It’s a short post this morning, because when I got up today I didn’t start writing. I watched.
(Update: I’ve expanded on this, the day after. It’s not so short anymore.)
I may not be American, or even living in the US, but recent history has shown that their President has the ability to make decisions with far-reaching consequences. Many Australians are still serving overseas because of the decisions made by our last Prime Minister, in response to the actions of their last President. Even the Sub-Prime Mortgage crisis has reached it’s tentacles downunder. So having watched Barack Obama’s victory speech, today I chose to watch his inauguration.
I liked that he was human enough to stumble over a long sentence, shake it off and carry on. (And how come the sentence changed when it was read back to him the second time!?!)
Update: Apparently the pause was after the Chief Justice read it out wrong! Now some people reckon he needs to do it again…
I was pleased that he acknowledged that the world is getting smaller, and that America is not alone – and that actions and consequences often don’t recognise borders either.
Most of all, I was grateful that in discussing the crisis that faced Americans, he discussed not only the statistics, but the ‘sapping loss of confidence’ and the possibility that in reaction people start setting their sights lower.
I’ve said the same thing here, repeatedly. I believe that loss of confidence is the key lynchpin that underlies a recession, and that it’s MORE important to address than any of the symptoms.
Looking Forward Not Back
Mark Joyner has pointed out that a recession by definition is in the past – and you can never know until the quarter’s done whether it was one of decline or incredible growth. The current time can NEVER be known to be a recession, so why act as though it’s guaranteed to be, when bold actions might pull you out of personal hardship and even help start a wider recovery?
There have been recessions before. There probably will be again. Economy-wide, I see it as a form of ‘end-of-season clearance’ where all the companies that haven’t been performing get knocked out, and the economy ends up with the most solid performers for its foundation. Then it can start growing again, with a stable base. That’s a good thing, right?
On a personal level, I know it affects a lot of people, but we’re moving into a new world with a new paradigm. Those who adapt, prosper. Those who don’t, don’t. It’s a wake up call, on many levels. It’s always been true, and no more so than now: what happens to you may not be within your control, but how you react to it, and what you make of it, definitely is.
Are you awake?
The world IS getting smaller. The industrial age, where you signed up to have someone take care of you financially in return for signing your life and labour over to them, is gone. Now you need to accept that nobody else controls your destiny. Not your boss, not your spouse, not even the President. YOU are the driver of your life. You still have the option to sit there with your arms crossed and refuse to touch the wheel or pedals, (to be perfectly honest, there’s a LOT of people that do) but you’ll either end up going nowhere or running off the rails and into a tree that way. That’s why people are panicking. They’re scared that the people who used to control their lives, and finances, are going to drop the ball.
In many cases, they’re right.
Taking Your Control Back
Whether it happens or not, though, now IS the perfect time to join the new paradigm and take up the reins yourself. Become the President of “You, Inc.” (another great book I’ve had for years and re-read a lot. The full title is You, Inc. – Discover the C.E.O. Within! by Burke Hedges). If you have control of your life and finances, then recession or not, you have no need to stress.
You know that it’s not the state of the economy that determines your cashflow, but your own actions.
With the internet, you can tap into other economies online that aren’t in recession. You can offer services that people need even more during tough times (how do you think the debt consolidation, debt recovery and financial counselling industries are going right now, for example?)
Even President Obama’s speech made reference to this. He knows that leadership is NOT about directing lives, but setting an example for others to encourage us to better direct their own – and that’s one of the greatest reasons he’s earnt my respect. To quote from his inauguration speech:
For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of theupon which this nation relies.
Your Own Inauguration
Why not? There’s nothing to say you can’t formalise the process of taking up the Presidency/C.E.O-ship of your own life. Admittedly, it’s always been yours but it’s worth celebrating if you’re only now choosing to exercise it.
I can’t think of a better excuse for a party. Can you?
If all else fails…
Finally, if after all that, in the face of crisis, you’re still absolutely determined NOT to be the person in charge, and to find someone else to hold the reins of your life, you can still do that too. There’s plenty of groups around that will oblige you. We call them “cults”, or in some cases, “organised religion”.
Just remember that if you refuse to set your life direction yourself, you can’t really complain if you don’t like the direction they set for you.