Have you ever looked back at a situation and asked yourself “How did that happen to me?”. I have found myself in more than one of these situations. Our path is filled with traps that we easily fall into if we are not careful. Some of them are unseen but most are avoidable. The problem is that we typically don’t realize we are in a trap until it has cost us something.
Some traps are set intentionally by other people. They work for their benefit. They want to sell you something or use your time. Even in those situations, we have a choice we can make. My experience is that when I find myself in one of these traps I was either not paying attention or I decided I could overcome the odds. There are several of these that I could talk about, but I want to talk about the three most common traps that I have seen.
Spend Too Much
An overwhelming majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Bankruptcies are high. Debt is at a staggering rate. All of these things point to the clear sign that we have fallen into the trap of spending too much. The unfortunate part is that many people are oblivious to this until they are in real trouble. Sometimes we excuse the problem with things we call “emergencies” or “seasons of life” believing that we will get out of it shortly only for the pattern to continue while we get deeper in a hole. We can even go as far as to believe we are “making an investment” when it is just going to break our back with debt that may never pan out the way we hoped. Spending too much can create stress which affects our body and puts tension in our relationships. We can get out of this trap but it can be painful and can often take years. Our best option is to stay aware of our financial situation.
Wait Too Long
The opportunity of a lifetime is only as good as the lifetime of the opportunity. Doors do not stay open forever. Waiting too long is rarely good. There will be the occasional situation when waiting longer provides us some benefit, but in general, it causes us to miss many opportunities. There are a couple of things that cause us to wait too long. Some people are simply procrastinators. They are going to put everything off until the last possible moment. It doesn’t matter if it is something insignificant or extremely important. Their default programming procrastinates. Eventually, this catches up with you and there is always a price to pay. Another thing that impacts waiting is fear. We are afraid. We can be afraid of a number of things. It might be a fear of failure. It could be fear of the unknown. We might even be afraid it will work out. Fear has the ability to paralyze us so that nothing can get done. If you are a procrastinator, it is something you need to work to overcome. If you constantly fight fear, find small ways to succeed until you gain the needed confidence. Don’t allow waiting to become a trap.
Going Too Fast
We live in a world that is enamored with speed. Everything is about how much faster and easier we can make something happen. Now more than ever we have to be aware of the speed with which things are moving. But it is also possible to just go too fast. At certain speeds, we depend on our memory functions. Impulse tends to take over and we do what we can see at the moment. When we are moving too fast we often do not take the time to get wise counsel about the things we are considering. There are only a limited number of things we can consider at high speeds. Sometimes important things get ignored that will cost us in the long run. I tend to lean more to speed than I do to waiting and may even think it is usually better. But know that speed can be a trap and may do more harm than good at times.
Maybe one or more of these have caused you problems. We may fall into a trap from time to time, but we can miss most of them if we are a little more self-aware. Wherever you struggle the most is a great place to start. It is always better to avoid a trap than to have to escape one.