The Young and the Thoughtless – Episode 5 – “How did I DO that?”

This is the final Chapter (for now) in this series. For those who have missed the first episodes start here, or if you want to skip it I’ll begin with a recap:

Have you ever felt down because you were too stressed to spend time with your kids or too busy just trying to pay the bills? I have. For years I wished that I could just relax and be like my mom. At the critical times in my life, she’d been there for me. She brought me snacks while I did homework. She stayed up late with me and laughed at my jokes.

Well, as much as I wanted to be that kind of mother, there I was, too stressed over finances to do little more than force a smile at the end of a harried day. No matter if a mom works part-time or full-time, she’ll regularly be at her wits end. Am I right? And to the fathers: sometimes it’s hard to relax because of work concerns, isn’t it?

For many years, my husband and I frantically raced around collecting paychecks, regularly begging the bank to reverse overdraft fees, or apologizing to our creditors that our payment hadn’t quite shown up on time.

Do you realize how much time and money goes into fixing financial messes that never would have needed fixing if a person had had enough in the first place?

We knew there HAD to be a way SOMEHOW to keep our financial promises, AND develop a healthy savings for emergencies, AND raise our kids with focus. Couldn’t I just put all those worries aside and simply be MOM?

In our efforts, we read countless books on success, and attended nearly a hundred seminars all over the country, for we knew that we couldn’t keep DOING the same things expecting DIFFERENT results. Something had to change.

But what we NEEDED to change wasn’t what we thought.

This went on for 7 years.

Among other things, we did learn that a positive attitude was critical to financial success. But as hard as we tried, we couldn’t seem to MAINTAIN one while being beat down by setback after setback, from car troubles to medical problems. Besides, when we DID have a positive attitude, it didn’t ever seem to change our finances; it only helped us be happier in our prison. The thing is, we wanted OUT of financial prison. Was that so wrong?

I slipped into depression. We moved out of state to start a window-cleaning business. It didn’t work out like we wanted, so my husband picked up two jobs, and I stayed home with my two preschoolers. But even though I was home, my children hardly had a mother. I was angry and short-tempered, even to the point that I called the cops on a neighbor boy who had snapped my broom in half. I didn’t have $7 for a new broom, and the thought of not being ABLE to clean the floor even if I FELT like it was enough to send me over the edge.

I resorted to an escapist mentality and decided to go to bed, not caring if I ever got up again. Then, of course, I berated myself for not being able to cope. “Dream big!” “Picture what you want!” The things we’d heard over and over again in seminars taunted me, and, in my bitterness I was angry at the speakers who got our money in exchange for what I thought were cheesy, empty clichés.

“Alright then, FINE! I will!” Out of spite I closed my eyes and decided that since life was miserable anyway, I was simply going to escape into a dream world where I could pretend I was living the life I really wanted. I pictured owning a home for the first time, and having a yard, and though I felt guilty for evading reality, and certain I was mentally ill beyond help, it was the only place I could go to feel joy. I could experience the dream life it as though it was real and never wanted to open my eyes again.

One year later, we had a starter home with a yard… just like I had dreamed. My husband had a better job with benefits. But we were still stressed and strapped and I was still sour and ill-tempered. We still had more debt than we could handle. It took me about three more years and dragging myself to a few more seminars before I realized that the relative upturn in our circumstances actually had their root in the fantasy world which I had conjured in my head that day.

Once I realized what I had done, and WHY it had made a difference, I began to experiment with what I had learned. We both did. And doggone it, if we didn’t triple our monthly income in less than four months. (How much would three times YOUR income be?) It was as though the blinders dropped from our minds and we finally understood how it’s actually possible to take control of our life simply by controlling our thoughts. Yes, “have a positive attitude” is key; but the notion had never held any power for me until I was given the WHOLE picture. So WHY does it work? And what HAD I done, anyway?

Oh, there are thousands of books on the market that teach it. I know, because I had (and still have) a library full of them. But none of them had empowered me enough to effect PERMANENT changes. I decided that I needed to share what I had learned from my own every-day-person-and-mother-of-six perspective. I needed to write a STORY which held within it the power to change a person’s life forever. The result? “The Jackrabbit Factor: Why You Can.”

Is it any good? Hyrum Smith, co-founder of Franklin Covey and CEO of Galileo Initiative thought it was… and Bob Proctor, best-selling author and founder of LifeSuccess Productions did too. You’ll have a chance to see their comments on another page but I want you to know what people like you and me have had to say about it:

“I just devoured your book… I am sitting here in tears because you cannot understand what a blessing and inspiration you have been…I was really moved by the story of Richard and his family and you don’t know how many times I have asked the same questions that Richard asks himself…and tried to lever myself out of the hole that I have been in. I have always believed that positive thought and faith have helped me to stay strong and persevere but after reading your book I realize that maybe it is time that I can do more than just get by.” ~ Wendy Valentine, single mother of three. “I am actually at a loss for words after reading your manuscript. Kind of almost shook a little bit if that makes sense…” ~Fred Schofield, Independent IT Consultant

In a form, it is OUR story. The details aren’t quite the same, but the journey to discovery is there. I want it to get out there quickly to rescue other marriages like ours, and give kids their parents back. I want you to know what I know.

If you’ll go to our Jackrabbit Factor page, you can read the whole thing for free.

Leslie Householder

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