Republished © 2006 Stuart Wilde – Note from CJWild: This is a Stuart Wilde article and the views expressed in the text are not necessarily my own.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~ Sir Winston Churchill
Negative thinking is a neurotic pallor that some people paste over their view of life. One tries to commiserate but it’s boring to listen to long-term. It’s also detrimental. There is a real correlation between low expectancy and the flow of abundance in your life. It is so vital to feel good about who you are and what you do have, rather than emotionally disempowering your life and your efforts by focusing on what you don’t have. Negative thinking is mostly a bad habit, a disease of the soul that you can train yourself to go beyond, given time.
Defensive thinking is different in that it is the act of accurately evaluating your position and your circumstances at any given moment in time. In business deals we tend to become mesmerized by a hoped-for profit, we don’t like to look at the possible downside and sometimes greed and the lure of a fast buck traps us in an expensive mess.
If the deal goes wrong and the numbers don’t pan out, if the people you are involved with turn out to be dishonest, or a bit flakey, where is your exit? It is always quick and easy to buy and a lot harder to sell at the same price or a higher price. Defensive thinking is being sure you know where the exit is before you go into anything.
Lawyers have made the western world into a living hell by lying and bending the law to fuel their greed. They act as reptile predators on society, which requires people to take defensive action especially in a court system that can strip you of your life’s savings if the postman trips over your garden gnome. Sadly we have to be more guarded than would be necessary in a fair and loving society. I look forward to the day when there are no more bent lawyers – hasta la shyster, baby.
But in the meantime, you should begin to guard yourself well without becoming neurotic. I’ve always hated insurance but now is not the time to take undue risks. Cover yourself as best you can. The world will change for the worse before it gets better. You may need savings, not necessarily huge amounts but enough to get you through for a few months of any economic set-backs. You might decide to downscale your life, reduce your debts, and get ahead of the game.
Oil is a coming problem. What will you do? You might want to sell your showy gas-guzzler now while you still can and buy something small. Big houses are expensive to heat and if electricity supplies ever become a problem do you have fireplaces and a woodpile?
Being defensive is not negative nor is it buying into the fear, it’s just watching the signs and making sensible choices a long time ahead. For example, if all your savings are in stocks and shares, given the world is at war, and given the budget deficits are going ballistic, wouldn’t it be sensible to put some of your money elsewhere into something safer?
Have some of your money in currency or assets denominated in other currencies and so on. Stay in touch with world news and be aware. People float around half asleep and their level of perception is often childlike in its simplicity; they don’t really understand the very systems they are hoping will support them for life. I feel sorry because many are like lambs to slaughter, they don’t invested in themselves, they have no skills, few resources, and little experience of the world outside a tiny circle of activity that they call daily life. If the systems they rely on breakdown, they will be left high and dry.
It’s good to broaden your mind and take on new ideas and invest in knowledge. It will help you enormously if you improve yourself and you stay aware of what is happening in the world. If you live in America, the news you see on TV is not the news that appears in the foreign media and at overseas news agencies. American news is heavily doctored to spout what the propaganda machine wants you to hear. But with the Internet you can easily stay in touch with a broader perspective. Many foreign papers have English language editions, so you don’t have to be able to read Chinese languages to get the headlines from Beijing.
I check about thirty to forty newspapers and news agencies several times a week, and there are many foreign reporters that are well-known for giving solid, accurate accounts of what is actually happening. It might help you set your mind in the context of a wider, more sophisticated perspective, and it might inspire you to think about your future in a more global way. Maybe your destiny lies elsewhere?
It was E.F. Schumacher, who wrote the classic, Small is Beautiful, who said, “Think globally and act locally.” Now is the time to tame the ego’s demands and to take a more cautious “smaller” approach to life. Invest in yourself and what you know, and skills that you can offer others. There is a storm coming. It’s no big deal if you are awake and yet millions will be wiped of their assets because they stupidly believed and trusted what they saw on local TV, or what the status quo fed them as the party line.
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