This is a sponsored guest post by Matthew Kuehlhorn, America’s Mentor for Teens.
Reality strikes. I choose to ignore it at first, and then I look again and, indeed, the bill says $5,895.85. It is October 2006 and I am stunned. I currently make less than $2,000 a month and this debt is swallowing me whole. How did this happen? This is the ignorant question I ask myself. Clearly, I know how it happened.
I graduated high school in 1995 and, thanks to my mom I got my first credit card with a limit of $1,000 on it. I would use it occasionally for the first few years and pay it off within the month.Then I left home, went to college, and before you could say, “Let’s go out,”the card was maxed. Next came the game of paying it down, only to see it go up again, and this yo-yo effect continued to play out for almost 15 years!
Only the yo-yo kept getting bigger and heavier.
It was in 2005 that I married my beautiful wife and we moved to Montana from Colorado in search of the “American Dream.”We moved with the promise of a steady job and hoped to buy a home. If you are not aware of it yet, this is hard to do with a credit card balance of $5,595.67 (my max limit was $6,000) and a relatively low-paying job in Eureka, MT. It was at this time the first “reality aha”hit me.
I knew I could not pay off this loan without earning more money or spending less. So, I resolved to spend less, and by January of 2006 I paid of my credit card loans in full. I then began making smaller payments to a family member I had borrowed money from every month and I was feeling pretty comfortable with my situation. Why then, did I have a credit card balance in October 2006 of $5,895.85?
The second (or 287th) “reality aha”hit me. It was the relationship I had with myself and my things which kept my impulse buying up and my good intentions from coming into reality. I realize now that I acted on some insecurities and poor beliefs which would sabotage my great intentions of truly living a sensible and relaxed life. So I began to reflect, question, and experiment. Do you know what I found?
Relationships are the core to EVERYTHING in life. They bring about success, happiness, and fulfillment, as well as stress, anxiety, and other less desirable results in life. It is our choice to choose what we want. I decided I wanted only the best in life. As I reflected and experimented, I developed an acronym that can be used as a system to build relationships. When building my relationships, I begin with myself and move out from there. This provides me with a foundation on which to build from.
S.T.R.E.N.G.T.H. is an acronym that is a relationship building system. Follow this, and you will have no problems building the positive and enriching relationships you deserve in life.Consequent to creating and living by this system, I found that my impulse purchasing, buying what I thought I “needed”at the time finally started disappearing. Not only that, but with better relationships, my income increased. Hmmm, imagine that? Spending less and enjoying more income. Simple mathâ€”again, that makes sense.
The STRENGTH system:
S â€“ Silence: Engage in conversation with a Silent mind. A Zen quote states, “Listen with the eye, see with the ear.”When we are developing our next comment or making judgments as another person speaks to us, we are not listening,sowe must remind ourselves to be silent.(I have found that finding silence while making a purchase decision is a great tool to alleviate impulse purchases.)
T â€“ Talk: We speak with our words, the way we dress, and the way we move. We must be intentional with each communication technique we have. Also, how we talk to ourselves can majorly affect how we relate to money. For example, if I told myself, “Money is the root of all evil,”then I may actually find many ways to get rid of money so that I do not become “evil.â€
R â€“ Radiate: When people radiate their eyes shine. When a kid is at play or an actor is truly “on,”you can witness shining eyes. Your eyes shine when you are engaged in activities that excite you. When you radiate and come from this place, you truly have no “needs.â€
E â€“ Energy: Energy is something we communicate with and something that affects how we feel. We can also affect other people with our energy. Again, by practicing the use of our energy and relating to only those that consistently make us feel good, we do not need “things”to pump us up in the short-term.
N â€“ Negotiate: When we listen, speak, radiate, and get energized, we usually know what we want. When we know what we want, we get to negotiate with other people in order to create our dreams. This opens the door to possibility. And with a win-win attitude, things come into our lives with little or no money being paid.
G â€“ Giving: Sharing our gifts with others is what we are here to do. First, realizing we have gifts to give puts us in a place where we have no wants. As we start to give, our generosity is returned over and over, multiplying our value many times over.
T â€“ T.E.A.M. Together Everyone Achieves Miracles. When I realized this, I did not need a thing and I focused on building relationships that helped other peopleâ€”subsequently, I was helped by the team too!
H â€“ Hope: Offering hope to other people is a true gift we can give to anyone, regardless of our current situation. This is the best gift to hand out, and when you do, you feel great, and you also have hope within you. Hope is great to wake up with every day. Things are always getting better all the time.
Bringing STRENGTH into your relationships will build an incredible foundation over time. In living the Centsible Life, relationships are the core to it all.
Matthew Kuehlhorn is America’s Mentor for Teens who offers his Relationship Building System in an engaging, 144-page, illustrated novel, titled Bully on his website www.RulesoftheRoadforTeens.com. The novel is designed to teach teenagers how to build incredible relationships and the lessons will reduce or eliminate bullying and other negative relationships, while increasing positive results in life. Matthew believes mentoring to be the missing link in today’s education of youth and he wants everybody to graduate High School with the practical information he missed, as school’s oftentimes do not cover these crucial topics.
Disclosure: I was compensated for placement of this post on The Centsible Life.