Saturday, October 11, 2008

Next Step? Don't Panic!

World financial markets are in turmoil. The economic future is uncertain to say the least. Our "leaders" seem clueless. What do we do? Well, first and foremost recognize that your biggest enemy is fear. Fear leads to panic and anxiety. Panic and anxiety lead to poor decisions. If you must be emotional, trade your fear for anger. Anger can at least lead to justice. Justice good. Panic bad.

How do you get past the fear and anxiety? One effective technique is to imagine the worst case scenario and accept it as a real possibility. Then, recognize that if that scenario comes to pass, you will deal with it. Work to avoid it, but don't fear it. The best you can do is the best you can do. Success tastes much sweeter when you're well aware that failure is distinct possibility.

The world economy has been fueled largely by money that didn't really exist. That reality is hitting home right now. Governments are trying to perpetuate the fraud, and they'll be somewhat successful among the companies that they view as important. Most of us don't fit the bill. We'll be left to fend for ourselves. This may make you angry, and at some point lead to calls for justice, but the truth is, fending for ourselves is what we should be doing. It would just be nicer if it applied from top to bottom.

There's only one real way to right this situation. Come up with a viable plan to pay your debts. If it can't be done, file the bankruptcy and get the fairy tale off everyone's books so we can get back to dealing with reality. There's no shame in trying and failing, only in not trying. Failure is not the end, it's a new beginning. Your real assets can never be taken away from you. Those are: the wisdom that comes from knowledge and experience, the imagination that leads to new ideas, the drive to do better and the courage to play hurt.

Now for the good news. This is not 1929. Individuals have access to more information and communication than at any time in history, by a long shot. You can choose to sit and wait for the government to save you and make you feel secure, or you can look around at the needs and wants of your family, friends, neighbors and associates and spot opportunity. Capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit are not dependent on government. They are personal. You choose whether or not to practice them regardless of what the government does. They may change the rules and throw you some curve balls, but they can't stop you from playing.

Don't look back in despair. Don't look forward in fear. Right your ship. Get your bearings and get on with the journey. Whatever your destination, strive to enjoy the ride.

No comments: