A summary of the last six (what, six?) posts on this topic .

  •       Our thoughts influence our behaviour, which influences our results.
  •       It’s vitally important to stay positive when facing a debt crisis.
  •       Act as if you’ll be able to work your way out of this – and act this way consistently and persistently – and your behaviour will influence your creditors.
  •       Henry Ford: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.”
  •        “The Harvard Experiment”: the students were chosen at random, so were the teachers. The improved results were achieved because the teachers believed the children were more gifted than average.
  •        The traveller at the gate: “I think you’ll find they are the same here.”
  •        To minimise stress: create a clear positive picture of the result you want. Then keep it in the forefront of your mind.
  •        Create your own space: Seve Ballesteros and the bubble. Eliminate the negative influences of other people’s thoughts.
  •        Conduct all negotiations in writing. Avoid discussing on the phone: if you must answer it, simply note what is said, refer to previous correspondence, if any, and then respond … but in writing, not on the phone.
  •        Beware: letters apparently from “solicitors” and “debt collection companies” are sometimes really from the creditor. A neat tactic to put extra pressure on you without their going to the trouble and cost of involving third parties.
  •        Harassing debtors is illegal. If it happens to you, get help immediately. You can make a complaint to Trading Standards (via Consumer Direct, 08454 04 05 06), to the police if the harassment is severe or, if it is your landlord demanding money, your local council.
  •        Rules for correspondence: Prompt (replying). Polite, Professional & Persistent. (“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again”)



The above is the concluding extract from Chapter 2 (“Mind Over Matter”) of “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way”. [LINK]



I recently had a couple of e-mails from someone with debt problems who had come across my book “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way” and I was impressed with the positive attitude shown. That reminded me of the importance of mental attitude when one is trying to find a way out of debt. It also reminded me of a story that was told many years ago by Napoleon Hill.


Hill was an early writer on the habits and characteristics of successful people. In one of his books he wrote: “In my youth, when I worked as a bank clerk, (this was in the 1920s) I could tell, before a man was 10 feet inside the bank door, whether he expected to get his cheque cashed.”


Debt and stress


Being in serious debt is stressful: that’s obvious to pretty well anyone who has been in that situation. How we react to that stress greatly influences our success or otherwise in getting out of debt and the best way to manage stress is to use our knowledge of how our minds and brains work.


My reading of Hill’s anecdote was this: less-confident customers possibly had their accounts scrutinised more closely before being given any cash. If I’m right about that, then it follows that being confident – or at least acting confidently no matter what one feels inside – might have helped some of his customers to get cash; in some cases that will have meant they got credit if their accounts were not “in the black”.

My belief is that the same principle applies to getting out of debt as was applied to getting credit in Napoleon Hill’s day (nowadays, of course, the branch manager simply says: “sorry, the computer won’t let me do it.”). Let’s call it the power of positive expectations.


Negotiate with positive expectations


In this connection, the power of positive expectations says that while you are negotiating with your creditors, if you demonstrate that you expect to be debt-free in a given time, and that you’ll do whatever it takes to get there, and if you are persistent in acting that way, eventually you’ll find people who will help you. They may be employees or managers in the very companies to whom you owe money; they are just people doing a job, after all. If you have a positive attitude, it can attract people who can help you; maybe by giving you more time, or by going to the limit of their authority in some other way.


To quote another famous figure from that far-off era, Henry Ford: “If you think you can, or you think you can’t, then you’re right.” Based on my own experience, that applies to getting out of debt too.





Want to know more? “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way”, is now available as a multi-format eBook at Smashwords. You can sample it free (view or download the first 20%), or buy the whole book at only $3.99.

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