Good Morning from a nice sunny January Day in Princeton!
Waaaaaay back in the 90’s when I attended Ottawa High School, in Ottawa, Kansas, There were a couple words that could strike fear in the heart of this slightly above average student: “Doc Cain!” Although I had no rational basis for being so scared of Mr. Cain and his College Prep Chemistry Class, I just plain was.
I took the course in my Junior Year and have many vivid memories. College Prep Chemistry was the most comprehensive and in-depth study that I had experienced in my 16 years. The kids in class were your typical over-achievers. We felt this was important stuff that was preparing us for the courses we’d take at University level in the years to come. We did experiments and bent little glass pipettes. We used crucibles and torches and took notes and were very serious about it all. The work load was tough, the subjects abstract.
Big projects required extra time in class. Somehow no matter how early you showed up, it seemed that Mr. Cain had already been there for hours. The classical music on NPR was a mind-bending contrast from the CD’s I was spinnin in my 84′ pickup truck.
We spent many hours after school as well. Small groups in the Cyclone Room would be head-down and scribbling pages and pages worth of equations, observations and solutions to complex problems. Usually we would work together and share ideas on how to complete the task at hand. Among these kids, we would usually find a suitable answer.
The most crushing moments came for me while working on a several page written document, and coming to a point where I could continue no more. The problem was not solved, and I was stuck! I would have had an hour or maybe many involved in this one equation. After asking the other smarties, and seeing their looks of confusion at what I had created, I knew there was only one thing to do… I had to go back into the class and ask Him for help… Mr. Cain was always glad to assist, but the pain of showing my stupidity to him on paper was an ego-killer!
I remember several of these moments, I always had the same experience. EVERY SINGLE time I went to him for help, I had two pages or more worth of words, numbers and symbols written by hand. I wanted help with the last two sentences or equations where I had become stuck. I proudly showed him all the work that went into this huge mess of lead on paper and asked him for just a little boost or fix for this little issue I had run into…
EVERY SINGLE TIME I had made my mistake Waaaaaay up at the beginning. Every single time, he would look at the place on the page I was pointing, disregard that, and run his eyes hours back in time, up the sheet, to the place I started my screw-up. Aaaggghhhhh! NO!!
Humbled, Crushed and feeling stupid, I would sulk back to the booth by the windows and start all over…
You know what? When I would use his advice and do it right from the beginning, the problem would usually be Much faster, easier and more satisfying to complete than before. Even in starting over, the problem could get finished on time and turned in with a good grade.
In that world and in our financial world we are allowed to continue with our mistakes for awhile. We get to struggle along and think we’re getting somewhere. It may even look, at first glance, like we are. These denials of the truth and false-identities are what Debt gives to us. Our metaphorical chemistry assignment page of life can look like we’ve accomplished much. A nice big house, expensive college degree, newer cars and lots of trips to the city for Stuff we Need. This is what the average American’s written page looks like.
But, we are not living at a level of True Wealth. We have financial problems. Our money stresses do not stem from this month’s high utility bills. The issue is not our unexpected flat tire. It’s not Christmas’s fault or the cost of the kids’ traveling sports team.
Truth is, we’ve made a mistake waay back at the beginning. Our behavior pattern, our perception of money and wealth in general is Wrong. I guess I’ll be just as unpopular as Mr. Cain when I tell you that you’ve got to start over with your ideas about money in general. We’ve got to go back to square one and learn new things. That is, if you ever want to get unstuck from your finances and move on to the exciting and prosperous next level.
The shining silver lining here parallels my experience with a long chemistry equation back in 1996. When you start over and get it right from the beginning, the answer to the problem comes so much Faster, Easier and More Satisfying that you forget all about the years and years of doing it the wrong way. That moment of regret from being dumb, is blown away by the Fun and Thrilling stride after stride you’re taking when you know you’re on the right track.
Stay tuned to my blog, check out my website http://www.truenorthffc.com/
or go to http://www.daveramsey.com/
. The truth is out there and I’d like to introduce you to it. You deserve it! You work too hard to not be enjoying the level of peace, security and generosity that you have earned. Take it from me, a debt-free kid from Ottawa High, it is absolutely worth the ego-hit to start all over and get it right.
Thanks Mr. Cain, for the chemistry and more importantly: Life Lessons!
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