Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Radical Action 101

Now that everyone is in quasi-panic mode over the cost of gas, the cost of food, the War in Iraq, the climate, the job outlook, et al., it's time to take radical action. Here's some ideas:

  • Shut off the media (TV, radio news, XM, etc). The media can manipulate and influence the public with alarming speed and results. Remember HG Wells' Alien Invasion? Well, you may not, but it had such an incredible impact on Americans that it is still related in stories today. Nearly every day you can tune into the news and see how an off-handed comment can spur the public into action. Obama said this and the blogosphere is on fire! Gas prices will shoot up next weekend and there are lines at the local gas station within the half hour! A lone Arab man in New York did that and immediately all Arabs are suspect! Scary huh? I tend to like the news but after about five minutes to catch anything of immediate importance, I shut it off. Listening to doom and gloom tends to have a negative impact on my psyche which is really quite unnecessary. And since I tend to avoid following the crowd, I would rather not be told ad nauseum what "the crowd" would, should, or could do.
  • Look at situations logically. Yes I remember fondly double digit gas prices but if I look at the Starbucks latte in my hand and make a quick calculation, I will find that a 12 ounce latte costs $3, there are 128 ounces in a gallon, if I was filling my car's gas tank up with lattes it would cost $31.98 per gallon! So people will rebel, protest, and whine about the price of a gallon of gas, even take the bus to make a point about gas prices...all the while drinking their morning latte. Um...yeah...right.
  • Look at your situation. Just because one group of people is being laid off, some commodity prices are going up, and people aren't paying their bills, does that mean that all of these things will have a major impact on you? If you are a nurse (a secure job not likely to be cut), have a wheat allergy (so it wouldn't matter to you if the cost of wheat triples), have a massive garden because that's how you relax (provides some immunity to price fluctuations and improves your health to boot), have a mortgage payment that is incredibly low, no debts, and well diversified investments (you are pretty secure for the foreseeable financial future), and are basically happy with your life, then you can spend your time doing things to help your future situation instead of panicking because "everyone" is suffering. People are still buying Rolexes, cruise ships are still full of vacationers...each person's situation is different. What's important here is evaluating your own situation and making changes if necessary, not just because, as I said before, everyone else is hoarding/going bankrupt/losing their job.
  • Focus on basic preparedness. I heard a guy speak on preparedness a couple weeks ago and he made a lot of sense. Everyone is focusing their preparedness efforts, writing plans, and stockpiling for a variety of specific disasters (pandemic influenza, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc) yet it makes more sense to be prepared in general. You need to protect your core assets (people, information, equipment, and facilities) no matter what happens. Do you have a basic plan to protect yourself and your family no matter what? Do you have a plan to protect your home no matter what? Can you protect your health no matter what? For example, whether an earthquake, fire, pandemic, or financial implosion happens, you need to protect you home. How do you do this? Ensure that you have adequate and complete insurance, and take basic steps to secure your home from fire, intruders, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Have a mortgage that you can easily pay each month, pay down your mortgage as quickly as possible, and have a year's worth of mortgage payments in the bank in case you can't earn an income for a while. These are just basic steps that can carry you through a variety of bad situations.
  • Take action--the more unusual the better (because you will be doing something the crowd isn't doing...you know how they hate unusual...). If you need to pay off your debts in a hurry, get five jobs. Sure you may be tired for a short while but you will increase your income exponentially and quickly. One guy was in the news a few years back because he worked overtime for two years straight, he got rid of his apartment and lived in his truck in the factory parking lot (he was never there anyway because he was working so much), he saved all of his paychecks, then paid cash for a house! Another family was in the news because they took radical action to get out of car debt. They got rid of their cars and everyone in the family rode bikes, walked, took public transit, or on rare occasions, took a cab to get to where they needed to go. The result? They saved lots of money (no car payment, no car insurance payment, and no car upkeep costs), lost lots of weight (all of that walking and biking will do that to you), and they realized that just because "everybody" says you need a car, you really don't.
  • Check your usual response. If your usual response isn't working for you, then stop. If someone suggests walking to work instead of driving, do you usually have a half dozen reasons why that would be impossible? Next time, check your usual response at the door and come up with a half dozen reasons why something you previously though impossible may actually be possible. Always consider how you can make something happen, not reasons why you can't do something. If your usual response is a tepid, "um, maybe not", do a 180 change and answer with a burst of enthusiasm, excitement, ideas, and most importantly actions that will not only get you to where you want to be but catapult you far beyond your target.

1 comment:

  1. Very good insights. Your points lead one to think of running away from the herd, or at least paralleling it without getting caught in the stampede. The comparison of gas and Starbucks was priceless. When put in perspective, many of our concerns aren't worthy of complaint, are they? And with those worries off my mind, I now have time and brain power for many other issues. Thanks for a great site. I'm surprised you don't have thousands of comments per day, but take heart, you are doing excellent work.