With the recent collapse of two Wall Street giants, speculation of doom seems to hang in the air especially here in New York City. Between gas prices, politics and financial crisis, it's amazing anyone seems to be able to get on with their day. And my clients are definitely feeling the strain, with the situation affecting their careers and pocketbooks.
In spite of all of this, I want to point out something. Tragedy can be a time of great growth. Our lives, dreams and families don't have to be demolished -- they can instead take flight.
That might sound crazy, and yes, you're right that Wall Street does affect Main Street -- all of our Main Streets. And yes, the economy is all linked together, etc, and it may trickle down. But that does not mean your life is ruined. It could even mean the opposite.
Times of tragedy are times of change. There is nothing inherently wrong with change, but bringing in something new does always mean letting go of something. We associate letting go of something with sadness, and so the situation seems bad.
But all times of change really are, is a reminder that it is natural for life to be in constant flux. Life is not stable, for all of our attempts to make it that way. And accepting that it is natural to need to adapt, to continue to grow, to re-assess, will connect us deeper with what it means to be alive and human. It can even connect us closer together, as we remember we are alive, and we are not so far removed from natural forces of life.
Instead of clinging on to what material things we have, let's instead remember to let go of the fleeting things in life that are never really ours. And hold tight to what matters.
We don't have to be victims of the world and the evening news. We have a choice to do things differently. Each of us are alive and we all have a shot. Why not take it?
You logically know you are not actually sitting still. You know the world is moving. So don't resent this fact. Or get angry at Wall Street. Accept that we are all surfing here, and we need to do our best to be strong enough to ride out the waves -- the easy ones, and the tough ones.
Change happens so gradually most of the time. We don't notice it. Like the turning of the earth or the smooth transition from season to season -- but growth is always there. Sometimes these changes are sudden -- we lose a job. We lose someone we love. And other times, these changes are gradual -- we become unhappy at work. A relationship becomes distant over the years. But that change is always with us. Even when nothing appears to be happening, things are still changing (both inside of us and in the outside world). We never stop growing and the world doesn't either.
It is the nature of life to change -- empires rising and falling, ocean waves swelling and crashing, financial charts increasing and decreasing -- this is the nature of life. We don't need to be victims of nature and the outside world. We don't have to cower with fear as we list the factors we can't control. There will always be things outside of our control. But we are extremely powerful as individuals, once we decide to be. We can choose to make a choice -- our own choice.
The less we cling on to the things we can never really "own," the more free we will be. And the more we take charge of our lives, assess what is there and what is not, see situations for what they are, and keep our dreams in sight, doing what is best for our happiness and that of our families -- doing all of this in the midst of whatever is happening.
Humans have been through terrible times, and Wall Street is not the worst of it. So let's be happy for the strength, intelligence and adaptability we have as people -- and find a way to harness difficulty and turn it into success.
The outside world, as big as it seems, is not as large as the human desire to live happily. And nothing can hold you back from getting what you want if you choose to make it happen, regardless of anything else. If you own it and take responsibility and accept it, both for your own mistakes and the world's, there is a way.
"The caterpillar thought the world had ended, and then he turned into a butterfly..." --anonymous