The Sky is Always Falling

I am sure you are familiar with the story of Chicken Little and the phrase, "The sky is falling!" In this tale, a chicken has a mistaken belief that the world is coming to an end. Versions of this story have been told for more than 25 centuries. The premise of this tale is an imagined thought based on a perceived notion that the scenario, as in Chicken Little's case, an acorn falling from a tree, signals that the end of the world is coming. And of course, it could be different this time, just as it is has been every other time.

I, by no means, want to downplay the severity of the current circumstances and the real impact it has on the individuals affected. The end of "your" world is no different from the end of the rest of the world.

I am being intentionally vague because events and circumstances will change. But fear, uncertainty, and doubt can always be found.

So what can you do?

1. Turn Off The News

  • News platforms make money selling your attention to advertisers. These platforms must compel you to watch and then their advertisers must convince you to transact. The unfortunate truth is that showing a long-term optimistic outlook on things and preaching, "stay the course" does not tend to attract as much attention to viewers. Therefore, that content doesn’t incentivize advertisers to purchase commercial spots since their intended audience is one with 'problems' so they target and attempt to sell their solutions to viewers. By not indulging in this form of media we can avoid the current issue plaguing the markets and focus on things where we specifically can control the outcome.

2. Confront Your Fears

  • Ask yourself, "What if X event were to happen?" Define the ramifications of this happening. What are the possible scenarios that could take place? Think through the worst-case scenario and the implications of that. This will expose what is behind your fears.

  • Then think of anything you could do to prevent the negative outcome if "X" were to happen. Is there anything you have direct control or influence over? Can you action mitigate the negative outcome?

  • Finally, if "X" takes place, what could you do to repair or fix what happened? Is this something you will be able to recover from or would the event result in a permanent loss?

3. Take Action (or not)

  • Often when we feel we don't have control of a situation we lose our sense of self-efficacy. But if you can determine there are things you can do to have a positive impact, this will help you feel in control. Often times, the best thing to do is nothing. There is often nothing you can do to prevent "X" from happening but understanding this gives you the ability to exhibit courageous inaction.

The sky is always falling disaster is always imminent, there are countless platitudes I could use. In the end, you must try to do what Reinhold Niebuhr said and accept what you can not control, have the courage to change what you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference. No matter what happens you control your attitude in any given circumstance.

By Gage Paul, CFP®, RICP®, EA

Questions? Email us at info@westernreservecm.com

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