“Take an old man’s word; there’s nothing worse than a muddle in all the world. It is easy to face Death and Fate, and the things that sound so dreadful. It is on my muddles that I look back with horror – on the things that I might have avoided. We can help one another but little. I used to think I could teach young people the whole of life, but I know better now, and all my teaching of George has come down to this: beware of muddle.”
―Mr. Emerson in E.M. Fortster’s “A Room With a View”
It’s one of my favourite quotes. “Beware of muddle”. Words to live by.
How then do we ward off muddle? By making good decisions from the beginning, by not avoiding or taking the easy road when we come to a cross roads.
I find friends who are in a muddle financially tend to compound problems by continuing to use quick fixes such as more credit or consolidating debt on their mortgage and continuing to spend beyond their means. When they should be tightening up the budget and spending less instead of spending more.
There is usually no quick fix to a financial muddle, the best thing to do is regroup make a budget, a plan and learn to live on less. The thing people in a financial muddle seem to have in common is they are waiting for the big pay off, then they’ll be okay. Then they’ll be all caught up. It has been my experience that the big pay off rarely happens (DAMN! Somebody else won the lottery again!).
The slow, steady, consistent build seems to be much more effective. It takes time but one day you look at your savings account and you have money!
In relationships muddle can almost always be attributed to communication. Somewhere there was a miscommunication or somebody is assuming the other person knows something or they are avoiding saying something or they are hiding information. Muddle creates resentment, makes people question trust and starts to build walls. In a relationship, any relationship the best course is to communicate. People aren’t psychic and things in the open can be dealt with, decisions can be made by both people, understanding comes from communication.
Anytime you feel a muddle coming on it’s a good time to step back and look at the big picture. Look at where each decision will take you further down the road not just tomorrow. Might be easier today but will it create more of a muddle later?