When you are hungry you will do anything to get your next meal. There is an urgency in finding what and where you can eat. You will even be able to spot places that you would have ordinarily not seen if you were not hungry.
In the same way, I believe hunger is important in life. When we are in tough financial situations, we do everything we can to get out. Human beings aspire comfort, so anything that’s the opposite seems the wrong place to be. Entertainment media sells us the ideal comfortable and flashy lifestyles where people seem to have no problems.
Billboards depict happy, smiling people in their new home, new car, dream holiday, fast growing business, corner office, perfectly behaved children, sparkling house, etc. People even choose careers that they think can give them this life. Others get into relationships that promise this life.
But the reality is that the model who posed for the dream car advertisement goes back to her one roomed house to deal with every day struggles. The bank marketing manager – the brains behind the smiley happy faces on the bill boards – is buried deep under many levels of debt. You just won’t notice it at the company cocktail. This kind of life is an illusion. An illusion that many people are struggling to keep up with.
We have stopped appreciating hunger or hardship. We have started believing in those billboards and in other’s Instagram and Facebook posts.
If you are struggling to survive, you are seen as a failure. People even fear telling their partners about financial issues lest they are judged. Media highlights the success story of the entrepreneur, but they do not talk about the auctions that happened along the way, or even the issues they have with everyday working capital. Then the young start up business person thinks something is wrong with them when they are not making money instantly.
Whatever version of survival you are going through, it is valid – and it is what builds you. Of course you want to get past it but there is nothing wrong with you going through it. If used correctly, your discomfort will give the sort of hunger that will propel your finances to the next level.
Elizabeth* was retrenched from her job a year ago. This compelled her to start her own law firm. She still struggles with money but because of this, she has discovered a niche market: family businesses. She would have never done this if she was in her comfort zone. Mark had a lot of debt on his plate. Instead of playing victim he took it upon himself to get out of it. His family has a farm and he started selling vegetables and fruit at work.
These are the kinds of solutions most people don’t want to hear because they are worried about what other will think about them. He now earns an equivalent amount to his salary through this. There are many more examples of great things people have done out of discomfort.
The person you admire has built what they have because of constantly being uncomfortable. Don’t aspire to earn more money just to be in a bigger comfort zone. There must be something else to keep you hungry enough to see things differently. If you feel comfortable, do something to get out of it.
Whatever discomfort you are going through, use it to your advantage. Don’t compare it with somebody else. Our hardships will always look different. From my experience, the best lessons on money come when you don’t have money.
The thing that is making you hungry today could be simply paying the bills. It could be getting out of debt. It could be building a business. It could be realigning your life after a divorce.
Whatever the case, see the process through. Even after you’ve gotten through the current situation, another one will rear its head. That’s real life.
The perfect life that is often sold to us is an illusion. Just like a quote I once read says,
“A comfort zone is beautiful place to be, but nothing grows there.”
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