Growth is a product of adversity. Mistakes become teaching points. Struggles test our fortitude and harden our resolve. We learn how to deal with pain and how to overcome it. So while being in debt may not be an ideal situation, it does represent a kind of adversity, a turning point in our lives where we can either sink or swim. By learning from these mistakes and fighting your way to solvency, being in debt can help you grow into a better person.
1. Becoming More Self-Aware
Having a personal debt crisis forces you to undergo a self-examination. You begin to re-evaluate your spending habits and the behavior that created them. Maybe you spend beyond your means. Maybe you are a bit too gullible when it comes to duplicitous credit card promotions, or simply lack the attention to detail to read the fine print. Perhaps you are a bit too generous with friends who are friends in name only. Whatever the reason, a large debt represents a personal failing, and the first step to recovery is identifying where you erred.
2. Caution is a Good Thing
Being in debt is usually a symptom of taking an inordinate amount of risks. Although a certain amount of risk goes hand in hand with enjoying life, true wisdom comes with the ability to assess which risks or worth taking and which are simply foolhardy. Being in debt in this regard is a good life experience that teaches you the value of being cautious and frugal.
3. Seeing the Forest Through the Trees
When you evaluate the cost of interest, it helps you realize that short term happiness is not worth long term ruin. The trick is to overcome the temptation of present bias. However, once you are caught in the web of overwhelming debt, you are forced to look at everything in the context of the future. Every large purchase tacks on another year to end of your debt sentence. In this way, being in debt helps you gain perspective.
4. A Test of Mettle
Getting out of debt is not an easy thing. It represents a huge challenge personally as well as financially. You will need to change the lifestyle you have become accustomed to. It requires sacrifice and dedication. These are qualities that all individuals strive to attain, but few experience the kind of adversity required to forge them. Getting yourself out of debt is a hard thing, and is something that will affect your life every single day until it is cleared.
5. Learning to Live Without Money
One of the best side effects of not having any money is learning to appreciate life without it. Given that you are no longer part of the consumer economy, you will no longer be obsessed with the latest gadget or fashion. You may become more environmentally friendly, consuming less red meat and driving less to save on gas. You will spend more time doing activities outdoors rather than spend money on electronics in the home. Overall you will be a less greedy person, as the allure of consumption is no longer applicable to a person with your debt. Often times people will waste their entire lives in pursuit of impossible financial goals. Being consigned to a more modest life can have a healthy effect on your character.