I am worried about my mounting debt.
How about you?
If you are like most people, I know what your response would be – “I don’t have any debt.”
Well, think again. I was not referring to the financial debt here.
You accumulate debt ALL the time.
There is a growing list to whom you are indebted. This list includes but not limited to
* The world you were born into
* Your parents
* Your family
* Your teachers
* Your friends
* Your colleagues
* Your competitors | Yes, they do teach you lessons
The list goes on.
Believe it or not, it includes people who took advantage of you at one time or the other. That experience made you stronger than before.
Everyone in the list have taught you something and contributed to making you “who you are” today.
In the digital economy, your debt grows faster than before
You are accumulating debt at a clip faster than you can imagine.
Open your eyes and see how much of good stuff is out there for you to consume. Most of the times this good stuff is available for free (e.g.: ChangeThis.com, Copyblogger.com, SethGodin.com, TomPeters.com, TimSanders.com, ZenHabits.net etc.) and sometimes you may have to pay a small fee. The point is that if you are open to learning, there is no dearth of knowledge for you to consume.
Every single time you consume valuable information that contributes to your growth, your debt grows.
You have a choice: To repay or take things for granted
As you know, digital world is comprised of bits. In today’s world, the cost to transfer bits is insignificant. However, you also know that all bits are not created equal – meaning two documents that are each one page long may offer you TOTALLY different value based on what’s written in each of them.
You are consuming high-quality bits almost every day. You are moving from one source to another source freely. May be you have not even stopped for a minute, reflected on the value you are gaining. You may not have had the time appreciate your gratitude. In a worst case, you might have even discounted the value of what you got by focusing on either what the creator is getting by you consuming it or simply discounting what you got because in most cases what you got it intangible and YOU have to do the WORK to convert this intangible into tangible benefits.
This kind of debt you are accruing is not tracked by anyone and there is no expectation from this world for this debt to be repaid. In other words, the world gives you a “soft license” to take things for granted.
The choice is yours: You can choose to repay or you can just focus on consuming more.
There is magic in repaying debt
There is a special magic if you choose to repay the digital debt. There are several benefits and three of them are below:
1. You will learn better: The moment you know there is a price for what you are consuming, you will respect what you are consuming. You focus also sharpens and this means you will learn better.
2. You will put more things you learned to use: We talked about getting intangibles and you having to work to convert the intangibles to tangibles. Since the value is extracted only when you DO the work, you will also be inclined to put more things you learned to use
3. You will start contributing more: Since you may not be able to repay back this debt in cash, you will start contributing more.
In summary, you will start growing faster.
Have a great evening.
Photo Courtesy: Collection Agency on Flickr