Understanding What's Possible – A Michigan Survival Guide Installment

In the coming years many Michiganders will at times have to make decisions on whether to proceed with activities, go to shows or events, or even make larger purchases.  This is nothing out of the ordinary however, and as things are, it will be a lot easier to simply say “We cannot afford that,” and then move on to solve the next crisis.  The critical thinking stops as soon as the balance meter hits an apparent $zero.  But what are the possibilities if it didn’t?

We all to often see things in absolutes.  As many might argue, I do it here.  What those might not be able to see, is the invisible process of deduction, and the seeking of results prior to announcing my opinion.  And yes, even sometimes shooting from the hip with a quick bout of inspiration.  What is working in the background, and steaming up the inside of the skull, is often an invisible process, but it needs to be brought up front, and reasoning on a conscious level DOES have advantages.  It allows us to externalize and reach out to others for answers we cannot readily achieve.

So when faced with financial decisions going forward, what if we instead frame the financial question as what it is… a Question. And does not a question typically beg an answer?  When you have $5, and the movie tickets cost $10, you might instantly recognize that you “cannot” see that awesome Michael Moore flick all your friends are talking about.  Your “answer would be “NO,  I am short $5 and I can’t.” Then you are done.

Why stop there?  Why not use the same technique that little kids use when trying to convince mom and dad to get them that cool Mighty Morphin Power Ranger set that all their friends have?  They don’t stop.  They will sit and stew.. (and you parents KNOW what I am talking about) and eventually, will come up with a plan which might give them an edge.  The fact is, kids don’t know instant defeat, wont accept it readily and will think long and hard considering the many ways they can get what they want.

We as adults sometimes have long forgotten the method of finding solutions to our desires.  Partly because we have faced enough failure or rejection, there becomes an automatic wish to avoid facing it again, and partly because we become…. lazy.  We recognize the difficulty in solving issues, and weigh out nearly instantly whether we feel it is worth out time to pursue.  The trouble is that walking away from problem solving can all too easily become the routine, and instead of asking a question which requires thought and consideration, we simply dismiss offhand for an instant resolution. Yet, even if no solution was found, the issue is DONE.

A challenge to those who wish to offset the harsh reality of financial downturns can perhaps treat each new situation as a challenge to be met, and merely an issue which has an answer, rather than a problem that is simply a failure.  Instead of saying “I cannot afford that suit which might help me get my new job,” you say “what might i do to make it possible.” Or,  “I cannot afford to stay in my home,” you say “What would it take for me to stay here.”  And while this might appear an over simplification to some extent, it should serve as an exercise which will demonstrate positive outcome if applied regularly as it keeps the mind busy on solutions, instead of failure.

As children we dont know what is possible always, but we also dont yet know what is not.