The 24-Hour Rule

Thumbs DownI used to be a sucker for almost any opportunity that came my way. I would say yes to almost anything, so long as it meant the opportunity to make money fast.

Unfortunately, this behavior caused me to spend a lot of money I should never have spent. I usually used my credit card. I would then justify my purchases by thinking of them as “investments.” Surely I would be able to repay the debt out of the profits of the new venture!

These opportunities never panned out as quickly as I had hoped… if they panned out at all. In the end, I was left with a lot of unsecured debt, which had to be repaid out of my wages.

After making a particularly bad financial decision in 2003, I sat down and wrote some notes. At the top of the page I wrote: “What Ryan has learned about himself.”

I then proceeded to list eight different observations in the third person. Numbers one and eight were essentially the same. I have reproduced them here for your benefit.

Ryan should always think about his decisions for at least 24 hours. He should never make a decision while he’s in the “heat of the moment.” [Therefore], Ryan will never make a positive (yes) decision about any opportunity until at least 24 hours after an opportunity has been presented.

This 24-hour rule effectively forced me to stop saying yes to everything and allow some time for reflection. It must have worked. Shortly thereafter I got serious about copywriting and began the journey to where I am today.

I think a lot of debt-troubled people are just like me. They want so badly to escape their circumstances that they’re too willing to open their wallets any time they get an “opportunity” to make more money.

This is why I recommend you institute a 24-hour rule in your own life. Maybe it needs to be 48 hours or longer. I don’t know.

I do know this: If you’re the type who spends a lot of money on opportunities and “get rich quick” deals, then you need to get control of your spending. You need a time buffer to protect you from fast-and-foolish decisions. Furthermore, this could be the first step you need to take on your personal debt reduction journey.

Do you think a 24-hour rule would help you to become a better steward of your money? Have you already imposed such a rule on yourself? Leave a comment and let me know. Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “The 24-Hour Rule”

  1. Hi Ryan, if I can make an unsolicited suggestion.. :)

    Lose the pop-up that I got the first time I came in here – it was very annoying!

    Good post!


  2. Hi Mike – Yeah, that’s been on my list of things to do for a while. It will probably happen this week. I had my brother set up my blog a while back, and I haven’t made many changes since.

  3. Mike – I’ve updated to the latest version of WordPress, installed a new theme, and got rid of the pop-up. Let me know how you like the new look.

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