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Episode 255 - The Pony Mindset for Crushing Your Money Goals

In a world full of challenges and uncertainties, staying positive can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, embracing a positive mindset can be the key to navigating through life's messier moments. This lesson was beautifully illustrated in this episode of the Debt-Free Dad Podcast, hosted by Chris Hawkins. Through his personal anecdotes and motivational stories, Chris shares valuable insights on how to remain optimistic and focused, even when times are tough.  


The Value of Positivity 

Listeners of the Debt-Free Dad Podcast are familiar with its core message: encouraging, educating, motivating, and inspiring individuals to think and act differently. Chris Hawkins emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, not just in financial matters but in everyday life. He acknowledges that while it's natural to experience frustration and stress, the key is to always strive to see the positive side of things.  

A Story from the Past 

One compelling story that Chris shares dates back to December 1993 when he began his journey as a manager trainee for Waffle House. The training program, which included attending "Waffle House University," left a lasting impact on him. Among the several gifts he received during training, a simple, cheap keychain inscribed with the words "Where's the pony?" stood out to him.  

The Pony Story 

The significance of the keychain was explained mid-week through a story often told by former president Ronald Reagan. The tale involved two twin brothers—one a pessimist and the other an optimist. A psychologist conducted an experiment to understand their behavior: the pessimist was placed in a room filled with toys but feared breaking them, while the optimist was put in a room with horse manure and joyfully dug through it, believing a pony had to be inside.  

Finding the Pony 

The underlying message of this story was that negative events will always occur. Employees may not show up for their shifts, and customers might express dissatisfaction. However, success lies in learning from these negative experiences and using them to improve. The pony symbolizes the positive possibilities that can arise from adversity.  

Importance of Physical Reminders 

Chris introduces another anecdote involving his youngest son, who struggled with negative emotions due to unkind remarks from peers. A therapist advised him to wear a necklace with a small rubber duck, reminding him of the phrase, "It's water on a duck's back," encouraging him to let negative comments roll off without affecting his disposition.  

The Next Play Mindset 

Drawing from the world of sports, Chris shares wisdom from an NFL coach who taught his players to focus on the next play rather than dwelling on past mistakes. This approach emphasizes the importance of forward-thinking and staying positive about future opportunities instead of being hindered by past errors.  


Ultimately, negative experiences are an inevitable part of life, including in one’s financial journey. Chris Hawkins encourages giving oneself grace and adopting the mantra, "It's water off a duck's back." By doing so, individuals can shift their focus from past setbacks to future possibilities, always asking themselves, "Where's the pony?" This mindset not only fosters resilience but also opens the door to endless potential and success. In summary, staying positive and looking for the "pony" in every situation can transform challenges into opportunities for growth and improvement. This powerful message from the Debt-Free Dad Podcast serves as a timeless reminder for us all. 

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