So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance

So many people don’t bother pursuing debt freedom because it seems like such an absolutely impossible achievement. If this is you, you might need to take a lesson in perseverance from Jim Carrey’s character in the movie classic Dumb and Dumber.

In this classic movie, Lloyd takes a one in a million chance and goes after the girl of his dreams.

The outcome of his journey isn’t important here. What is important is that no matter what the circumstances look like, Lloyd continues to move forward in perseverance.

A Chance is Still a Chance

Likewise, those struggling with a debt load that seems overwhelming and impossible to beat need to keep one thing in mind.

Every step forward is a step in the right direction, and every dime counts on the journey to debt free.

When we were struggling with a 65% debt-to-income ratio and were $1000+ short every month for paying the basic bills along with our debt, many thought our situation was hopeless. WE thoughts our situation was hopeless. The word “bankruptcy” came up several times, but we just didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do for us, even though the numbers clearly suggested otherwise.

Our journey out of debt started slowly. In the first year and a half we paid off ten percent of our consumer debt. Then we had some family crises and went way, way, way backwards, over doubling our consumer debt numbers.

If we thought things were hopeless before, we were certain they were hopeless at the end of our family crises.

But we decided to take that one in a million chance and begin again in our journey to get out of debt.

The second leg of our journey began sooooo slowly. It was just about getting through the month in the positive. And then little by little the debt numbers began to drop.

It was tough, and we felt like we were doing SO much work and seeing so little progress. But we kept in mind that we were winning, if only because we had less debt than we did the month before.

Now things are smooth sailing and our journey out of consumer debt is coming along famously. Soon I’ll be able to share the details, and tell you how we went from “one in a million chance” to totally consumer debt free.

And the thing about your “one in a million” chance to become debt free is that it’s not like the lottery or some other long shot, because you control the odds. You can choose whether to keep moving toward debt free or to give up. You can choose a slow journey, or a “no” journey. And the interesting thing about choosing the slow journey over the “no” journey is that once you get started and choose to keep moving, things seems to have a way of speeding up.

If you’re feeling like you only have a one in a million chance of ever becoming debt free, please don’t give up. Take a lesson from Lloyd, persevere and be proud of the fact that you have less debt this month than you did last month – even if that “less” is only $10. Or $1. Forward progress is what counts. Celebrate every step of forward progress and keep taking those steps until the debt number is zero, no matter how long it takes.

Have you ever had a “one in a million” goal? 

23 comments on “So You’re Telling Me There’s a Chance

  1. Love the Dumb and Dumber clip, Laurie! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing! Perseverance is the key. Never give up. As we started kicking our debt to the curb, we started seeing the possibility of an earlier retirement. But, if you would have asked me if early retirement was in our future 10 years ago, I would have said there was no chance. But as we pushed forward, we could start to see the possibilities.

  2. I didn’t think Lloyd and Harry would teach me anything about personal finance, but you proved me wrong! Any progress, is better than none at all. Start with stop accumulating new debt and adding to you total is a great first step to beating the odds.

  3. Hahahaha, I love it! I think my one-in-a-million goal is to quit my full-time job and do my side job (writing) full-time. It takes a lot of work to make it happen, but hard work is the best way to achieve an absolutely insane goal.

  4. You do have to give Lloyd an “A” for effort.

    My “one in a million” experience was leaving my old job. As a single person, I wanted to leave it almost as soon as I hired on but thought my only alternative was flipping burgers at McDonald’s Then I met my future wife (my own Mary Samsonite) and those odds slowly dropped as I realized I would be living like almost everybody else and “the simple life” isn’t so bad after all.
    It’s taking us a little longer to get out of debt than I’m used too, but, we haven’t gone hungry.

  5. I’m not sure that I’ve ever tackled a one-in-a-million goal, but if I had some hope of getting it done, I wouldn’t hesitate. When it comes to our finances, the outcome is to important to just give up. We need to believe in ourselves and do what needs to be done to create a better future. Congrats on all your forward progress!

  6. I never saw Dumb and Dumber so I appreciate the glimpse of it. We’re aiming for FIRE/semi-FIRE and sometimes it seems doubtful that we’ll make it. We’re saving for a house downpayment even though that money would go further in investments, and neither of us make a ton of money in the first place. No matter what, we’re better served by saving than not, and I’m certainly grateful to not be in debt, but it may not be enough.

    Thanks for your inspiration

  7. “And the interesting thing about choosing the slow journey over the ‘no’ journey is that once you get started and choose to keep moving, things seems to have a way of speeding up.” I have found this to be true as well. So many things work together to build momentum when we persevere. Less debt = lower interest = more to put against debt; frugal living becomes normal living, and a new level of frugality can be attempted = more to put against debt. I REALLY look forward to hearing your whole story : )

  8. It’s so true that people won’t pursue a goal that feels impossible. I know this is true for myself. Fortunately I have a husband who can convince me something actually is possible! Great point that you control the odds. It’s funny how sometimes when you start moving in the right direction, some things fall in place. Maybe you work hard and start earning more, or find new ways to cut spending, or start to see windfalls as a great way to pay down that debt.

  9. This is a concept that I stressed in a youth financial workshop… never give up. No one will ever regret trying. I like the phrase, the only risk in life is not taking one.

    My husband and I love this line in this movie. We were joking that it would be funny to have a spoof on the Apollo 13 movie, where the astronauts ask Houston what are the chances and then they play out the lines of the Dumb and Dumber scene you posted. Is that terrible? 🙂

    1. LOL, that is HILARIOUS!!! I should have my daughter make that one up – she does video compilations!!! We are big into movie quotes. Nearly every “normal” comment made in this house is followed up by a movie quote. When one of my kids starts getting bossed around by another, the inevitable reply is a quote from the first Narnia movie in a British accent, “You think you’re mum, but you’re not!” Life is good in movie quotes. 🙂

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