A false sense of security is the only kind there is
It wouldn’t be so bad for him if things weren’t so good. His business, on the ropes eighteen months ago, has recovered and then some. He is fully staffed again and the work is not getting done in timely fashion, so he considers adding more staff. But what if this is a last gasp run prior to another collapse? He is up nights, worrying about making the right moves and, even more, about risking failure again–he’s had enough of that.
This is the story of the moment. Particularly so with established careers and enterprises. “Looking back,” he tells me, “it was easier when we were struggling to get going. We had no downside because we hadn’t gotten off the ground yet. I think building the business was the most fun!”
So the problem is not the work, which we love and are good at. The problem for millions of us is that we’ve attached ourselves to a lifestyle with responsibilities that cannot be met unless our income is maintained. Mortgages, college educations, really just the basics, but what lovely basics!
The sage tells us to lose our attachments and become totally engaged in the discovery of our authentic selves through our work and our relationships, and we say “How do you do that if you can’t pay the bills?” Don’t pay ’em, he says. It’s a liberating experience.
Perish the thought, I say. But I also know that I don’t know what’s best for me. Everything that I cherish has been an unexpected gift that evolved from a life circumstance that I never would have planned for myself.
My suspicion is that, dead ahead, is the best time of our lives. “Lord, that I be tested,” goes the prayer. Coming right up.
“Right now,” says author, mythologist Michael Meade, “the culture is unraveling and nature is being rattled to its core, there is little security in existing institutions, and coherent stories are increasingly hard to find.”
In view of this, he says, “At this point if we’re going to discover the deeper myth of America, I think it may have to come from the older people. And it’s not the freedom of an oversized house and a stock portfolio. That’s simple aggregation. It’s the freedom to live a passionate, imaginative, meaningful life right up to the last moment.”
The question is, if we can’t do this on Boeuf Bourgignion, can we do it on chitlins’ and collards?
We have to get up in the morning and we have to go to work. But we don’t have to be invested in the stock market. “What would it take to change your bearish stance on stocks,” he wants to know?
Extremes, I say. Extreme pessimism, extreme low valuations, extreme and complete liquidation by the public. All of the rallies since 2000, including this most recent one, have been corrective in nature and part of a great top building, which is appropriate for a top of this magnitude. The declines, on the other hand, have been impulsive. As long as this is the condition, making and keeping money in the market will not be possible.
The author makes no representation as to the accuracy of the quoted material, but believes the sources to be reliable. No one should consider any part of this presentation as a recommendation to buy or sell any securities whatsoever.