One of the elements of a “defining event” in history is that millions of people share some experience in common. Unfortunately, we’re having one of those moments now.
The economic turmoil in the U.S., and around the world, is truly unprecedented. And while it was caused by a very small band of people (a small percentage of borrowers, a small groups of loan agents, a few companies, a few executives), the credit crisis has affected virtually everyone with money.
Whether you’ve lost a few thousand or a few hundred thousand, it can be a depressing situation.
But it’s also a time for some perspective. No matter how bad it is, the economy WILL turn around. House values will return. Stock prices will go up.
When the Dot Com “bubble” burst, many stock portfolios were cut in half. Within five years, we bounced back and went way beyond the levels achieved during the bubble.
It’s hard to be where we are. But economic problems are nothing new. Don’t panic and you’ll be fine.
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The most important thing to focus on in times like this are the people in your life and high value activities.
When the world seems full of all bad news, you have a bit of extra responsibility: You need to be soemone’s ray of sunshine! Seriously. Whether it’s
– your spouse
– your parents,
– your children,
– your co-workers,
– your employees,
– your employers,
– the people at the grocery store,
Everyone you meet today, tomorrow, and the next day has a good reason to be worried about the future.
At the same time, money isn’t everything.
It’s real easy to say that “money isn’t everything” when prosperity abounds and everything seems headed in the right direction. But when things go South, you need to take stock and remind yourself about what’s important.
Central to any human discovery of what’s important is a look at our relationships with other people.
No matter how bad times are, it’s cheap to talk to friends, send Christmas cards, shoot an email to a buddy.
The other important thing to pay attention to is . . .
High Value Activities
I was thinking today about “Christmases past.” When my delightful daughter was three and four and five years old, we used to spend every weekend together. Around Christmas, we’d go look at trees. We’d go to the local lumber yard for this or that. We’d hit Long’s drug store — every weekend. We rarely bought anything at long’s. But Victoria wanted to see the plants, ride the rides, and look at whatever was new.
Those were some serious “high value” activities.
Especially during the holiday season, it’s real easy to capture these high value activities and make some new memories you can keep forever.
Remember your baby’s first Christmas. Remember the look on a face when a special present is unwrapped. Remember playing games with friends and family. Remember getting an email or letter from someone special.
Our lives are filled with human interaction. Positive, negative, and indifferent.
As Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters used to sing: “Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Latch on to the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-Between.”
Many events happen that are outside your control. But you still get to decide how you’ll react to them and interact with others.
Have a great Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!