Image courtesy of Mugley.
Right now, the news coverage is overloaded with stories about the economy. This is completely understandable, because recently there have been some very interesting developments in the global economy. What’s unfortunate about the media coverage is that the majority of it is focused on trying to “make sense” of the current situation. Sadly, that approach just seems to be causing more and more confusion and panic. Personally, I believe in the concept that one should focus 10% on the problem and 90% on the solution.
Crystal Ball Gazing
We have “experts” looking at the past, comparing it to the current situation and then extrapolating what this will mean for the future. I find this approach very interesting because almost every financial prospectus comes with the fine-print warning that past performance does not predict future results. Just because something happened in the 1930’s does not mean that it is directly relevant to our present-day situation.
Consider the Source
We have “experts” telling us what we absolutely must do in order to “survive”. We are overloaded with advice about the survival of the global economy. We are overloaded with advice about the survival of various national economies. And we are overloaded with advice about the survival of our own personal finances. My question is: Are these different “experts” from the ones that were advising us before these interesting economic developments? To my mind, financial “experts” are in the same league as weather “experts” and that is not meant to be a criticism of either group.
Anchoring Yourself in This Storm
Let me shift your focus for just a second. I want you to think about the three happiest days of your life so far. Take all the time you need to find the three that you would consider the “happiest”. Have you got them?
For me, they would have to be…
- My wedding day
- The days that my kids were born
- April 15, 1994
Now I’d like you to immerse yourself in the feelings of your happy days. Really try to relive them! Remember the people that may have been there with you. Remember the sights, sounds, smells, conversations, and emotions.
Are you there? Are you reliving those happy times? Good! Now… please tell me how much money you had in the bank on each of those days.
My guess is that you probably aren’t able to answer that question with any real certainty.
Our Relationship To Money
Yes, we need a certain amount of money to live. However, we also need to remember some very important facts about life and our relationship to money.
- You are not your bank account
- You are not your credit score
- You are not your mortgage rate
- You are not your retirement savings balance
- You are not the economy
Our Relationship to Life
If we can manage to pull ourselves away from the 7/24 news coverage and spend some quiet, reflective time, my guess is that we will come to realize some important truths about our relationship to life.
- Your life is made up of “the good times” and for the most part, those good times have nothing to do with money
- Your life is made up of the meaningful relationships you have
- Your life is made up of the meaning you give to it and the significance you attach to it
We’ve probably all seen the bumper sticker that says: “He Who Dies With The Most Toys, Wins!” The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, “He” is still dead. It’s not about the toys – it’s about the feelings we have while we’re alive. As my children have taught me again and again: sometimes the best feelings don’t come from the cool toys, but from the cardboard box they came in.
Yes, the economy is doing some very unusual things. Yes, that may end up having an impact on you and your family. But I promise you that you will only feel helpless if you focus on the things over which you have no control. My suggestion is that you use your power of focus to stay anchored in the present moment and to choose your reactions wisely – they make all the difference.
I now return you to round-the-clock coverage of the falling sky, already in progress.