1/15/2009

Self Reliance

I do a lot of reading about world affairs and the events confronting people. Naturally, the economic chaos is at the top of everyone's list. We are seeing something that never took place in our history. The peril we are confronted with shows us how precarious things really are. Even when we think we are safe, we truly are not.

One benefit to massive upheaval is that lessons are everywhere for one to learn from. We are seeing what happens when people spend too much while living beyond their means. The Western world became a consumerism society with people looking for the next "toy". At the same time, they had little regard of how to pay for it. The concept of easy credit is imprinted on our psyches.

A few months back, that bubble burst. We see where all this lack of accountability gets us. This culture is possessed with the idea of doing little (or nothing) and gaining a lot. Now, when things go bad, people are looking to place the blame.

Naturally, there is a complex web of societal issues that got us to where we are. Nevertheless, at the core of each of these problems is a lack of responsibility. Regardless of who you look to blame, the simple fact is that your plight was created by you. If you took the initiative to take control of your own life, you would not be in this mess. Sadly, that was not the prescribed method to success.

Many came to rely upon others for their achievements. A fair portion of the population became government cronies, believing the government would take care of them. Oops. That did not exactly work out. At the same time, some felt their companies would provide. It only takes one pink slip to negate this notion. Still others put their life savings into investments without knowing what they were getting into only to lose it all. Now, they are forced to sue to try to recoup money which is long gone.

This was the common thread through the American mentality. Everyone seems to feel that a big screen television is their right. Of course, it is hard to fault anyone when the government took the position that home ownership is something that everyone has a right to. The truth is that after life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the rest is up to you. Those who fail to heed this idea will eventually pay the price.

I am not trying to ring a patriotic mantra here. The point that I am making is that personal responsibility is the key to all success and happiness. Those who give that power away are always disappointed. They believe in the safe route only to find that it was not so safe. The only true path to safety is freedom and that comes only when one is responsible for him or herself.

This is a claim which is terribly unpopular. However, if you look at the events that are taking place, you will see the validity in this idea. How many people are dependent or will come to rely upon Social Security? With the retirement of an estimated 50 million baby boomers over the next decade, it is clear that is going to be a healthy number. Yet, we know that the Social Security fund is empty. At the same time, there is a government spending unheard of amounts of money to rescue this economy. While their plans might work, it will leave us with a horrific debt load. What happens if the US Government goes broke? These people will not receive their Social Security. They will be let down.

The only true way to be in control of your life is to take responsibility for it. No matter what the arena, it is crucial that you direct the situations. Financially, it is your money. Therefore, it is up to you to learn about investing so that you have some idea when you are talking with a financial planner. Take responsibility for your career by learning all you can about what you do. Improving your skills is one of the best measures against being laid off. Make yourself so valuable so that your company cannot let you go. The same is true for your romantic relationship. Put in all the effort necessary to make it the most prized relationship that you both have.

Personal responsibility is the idea that is going to fix your life. It is also the concept which will pull this country out of the mess it is in. Start the process by being accountable yourself.
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1 comment:

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

As I've said before, this really pushes my buttons every time I hear you say stuff like this. My family and I all work full time jobs plus we run several side businesses for extra income.

We manage our debt well, spend sensibly, give generously to charity, have a qualified financial planner, live in a reasonably priced house, and are working hard to save for retirement while meeting daily expenses and putting kids through school.

Yet we are taking huge losses that we couldn't reasonably have expected or done anything to prevent. How is that our fault? What could we have done differently?

As I see it, the only thing we could have done differently was to not elect Bush as our President and as a registered Democrat, believe me, I did my darndest!

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