talk about whether or not we should get a more powerful carpet cleaner for this kind of accident. We talk about being more intentional with our wine glass placement when we get up.

We weren't happy that I spilled wine on the carpet and cut our movie short, but we didn't let negative emotions overcome us either. We dealt with the problem that was presented to us and made changes to our behavior that would make this less likely to happen again in the future.

And we saved our carpet in the process (but, sadly, the wine could not be saved).

Changing Your Expectations

Many of us have unrealistic expectations about how our days will progress. We wake up expecting there to be no troubles or stress. In fact, we might even think that we want a life completely free from struggle.

It doesn't take much thought to realize that a life free from any challenges or problems would be downright boring. You wouldn't watch a movie or read a book about people who are happy all the time and didn't have anything go wrong.

You probably intuitively already know that you can find satisfaction in struggle and challenge. Think about the proudest story that you can think of. It's likely about some kind of challenge or hurdle that you overcame. It was the overcoming of the challenge that made it so gratifying in the end.

After you've thought about your proudest story and made the connection between challenge and satisfaction, now you can ask yourself what you're willing to put up with going forward. You can change your expectation. You know there will be challenges, so what are you ready to put up with?

change your expectations - challenges are guaranteed

There Are No Losses - Just Wins and Lessons

Nelson Mandela once said that he never loses; he either wins or learns. This simple reframe can be quite profound. It takes practice and a mindset switch, of course, but it is well worth it. Think about the most successful people you know. Is it more likely that they became successful quickly or, is it more likely that they failed along the way and learned what didn't work? I would wager they failed their way to success.

There are learning opportunities in every failure. In fact, over time, you'll even stop referring to your failures as failures. You might even keep a journal with all of your "failures" so that you can look back over time to see that it wasn't actually as bad as you thought at the time.

there are no losses, just wins and lessons

Solving Problems Right Now

Sometimes things happen to you. Whether or not it was in or outside of your control makes no difference. Once it's happened, it's in the past. You can't change the past.

When something pops up that needs your attention, quite simply, you need to give it your attention. This could be an unexpected expense. It could be a fire to put out at work. Or perhaps it's a spilled glass of wine lying on your carpet. Your job at that moment is to solve that problem. Being really angry, sad, or any other negative emotion isn't going to help you solve this problem.