Unprecedented Times: This is Unprecedented!
(But, isn’t it Always?)
Week four of isolation is upon the Rosen household. (I’m pretty sure my children are preparing an attack on my wife and I while we sleep.)
Also, a quick update: my facial hair experiment has come to an end. I fought the good fight, but the distaste my wife had at my sad, little beard was enough to bid it farewell.
Now on to this week’s topic. These times are unprecedented. Whenever I speak to clients, I consistently hear them say something like this: Never in the country’s history have we seen something like this. The country is literally shut down. These are unprecedented times.
I get the sentiment and totally understand. It is scary, like any uncertain times. However, how many times was there a financial crisis that you can remember (like 2008 where the entire backbone to our financial system was crushed)? What about a tech bubble, or 9/11?
What makes these events so unique is that they’re always unprecedented. These “black swan” events are filled with unknowns and there is no playbook for how to get through them. We all learn on the job to some degree and are stuck playing spectator.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. We can look back as long as any of us have been around and point to an analogous situation. My point is that there always will be uncertain times. Take solace in that fact. Don’t focus on the immediate uncertainty, but take comfort in knowing that all these events have a uniqueness in common. Hopefully that thought and perspective can help reframe the narrative a bit.
It’s time to shift to more logical thinking. The focus should always be on what we do know.
1st- Like every past example, we simply got through it. It will take time and patience, but we will get back to normal. Restaurants will open again. You’ll get to see your favorite sports team play live again, and YES; KIDS WILL GO BACK TO SCHOOL (JUST NOT THIS YEAR).
2nd– The human race is incredible at problem-solving and adapting. Just think about the last time you were going through something that filled you with dread. What happened? Was it as bad as you thought? Did you get through it somehow? I know for me, that was always the case. I saw a problem and worked through it. Granted, this is a bigger problem than what most of us have handled on our own, but the outcome will be the same.
3rd – We’re all going through it together. That includes our Federal Reserve and our government. They’ll continue to go through measures to provide a stop gap. In addition, they’ll be very motivated to do whatever it takes to get our economy going again. Remember, last time this happened we saw the longest bull market of all time.
4th – In the words of the late George Michael, “You got to have faith.” Faith is a strong and powerful thing. It provides hope when we can’t seem to find it. Also, faith comes in a lot of flavors—in a higher power, in yourself, and in mankind to name a few. Life has a funny way of working out and sometimes, you might as well let faith guide you along the way.
A precedent for the unprecedented.
I hope this helps provide a reminder and keeps things in perspective. These moments can be and usually are scary, but that doesn’t make them unique. The beginning always seems to be different, but the outcome is always the same. We get through these things and grow stronger together. Be safe and stay healthy!