So, I have a bit of a motivational post for ya’ll today. Any one of you who are currently trying to get out of debt, or have completed your debt payoff plan (yea!) probably know well the emotional and financial battles that come with a journey to debt free. Two steps forward and one (and sometimes more) step back can make the journey frustrating and lead to thoughts of giving up altogether. Sometimes, honestly, it feels like it would be easier to just stay in debt. Some days you get so sick and tired of cutting costs and refiguring the budget and struggling to pay bills that ya just want to give up. I know I do. And it doesn’t help when most of the rest of the world thinks you’re going to fail too.
Enter, Monday. As part of our Summer Staycation, I took the kids to see the movie “Planes”. I’m a big fan of the movie’s producer/writer, John Lasseter. He’s a pro at writing a good David and Goliath type of a tale. Lasseter is probably well-known by most parents of younger children, as he’s the brainchild behind the Cars movies, Monster’s Inc. and a host of other favored kids’ movies. We’ve enjoyed most everything he’s produced, and “Planes” is no exception.
Although “Planes” is technically the “Cars 3” movie, he took a bit of a different twist here. In Cars, the already famous Lightning McQueen gets taken down a few notches, and he needs it.
“Planes” starts out with the story of Dusty Crophopper, a crop-dusting plane who dreams of winning a big race someday. Only problem is that crop dusting planes are meant to fly “low and slow”, and those are definitely not the qualities of a winning racer.
You can probably guess the rest: Through a series of trials and tribulations, Dusty does go on to win the Wings Across the World Race and shocks everyone.
But what really stood out to me about the story is an underlying theme that resonates strongly with me these days: Dusty’s chances, from the beginning and even throughout the race, don’t look good. There’s no logical reason whatsoever that Dusty should win, or even finish, this race. And people all over the place (with the exception of a few staunch supporters) are eager to tell him that.
Dusty’s story SO reminds me of our life today. Looking at our debt situation, it doesn’t seem that there’s any logical way we can win. The numbers point to “lose”. The length of time we’ll be on this journey, given today’s income, point to “lose”. Simple human nature points to “lose”. After all, how many people make the climb up Mount Everest and actually finish it?
So what keeps us going? Honestly, I’m not sure. But I do know that several other people who had big dreams were also told they’d never make it:
-Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Edison also famously invented 1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked.
-Harland David Sanders, the famous KFC “Colonel,” couldn’t sell his chicken. More than 1,000 restaurants rejected him. But then one said “yes”, and today there are KFC restaurants bearing his image all over the world.
-Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
-Albert Einstein didn’t speak until age four and didn’t read until age seven. His teachers labeled him “slow” and “mentally handicapped.”
-Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporting job because they told her she wasn’t fit to be on screen.
Read more about these and others here.
Can you imagine?? Looking at the reputations of the above people now, one would never guess that they’d been told they’d never succeed. I mean, seriously: Oprah isn’t fit to be on TV? Walt Disney lacks imagination and has no good ideas? To us today, those statements seem ludicrous. But they were very real thoughts to people who couldn’t see what Oprah, Walt Disney and so many others had in their hearts.
I guess my message today is this: If you’re on a road, or contemplating a journey, to debt freedom, please don’t give up. Please don’t listen to the naysayers, especially the ones in your own mind. Work to change what you need to change about yourself and your life to make your dream of being debt free a reality. Instead of being like everyone else and following the norm, reach for the stars, because you do indeed deserve to be free of the bondage of debt.