A Blessing in Disguise

I’m tired of being the messenger of bad news, so this week I’m going to talk about something different… something positive!

Hey, it wasn’t me who burned the economy by allowing banks to leverage their assets by 30:1, I’m just the spectator trying to make my way through the aftermath. Politicians and economists are clowns in a circus- all I can do is watch and be entertained by them.

Right now, you’re hoping for the best. You’re hoping that everything will be okay soon and your lifestyle will return to normal. You’ll have income security, the value of your home and assets restored and life will get back to normal.

Great.

But what if life is trying to teach us something?

A wise man once told me that whenever you feel life pushing you around, don’t get upset; it’s trying to give you a lesson… to make you a better and happier person.

It’s one thing to learn from our mistakes, but there’s something even more special about seeing an inner message in those mistakes…

What I’m saying is: instead of stressing about your lifestyle being threatened, perhaps the greater lesson is that your lifestyle was flawed in the first place.

We as a people lost our way long ago. For many, hardship has become not being able to show off the latest Chanel purse, or not being able to trade up to a house with the same square footage as your buddy’s or not having the newest cell phone.

As a society, we got addicted to ‘stuff’. Material possessions. The world grew to count on Americans as the chumps of last resort to sell crap to. China’s economy was built on the fact. All the time Americans use credit cards in shopping malls, the world continued to turn.

Life is teaching the brief inhabitants of the third rock from the sun a lesson. Maybe it’s to stop us blowing each other up. After all, if we’re prepared to fight an illegal war (i.e. a war that the U.N. did not sanction) to keep gas prices down so we can drive ludicrous gas-guzzlers, it’s fair to argue something needed to change. On a side note, I don’t care what car you drive, just don’t bitch about gas prices if you drive a Suburban! And no, I don’t drive a Prius.

Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe it’s threatened (and you usually won’t know it’s threatened until you’re actually fired).

What’s the worst that can happen? Will you starve?

Maybe in the last depression, but not this one. If you and your loved ones have shelter, food and water you’re in better shape than a lot of the world.

And did/do you actually enjoy that job anyway?!

Did you need a certain level of salary just so you could live in the good part of the town where your job was? Well guess what, now you don’t need to live in that town! In fact, you may not even want to live in a town at all. Now you can move somewhere you’ve always wanted to.

Life is giving us a chance to re-evaluate our lives. To take a step back.

Many are saying crime will now rise and I don’t doubt it will and the media will enjoy reporting this. What you won’t read is the GOOD that will come out of this; community spirit will strengthen…

A person’s true colors come out in a crisis. Some yes, will turn to the dark side, but you’ll also see the better side of human nature. Life is making us connect with each other once again; we’ve not only lost touch with what life’s all about, we’ve lost touch with each other.

A long period of prosperity as we had until recently can actually be very stressful. People feel pressured to get indebted just to keep up with everyone else.

I for one try to maintain a reasonably modest lifestyle, though towards the end of the boom I succumbed to certain pressures to keep up with the Jones’s. But the Jones’s lifestyle was a big façade…

As the saying goes, “When the tide goes out, you see who’s been swimming naked.”

Well, you’re about to see so many naked bodies you’ll think you’re in a nudist colony! As the savage process of de-leveraging goes on, the people who had the American Dream on revolving credit will be forced to give it all up.

The good news is we’re all on a level playing field again. No facades, the tide has gone out. No more BS.

In other words, peoples’ egos got ahead of them and now they’re being made to reel it back in. Again, life’s lesson. Interesting to note that Buddhists constantly teach a person to let go of the ego as it’s a path to destruction.

I know there’s all those toys, but take it from someone who’s been there and done it, toys don’t fill the soul. And they make you a lot poorer!

If you’ve been sucked too far in to the ‘game’, I don’t doubt your family missed you. Their Mom and/or Dad were gone for a while there, but now they’re back- physically and mentally… THAT IS, if you can let go and basically get off the merry go round and OPT OUT of the race with the Jones’s. Re-evaluate what you actually need and want from life.

As Jesse Jackson once said, “Your children need your presence, not your presents.”

Yes, this is an ugly recession that will get uglier. You may or may not lose your job or business. But this will pass, just like it always has and I’ll be guiding you every step of the way to not just survive, but also to prosper.

But just take a moment to wonder if this isn’t a blessing in disguise. Maybe life’s giving you a second chance or giving you time-out to regroup and reconnect. Maybe the thing you feel you’re clinging on to by the fingernails right now isn’t worth clinging to.

“Failing” is a subjective word.

Until next time,

Kevin Raymond


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