Everybody wants a pill. People want a quick and easy fix. It takes real work to dive under the surface and address the true challenges we face. We are often too tired, too lazy, and too comfortable to initiate any type of real change in our life. We don’t want to change, we just want our problems fixed. So, we ask for a pill. The trouble is, even when we get a pill, we end up just treading our symptoms instead of actually addressing the underlying problems in our lives. Sure, it makes us feel better for the moment, but does it actually make our lives better?
Debt, weight loss, relationship communication, stress, poor sleeping habits, addictive substances? Sure, a pill will fix all of those.
“I don’t want to work any more or spend any less but I’d like to get rid of this debt. I don’t want to eat any differently or exercise at all, but help me lose 50lbs. I want my relationship to be better with my _________ but I don’t want to be uncomfortable working though current and past issues. I want to feel healthy and wake up feeling good on weekend mornings but I’m not ready to give up cigarettes or alcohol. We see it all around us. We see it in ourselves. We often have major issues that need to be addressed but rarely have the emotional fortitude to address the challenges head on. It is a lot easier to take a pill. It is much harder to fix ourselves.
Just Give Me the Pill
When was the last time you went to see a medical professional? You don’t leave an urgent care clinic without a Rx. Even if you don’t actually need one, they will give one to you. You need to feel like you have gotten your money’s worth. It is hard to explain the details of weight loss, habit change, exercise in 10 minutes- it’s a lot easier to just write at Rx for Lipitor and send you on your way. Don’t worry about the price of that car, $300 for 10 years and it will be yours! Can’t save for a house or school? Pay for it with the new and improved 50 year mortgage at great rates.
In finance, the biggest issue Americans face is the difference between their income and the amount they spend. In a chronically overspent society, consumer debt takes the place of examining actual priorities. Debt fills in the financial gaps of poor planning, over extension, and ‘emergencies’. It often patches poor communication and masks behavioral detriment to our future selves. It works for a while. But in the end, taking a pill doesn’t fix our issue, it just prolongs the symptoms from affecting us now.
Finding the Real Issue
One of the trickiest parts about true life change is getting to the true heart of the problem. Symptoms are much easier to observe and often we choose to address those rather than spend the time to really fix our problems.
When it comes to couples finance, we often find out that the problem is rarely money. More likely it is a major lack of communication about priorities, expectations, honesty, organization, and control. “Money issues” are just the symptom. You can throw some more money at the situation but it will not fix it, it will only make it less painful for a bit. The problems don’t go away; the can just gets kicked down the road. If you have ever been through a money fight, is it really about the money?
Chronic exhaustion is one of the issues that pervades my peer group and many individuals even on the high end of the income earning prospective. However, this is easily masked with the socially acceptable coping of some ground up caffeine pills and a mug of watery brown liquid. It is hard to get a good night sleep, but it’s easy to drink a few cups of coffee. Examining and addressing the causes of insufficient sleep often infringes on our television habit, poor prioritization, or inability to say No at the right times and places. It’s much easier to take caffeine pills than to get more quality rest.
We have more control than we think. In fact, the first step often involves simply looking in the mirror. We have the abilities to change our bodies, habits, addictions, sleeping patterns, stress, and relationships. In the golden age of the wondrous internet, it is possible to find someone solving their own issues without the use of a pill. Without a quick fix. In fact, there is probably even a book or two written about almost every possible challenge we face. One of my favorites is a book called Power of Less. Less stress, less debt, less weight, less conflict are all basic tenets that would be beneficial to most. What could you use less of in your life?
I Need More Than a Pill
The main issue I have is that I do not want to be dependent on a pill the rest of my life. I need more than a quick fix. I don’t want to live my life filled with patched up holes and band-aids. It can be pretty painful though. Often, once we peel off the band-aids we realize that we patched up some pretty deep wounds that may actually take some time and effort to heal. But it is worth it.
I want to position our family in a place where we are both financially comfortable now, decently protected from risk, and well positioned for the future. I want my body to be as physically healthy as possible so I enjoy the incredible opportunities I have in front of me. This means working consistently to develop healthy eating habits, exercise routines, and regular sleeping patterns. I want to have a strong relationship with my wife, my children, my immediate family and my in-laws. Relational issues are often easy to ignore until the wounds become exposed during crisis. I want to be free from dependency on any type of substance that enters my body if at all possible. I want to be able to have deep conversations with the people I love about difficult issues that induce current conflict but make the relationships stronger in the future.
When it comes to the major issues in my life, I don’t want a band aid. I want the real deal. I don’t want a pill to mask the real issues. Even if it is painful, I need to work through them. I need more than a pill.