The other day, I was listening to the "Retire Inspired Podcast" hosted by Chris Hogan. During this particular podcast, he listed off characteristics of highly successful people. I jotted down notes and wanted to dive more in depth into each topic. One particular characteristic stuck out to me.
Getting Back Up After Being Knocked Down
Life will always throw difficult tasks at us, because life isn't perfect. The key to being successful is being able to fight your way through difficult times and come out better and stronger each time.
I use this life lesson with my basketball team. Every year prior to our first game, I focus on the importance getting back up whenever things get difficult. I preach about the importance of letting the past be the past. I tell them that they are going to make mistakes. It's how you react to those mistakes that will make you a good player and better teammate. I even preach on the fact that I am going to make mistakes. If I make mistakes, then I have to understand that 7th graders are going to make mistakes also.
Once you begin to realize that mistakes are a part of life, you can begin to stop worrying about those mistake and start to figure out ways to get past those mistakes. I preach on the idea of working your hardest no matter what happens in the game. We could turn the ball over 20 times, but as long you get back up and keep fighting, that's all I can ask for.
So many things in life can be compared to playing a sport. Our lives are just like a basketball game. Sometimes things are going well and you are on a roll. Sometimes the other team fights back and punches you in the teeth. Life is the same way. There will be ups and downs. You will have some successes and you will have some failures. You will have some happy life moments and you will have some difficult life events. That's the beauty of life, it's difficult but very rewarding.
The idea of getting back up after being knocked down is one way to describe the term of resilience. Resilience, as defined by resiliency.com, is the ability to overcome challenges of all kinds - trauma, tragedy, personal crisis, life problems - and bounce back stronger, wiser and more personally powerful.
Everybody has had life kick them in the teeth and everybody has had to pick up the pieces. The question that needs to be answered in these situations is, "Are you getting better and stronger because of these struggles?" I have had many different difficult things in my life, but financially, in 2011, I was on the verge of not having enough money for anything. I blew a tire on the side of the road and had to use what is equivalent to a pay day lender to pay for new tires.
How did I change things? I started to learn about money. I started to follow financial bloggers. I became a little obsessed with being financially smart. Since that day in 2011, I have made so many changes for the better and we are on the road a financially successful future. These changes have allowed for minor car repairs to be little blips on our radar and we barely even notice them. In 2011, those tires cost me $300. Just last month, I had to pay for a $2000 car repair. Luckily, I changed my ways and had money in the bank to pay for the repair. Life is so much simpler, since I made my financial bounce back.
Our life is very fragile and little things can knock us down a road that we don't want to go. You can't let yourself get derailed by these life challenges. You can't stop fighting. Where ever you are in your financial walk, the important thing is to keep fighting for your goal. If your goal is to get out of debt, then don't let a car repair derail your plans. Don't let a doctor bill get you down. You have a plan and you have to keep fighting to reach your goal.
If you are building wealth and throwing extra money at the mortgage, you can't let extra life expenses derail you from your plan. My wife and I have been throwing extra money at our house for over a year. The $2,000 car repair expense was unexpected and slowed down our plan to throw more money at the house. Sure, it was disappointing to know that our pay off the house plan was slowed a little, but we realized how lucky we were to have the money to pay the car bill. And as I tell my students, you have to let the past be the past and keep pushing forward. Our plan is to pay our house off early. We are still on this path and can't let little setbacks slow us down.
Each time you fight through life's little struggles, you will get stronger. You will become smarter. You will become more resilient. Keep fighting through life's struggles and you will be successful.