Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
Yep, this is what I did! About three months into me realising that we have debt, I started referring to it as negative wealth. I still remember some of the reactions I got to this on a very well know website: most people were positive and even started using negative wealth. There were, however, some who asked me whether I call my saving negative debt.
Well, no actually; this is the whole point. In coining the term negative wealth all I wanted to do is not to downplay our situation and at the same time not to use the word ‘debt’.
Where Do You Stand On Metaphysics?
Confession time! I am and have always been a rationalist; I believe in reason and science. I believe in testing things, sometimes testing them to destruction. I was four years old when I started taking apart the alarm clocks in the house; then I graduated to watches. My parents were naturally upset when I took them apart and impressed when I started putting them back together. When technology was not sealed, I doubt there was something I couldn’t mend. I am still the first one to touch a freshly painted wall when told to watch the wet paint.
And then I discovered a book called The Secret. Its premise is simple; there is one law of all laws – The Law of Attraction. This means that you attract what you think about. You think this is mysticism?
I was about to discard it as mysticism before I remembered my training as a social scientist. This is crystallised in the mechanism linking thoughts and destiny that I quoted above. In other words, the law of attraction works because you act according to your beliefs and thoughts; and, more importantly, you become sensitised to looking for and using opportunities because of your thoughts.
My position on metaphysics is that we don’t have to reject something because we don’t understand it. Quite the reverse: it is probably worth putting a bit more effort into understanding while we use it.
Back To Negative Wealth
This brings me to the two reasons why I say negative wealth.
First, I don’t think about debt, I don’t use the word debt and so it doesn’t become my destiny. Ever since I/we started referring to our negative wealth we have been calm enough and collected enough to put all our effort into reducing it rather than worrying about it. Amazingly, once we stopped focusing on debt it hasn’t increased; if anything we have paid a rather large chunk of it in two and a half years (I am talking about $100,000 large).
Second, referring to debt as negative wealth is actually technically correct. Any calculation of net wealth (or worth) consists of two parts: assets and liabilities. Debt is usually a large part of one’s liabilities and so is the negative part of the equation.
And third, referring to debt as negative wealth has one very important advantage: it immediately shows that repaying debt is a very good way to increase your wealth. This makes every monthly payment a joy and a step towards an abundant future, rather than a drudgery and deprivation of the present.
Think about it!