Zero Debt

When you read the title of this post I bet your mind immediately thought about money. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you but this post is not at all about money. It is about another form of debt, one that subtly creeps into our lives and creates must-do situations. Can you think of what it might be? Let’s start with the definition:

something owed; a state of owing

See, that definition doesn’t say anything about money. Debt is a state of mind, created when you feel like you owe something to someone or something. Owe as in you are obligated, there is no other choice. When we start to think about debt that way you can see how you can fall deeper into debt in any area, no credit card required.

brain-tiredI ran across an article, Busyness is a Kind of Debt. The article wasn’t what I expected but I do like the title so I want to reframe the conversation in terms of what my expectations were after I read the title. We sign ourselves up for things all time, sometimes weeks or even months in advance. We’re optimistic that we’ll have time and we over commit. The act of “signing up for something” makes us feel important or special or part of something or whatever we like to call it. Commitments are debt that creates busyness. Busyness is a kind of debt. And we all know the toll financial debt can have on you: it makes you feel overwhelmed, you stress out about it, you have to spend time and energy figuring out how we’re going to deal with it or make it work, along with a host of other emotions!

The goal of this article is not to convince you to stop committing to things or to stop you from taking on more debt. in the case of busy debt, just like when it comes to money, the maximum level you can tolerate is up to you and only you; but, unfortunately there is no bank or other entity setting a limit for you, in other words you can easily go over the limit, your limit. Yes, you can take on as much or as little debt as you want. When we think of debt in the financial sense, we know what to do when it gets to be too much: we stop using our credit cards, we cut we them up, give them to a friend to hold onto or we might even freeze them; but, what happens when you get overwhelmed with busyness? Do you know what to do? Maybe you get tired and just need some down time. What do you do when you find yourself with a string of debt affording you zero time to relax, recharge or rejuvenate. How about we freeze our busyness every now and again, get our debt level back to zero???

Take a few moments to think about the debt you create in your life. And maybe the next time we’re presented with a debt-creating/inducing situation or opportunity 🤔, we can all practice saying, “Let me get back to you on that.” Check your tank first, then decide.

The Zero Marginal Cost Society

UnknownI recently shared a snippet about the sharing economy. While it may be good for consumers, Economist Jeremy Rifkin thinks, “the sharing economy is in the process of eclipsing capitalism, part of a trend towards products becoming essentially free.” Rifkin concludes that, “by 2050, [sharing] will likely settle in as the primary arbiter of economic life in most of the world.” (FastCompany)

His book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society, explains that Zero marginal cost (ZMC) can happen when consumers have the power to make their own products, becoming “prosumers.” Or, when consumers can share products for free, as with house- and car-sharing sites.”

Are you a prosumer? Have you noticed any shifts in your behavior to buy less? Do you trade items more often than you have in the past? If you’re into this sort of thing, check out the Rifkin’s book review at GoodReads or take the plunge and starting reading it on your Kindle.