The debt snowball is a process you may be familiar with, especially if you’ve done any listening to Dave Ramsey in the past 25 years. But the concept of the snowball transcends just the idea of paying off debt. Indeed, almost every area of our life is in one way or another a sort of snowball that we are forming. Let’s philosophize for a bit…
Each of us in our lives is moving towards something. No person remains completely static; nothing in this realm remains static. Either we are progressing towards something and are growing, or we are regressing into something entirely different, and are atrophying.
Consider how that may look like in a person’s life. A person who is applying a snowball method to their entire life will be growing in several aspects. They may be using the debt snowball to get their financial life in order, but they may also be forming a spiritual snowball by going back to church, reading their Bible more, or spending more time in prayer. Those activities build upon themselves over time, and as we do them more frequently, with higher skill and deeper intimacy, the result becomes better and better in whatever the subject may be. We may say that this person is taking a conscious and active role in forming their destiny, and are being proactive rather than reactive.
That same principle also applies to someone who is on the opposite end, who is atrophying because they are not making a conscious effort to grow. Rather than a snowball of success, financial savings, and deep, intimate relationships, this person may be growing successive failures, debts, and toxic relationships.
All of the above things take work for one to have success with any of them. No one magically happens to have millions of dollars in their retirement accounts, or wakes up one morning and suddenly realizes they have a happy marriage.
“How did that happen?!” Said no successful person ever! It is the result of conscious decisions made every single day, with small sacrifices being made along the way in exchange for a brighter tomorrow.
The opposite of that is letting life write your script for you, rather than you taking life by the horns and saying “I will write my own script, please and thank you!” A person who chooses to let life happen to them rather choosing to happen to their life is a person who will easily find him or herself drowning in debt, struggling in their marriage, at a dead-end job, and a building feeling of bitterness and resentment towards the world.
Over time, if not recognized and mitigated, that snowball that this person has formed will continue to form, and it will grow and grow and grow as long as that person lets it. At some point, when life comes along and does its thing, whether it’s losing a relative, a job, a house, a spouse, that person’s conscious choice to be unconscious will come home to roost, and that person’s world will begin to fall apart.
That’s a very dark line of thinking, and it’s an unpleasant place to go to in our minds. But we don’t have to go there, we don’t have to let that happen to us. Instead, we can choose to form different snowballs, starting with the seeds of responsibility and determination.
We must first take responsibility for our situation. Many times things happen in life that put us into difficult circumstances, but we must control what we can control, and what we can control is how we react to the things that come our way.
We can either take the grains of sand that have been thrown at us, and get mad about it; or we can learn from those grains of sand, hold onto them dearly, deep down inside of us, and allow those grains to grow into precious pearls.
We can either take the lumps of coal thrown our way and be mad that we didn’t receive gold and silver; or we can use that coal to start a fire and keep warm, or remember that under enough pressure, coal becomes diamond.
What are you snowballing? What are you forming in your life? What will happen when that snowball reaches its critical mass? Will your life fall apart, or will you become an even stronger, healthier, and satisfied person. Both of these paths require conscious choices, and one way or another we will go down one of these paths. The choice is ours, what will you decide?