Taking A Long Term View in Tough Economic Times

December 9, 2008 by  
Filed under blog

“It is hard to maintain vitality when you are always hungry”.
– Aristotle Onassis

A question that people ask is how to follow passion for living when you are barely making a living. When things are difficult and you’re hanging on just to survive. Now the economy around the world is in turmoil. You could argue that it’s just about impossible to find passion in life, especially if you were already struggling. It’s true that it’s much more difficult to live in the present or have passion for life if you’re worried about basic human needs.

One way I approach difficulties is through mindset. I look at situations relatively. There are families in our country who are in tough situations right now. For example: a husband and wife with two kids, no savings, who are behind on their rent payments. Then the husband loses his job and they wonder how they will make it.

However, he has freedom, which is an enormous advantage. While this situation is difficult you can look at it in a different way – a different mindset. For example, he can think of the situation in relation to people who live in a place where freedom is not part of their lives. This man has freedom to look for a job. He can persistently look until he finds one. He doesn’t have to worry about his own safety, or the safety of his family. He has the freedom to look for a job without fear of being killed or a bomb going off when he leaves his home. Safety is freedom.

My advice when going through these things is to keep asking and asking (for a job). Keep looking for what you need. In the meantime do whatever it takes to spend less than you earn. And build up a savings. This is one of the biggest secrets of building real wealth.

As for me, I’m not particularly concerned about the economic situation. I take the long-term view, the long term perspective. Federal Chairman Bernake said that this downturn is not unusual, just more extreme. It will take time to work our way through, just like it takes time for individuals in crisis to make changes that ultimately turn things around.

How I see it is this economic climate is that it’s the biggest wake-up call in 75 years. I’m more afraid things will rebound much too quickly. Why? Because if things get better too fast things will get better and we’ll forget the lessons we’re learning.

Many confuse needs and wants. Over time, we return to going after what we want. We’ll go into debt for it. Greed will replace fear and we’ll repeat the past.


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