Are Bad Times Really a Blessing?

This week I’m going to talk about something different… something that will allow you to look at the negative in a completely different light.

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 we can do is watch and be entertained by them.

Right now, you’re hoping for the best as we charge through 2013. You’re hoping that everything will be okay and that you will get more out of this year then you did the last. We want more income security, the value of our home and assets to increase, and to live the good life.

Great.

But what if life is trying to teach us something?  What if you could learn from the bad times and lows in the economy.

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 from blowing each other up. After all, if we’re prepared to fight illegal wars (i.e. a wars 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 great depression, but not in this era. 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?!

Do 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 you a chance to re-evaluate our lives. To take a step back.

Surely we hear all the horrible reports of mass shootings and other crimes on a constant basis. What you don’t often read about is all the good that is done by regular folks all over the country.

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, I’m sure during this recession you’ve seen so many naked bodies you thought you were in a nudist colony!  You can most certainly make your own American Dream, but it can’t be done on a revolving line of credit.

The good news is that regardless of what the media says, the playing field has never been more level than it is right now.  More million dollar businesses are being started at kitchen tables and in basements then in any other time in human history.  The point is you don’t need a lot to make it and live the good life.

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.”

If you’re struggling 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.

Regards,

Mark Patricks


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