Failure is a Debt Needing to Be Paid

No matter your viewpoint on debt, there is one universal truth.


One of my favorite and most repeated lines from the movie Rounders is from the character Teddy KGB.  The Russian mobster says, “Pay him, that man his money.”  Here is the YouTube video.

So how is failure a debt waiting to be paid?  

  • If you have zero debts (failures), you’re taking ZERO chances.
  • Most debts we’re accustomed to are due monthly.  Failure isn’t a one time occurrence.
  • Some debt is good.  It means you own something.  Failure means you’ve taken ownership in your future and learning from experiences.
  • Debts don’t last forever, neither does failure.
  • Failures are investments in your future.  Just like paying down debt.

Debt Reduction and Failure Production

Dave Ramsey is a widely popular financial author, speaker, and radio host.  Dave has a very simple formula for paying down debt with the ultimate goal of living “debt free” as his followers scream on his radio show.  The key to his formula is what Dave calls “The Debt Snowball.”  This could really be summed up as momentum.  Start with small debts and begin paying them off as fast as possible.  With each debt you conquer you gain momentum and habits are formed.


Anyone ever tried creating a failure habit?  Seems almost counter-productive.  What if instead you were interested in the behavior of not being fearful of failure.  This the debt needing to be paid.

The #1 fear I have with growing people is mediocrity.  When a person achieves a small amount of success there is the opportunity to throttle back and settle.  Mediocrity sets in and growth comes to a screeching halt.  Instead consider the alternative.   The debt of potential failure coming due.

Now the achiever has a different outlook on the future.  They continue to challenge, push others, and push themselves.  Does it always work out?  Of course not.  But the learning doesn’t stop either!

ACTION ITEM:  The Debt is due for you this month just as it is for me.