Hope: Vitally important

This is an idea that most of us take for granted yet it is something that is as important to humans as oxygen. Where there is hope there is life. And, without hope, there is death. I suppose this was true even at the beginning of our existence.

Presently, we are in a difficult environment. The financial markets collapsed wiping out entire life savings. At the same time, unemployment is rising thus spreading fear in the souls of those who are still employed. Economic catastrophe is coming to many in the form of foreclosures, credit card default, or poor investment returns. Overall, the state of affairs are dismal.

Hope is going to be a large factor in determining those who crumble versus those who persevere. Keeping this outlook will enable all of us to get through whatever life is going to serve up the next few years. Sadly, many will opt to look at things differently ensuring tragic results. We got a glimpse of what is ahead by the actions of a few of those who invested with Madoff. To them, walking in front of a train or eating a bullet seemed like sensible solutions. Hope left them.

I am here to tell you that all is not bad. In fact, I believe that this period of time is a blessing for all of us. While I am not going to downplay the severity of the world economy, I will claim that there is a benefit to what we are experiencing. Overall, we will be better off in the future.

Those of you who regularly read my column here know that I am a fan of getting the most out of each circumstance. Pain is a wonderful asset in the area of personal development. It is my experience that people will not alter their behavior until they have had enough pain. This appears to be true both individually and collectively. For us to change, we need to endure some pain.

We are experiencing a major correction in our lives. Almost everyone, made choices which put themselves in a poor situation. We opted to spent excessively (both as individuals and as a nation). Debt was accumulated without a thought of how to pay it back. Also, people were complacent with their education/learning. Instead of garnering additional skills which would increase one's value, we chose to watch Jeopardy each night. In short, we became "soft".

As I mentioned, there is plenty of hope. We will be stronger for going through this experience. To me, the most important aspect is for each of us to learn the lesson necessary to be in a different position in the future. At the same time, there are many opportunities to improve your circumstances. The stock market is really cheap right now. There are valuable companies offered at bargain basement prices if you are able to wait a few years for things to turn. Some people are going to make a lot of money when the stock market rebounds. Will it be you?

My point is that the media offers the "doom and gloom" as a way to get viewers/readers. Do not listen to what they are saying. Are things difficult now? Certainly. However, there are opportunities available to those who are seeking them. After all, a small company called Hewlett-Packard was started during the Great Depression.

There is hope for all of us who choose to hold on to it.
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