Photo (cc) by Alexandratx
Have you ever noticed (in the real world, not the TV world) that paramedics don’t generally run to take care of patients? I was a rescued patient recently and it got me thinking about the logic behind why they don’t run. If paramedics aren’t running then there must be an exceptional lesson to be learned there and one that can probably be applied to those wanting to get out of debt.
So here is the answer I learned after talking to several paramedics. Paramedics are taught that running is a bad thing. It reduces the ability to process the scene around them, it stimulates adrenaline production that’s not helpful for thinking clearly, and it makes them more susceptible to injury.
Those same professional skills that paramedics learn after lots of training and practical experience need to be absorbed by people facing debt problems.
Generally the process of realizing you have money troubles goes like this:
- I don’t have a financial problem.
- Money feels like it’s getting a little tight.
- OMG, I’m in big trouble. I need to find a solution now! The sky is falling. Help. Help. Help.
Financial problems slowly creep up on you, masked by denial, until they smack you in the face and you panic. You want to run.
That panic is deadly to dealing with the situation in a logical, rational, and informed manner.
When you start to feel the panic you do the natural thing that all normal people do, you panic and that fight or flight response kicks in.
That fight or flight response is a biological trigger that’s hard to not react to since a ton of adrenaline has just been dumped into your blood stream by your body. It leads you to experience confusion, muddled thoughts, illogical thinking, paranoia, stress, an emotional flood, tunnel vision, etc.
Bottom line, you want to run away from the problem.
But here is where I need you to not run. I need for you to breathe deeply, settle down, and do your homework on how to best get out of debt.
I need for you to understand that you didn’t get in debt overnight and you probably are not going to get out of debt overnight.
The goal in getting out of debt is to not make the problem worse. Don’t make silly decisions that will negatively impact you for the rest of your life. Don’t assume bankruptcy is bad or that long-term payment plans are good. Don’t assume anything. Assumptions are deadly.
It’s just like a paramedic not running to a patient so they don’t harm themselves and arrive exhausted and then make silly choices.
If you let the debt panic get you in its grip, you will fall victim to the first debt relief sales message you hear. You might even be fooled into thinking that some of the nonprofit companies out there promising help are the instant way to go.
But I say, STOP! Don’t run. Don’t act impulsively.
When you are suffering with debt you are like a sick patient that is trying to medically take care of themselves and shushing the doctor away who has the skills and abilities to best help you.
You don’t know what you don’t know and if you did know the best ways to deal with debt, let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t be in the spot you are in right now.
I’m not suggesting I have all the right answers for your specific situation, or that any one person does. What I am urging you to do is to not run, to educate yourself about all the logical options to get out of debt, to contemplate what is right for you, and to move forward with a plan that makes sense.