Personal Finance

Lessons from financial crisis

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ~ T.S. Eliot

As human beings, we have the good fortune to be infinitely adaptable. While it’s true that it’s often more comfortable to stay safely in the realms of the familiar if you’ve ever had to adjust and adapt to one of life’s curveballs you’ll know that it is truly amazing what you can do when you have to. I see this adaptability every day in the stories people tell about overcoming debt, surviving financial disasters or conquering new financial habits that weren’t helping them achieve their goals and it got me thinking about how, so often, it’s only when our limits are tested that we discover how much we’re really capable of. I wondered what lessons could be learned from dealing with a financial crisis that could help us in less critical times and here are three that I discovered:


Dealing with a challenge, no matter what its nature, forces us to prioritize. Whether it’s time, resources or energy, we have to take a step back and ensure that we’re devoting our energy to the things that will best help us to resolve or survive the situation and not wasting time on anything that will slow us down or distract us from the task at hand. When you make something a priority you are dramatically increasing your chances of achieving success. If you have a financial goal that you’re working towards, then making a point of regularly taking an objective look at your progress and making sure it is still a top priority helps you reduce the risk of getting off track and distracted and increases your chances of success.

Do what’s necessary

A crisis pushes us to do whatever needs to be done in order to come through the experience with minimum damage. When something important is on the line we are willing to go outside our comfort zone and to take on greater restrictions and greater risks than usual in order to resolve the situation. More often than not these risks and restrictions result in huge rewards and yet we’re reluctant to take the same level of action in less critical situations. Whether you’re striving towards a financial, career or personal goal, being willing to go out on a limb in order to achieve it can dramatically impact the speed and the level of your success. In addition, the thrill of your actions paying off can also boost your confidence, making you feel braver and more motivated to find other ways to succeed.

Don’t quit

When you’re caught up in a financial crisis, failure is simply not an option. The drive to persist and overcome the obstacle is a powerful one and yet when faced with less daunting obstacles on the way to our goals we are often willing to give in. Within a crisis situation it seems, that even when you’re sure that you can’t succeed, you will always find a way to make it through the fire. Having a strong belief in the power of your dreams and your own ability to achieve them is what fuels the “don’t quit” attitude and applying the same level of drive to a less critical situation can create amazing results.

No matter who we are or what our goals are, the paths that we travel and the curveballs we face equip us with the skills, experience, and understanding to achieve whatever we put our minds to. So many successful people attribute their success not only to the huge obstacles they had to overcome but also to the extraordinary amount of energy they consistently apply to achieve their goals. For many of us, the only time we operate at a similar energy level is when we’re under immense pressure or dealing with a crisis. If we could learn to channel even 50% of that energy into our day to day efforts to attain our goals just imagine what we’d be capable of! This week, why not take a step back and honestly assess how committed you are to achieving your financial goals? Consider where you could dig a little deeper to kick your efforts up a notch and then commit to a new action that will bring you closer to your goal. If you’d like to share your action steps, I’d love to hear them!

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