Settling your debts, daily

Afterthoughts: The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

Afterthoughts: Figuring by Maria Popova

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Through listening to the Daily Stoic podcast, I was introduced to this idea of settling your debts, daily. Debts here, Holiday described, in a strictly non-financial sense. It could be the full laundry basket left unwashed, the overflowing dishwasher, or the message left un-responded. Each of these things that we should do sooner rather than later and a useful framing is to view them as debts. They are debts on our time that will inevitably, if left unengaged, will accumulate and accrue over time.

Generally speaking, we want to stay debt free. From a financial literacy standpoint, debt can be good, but when it is debts on our time, it is more often a burden than a plus. Naturally, debts like investments fall prey to the effect of compounding interest. While we rely on this phenomenon for our investments, we don’t want it anywhere near our debts. That is where this heuristic of settling our debts everyday comes in.

Prior to this framing, I used to loathe doing any thing that I didn’t inherently want to do. Usually, any action would only be taken when I was left with no choice but to do the thing. Laundry would only be done when I ran out of underwear; the dishes would be done when the dishwasher was full and the dishes piled up in the sink; messages would only be responded to after a couple of weeks. It was bad. I let those debts grow and I paid the price. Every time I would think, why do I do this to myself?

With this new framing in mind, the friction of doing all those things has almost magically vanished. Each day is complete with very little of anything weighing me down, because for the most part, I have settled most of my debts. It’s such a freeing thing, and that is something I have come to value dearly.

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