Change is difficult. Most healthy, rational people avoid change, preferring instead the security and safety of what is known. But ironically, change can produce incredible growth, if we respond to it effectively.
With today's economic conditions, we are all experiencing some kind of change, without having made the conscious decision to do so. For most of us, it is in the form of fear that is paralyzing us with panic. Panic makes it difficult to reflect and benefit from change.
Answer this question: When have you experienced the most growth in your life? The answer is probably when you were undergoing tremendous change, accompanied by uncertainty...perhaps when you were much younger.
It's normal to risk more when we're younger, because we don't have that much to lose. If you analyze that statement, you will begin to see the problem: Security and hanging onto what we've acquired becomes paramount for most of us when we're older. We cling to it and cherish it, without ever reflecting on its inherent value to our well-being.
Of course it's irresponsible to take foolish risks. But, you can also make the argument that it is foolish to follow a course of action simply because it promises "early retirement". Are you living to retire? The financial industry has helped convince you that this should be your ultimate goal, no doubt because it's profitable to them to tell you this.
Almost everyone over the age of 30 (even younger if you consider the trickle down effect) is undergoing some kind of change due to the current turmoil the economy has placed on us. Empathizing with people is important, and a period of grief necessary, but if you find them fixated on what they've lost, ask them the following:
"Rate on a scale of 1 - 10 how important your loss is when compared to your basic values (family, friends, community, spirituality...) If it is low on the rating scale, how important or valid is your grief?"
Now ponder that for a day, and I'll follow up with more thoughts to consider tomorrow.
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