When Pressed to Act, Wait
Thursday, March 5, 2020
It’s gearing up to be a busy few months. With some of the staff moving around and the busy season and spring not too far ahead (Daylight Savings Time for some of you) we wanted to point out some quick tidbits of what’s been happening in the world around us.
There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty due to worry about spread of illness. Part of it may be overdone by reporting and media. Some of it may be warranted and a good cause to just have precaution as the already vulnerable or elderly or people at most risk may have easily catch this illness. However if you think about the grand scheme of history humans have been able to survive plagues, disasters and many natural disasters. There are many far more concerning illnesses that would have been at first glance more worrisome like bubonic plague, rabies, ebola and other things of that nature. Yet it is good that many agencies are trying to stop the further spread of this and nip it in the bud.
Secondly there’s a lot of fluctuation out there in people that have funds in 401k’s and other assets. Even safe places like bonds, certain commodities like oils and metals have been a bit topsy turvy or a bit more slightly volatile than usual. New assets like crypto have also been hard to call on whether they are reliable. The best recommended practice is in this case to diversify. To stock up. Right now with assets dropping to lower prices is the best time to stock up. (Perhaps the coinciding of the stock drop with this pandemic-like fear is actually a red herring for digital asset halving buying or other hidden financial moves) We know some people have even been wanting to buy real world items like stocking up at the grocery stores and making a run (which is what this article will get to shortly). As Kevin O’Leary has said: Diversification is the only free lunch you will ever get in investing and right now it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have various investment assets as well as cash. One item that struck me as a writer while on the way to work this morning was a radio snippet from NPR from Marketplace Morning Report about culture identity and differences. As we’re all worried about various contagions from various parts of the world we’re also learning that those people have been resilient and also culturally brought up to save. While those in the Western world may not have been brought up with the community sharing culture that is in Eastern cultures. Some examples:
- Often those in Eastern cultures will pool together resources or relatives and neighbors will come together in times of scarcity or need to get through tough times. Compare this to American culture where we’re taught to be independent as quick as possible and push them into the world at young ages of 18 or so.
- Also it’s not uncommon to see savings from pay at 20% or higher, whereas consumerism and spending and lavish living is sometimes pushed in Western cultures. You see Black Friday and massive sales and ads that tell you to keep buying things and eat more food. More often people maybe be frugal when living abroad. And even in Western culture you see people living pay check to paycheck although it is likely a global phenomenon. Thus the radio program said that the lowest income overseas likely would fare better in a crisis versus their US counterparts.
- Also you might see certain news stations use very big splashy headlines like: “Breaking News” or “Emergency” or use grim dramatic music to get you to fear and bite into more headlines. You are the consumer and they want to sell you more of their programming aand keep coming back to learn more. The more you watch. The more you fear or have a grim view of the world around you. Notice how there’s only one “human interest” story in the 30 minute news slots to lighten the mood at the end of the news cast and often they are not really news just something one of the reporters likely picked as personally interesting.
A more important concerning thing is just to be aware. And so this part is the PSA of the news article: When you see big news or splashy news, be careful and take things with a grain of salt.
You remember there was a big news headline a few months about students attending a rally and were intercepted by various cultural heritage groups and it was thought they were blocking a path due to “political reasons”. Well we must not be quick to jump to conclusions and also not quick to be gullible and also not quick to get ahead in our own endeavors that we fail to listen and see what’s going around us.
In the aftermath of Katrina and other various news like Y2K and other world events there is always going to have some bad operators come out of the woodwork. And that’s the phishers, the scammers, the fraudsters and people taking advantage of good people that aren’t knowing any better or clueless. They prey on people’s fear and jack up prices or send emails to try to get you to sign up for their click bait. Now, while some may debate this is consumerism and capitalism and all is fair in love and war, there may be limits to tasteful capitalism in extenuating circumstances. However this is human nature as we see in apocalyptic movies such as various zombie movies that humans exhibit various extremes of behavior when pushed to extremes such as lust, greed, envy, hate and also altruistic sacrifice. See Dawn of the Dead for some examples of this, but don’t watch too many movies like this as it will mess with your mind for some.
They’ve been recommending on stockpiling, going to malls to get masks and other supplies like sanitizer. But people have been doing this for years. They’ve been doing it before winter storms, before floods, before stock crash announcements etc. What people think about gets reinforced and stronger the more people talk about it so we should only give it power of thought and expression if necessary.
It has been said in great martial arts movies the one that flinches first loses. And everyone knows the one that started the big martial arts era in Western films is owed to a Mr. B. Lee. In fact there’s a scene from the movie that inspired a mentor to say once that: when one is stressed and confused and frustrated and can’t find a solution, to sit down. That’s it. Sit down, take a rest. You can keep punching and kicking and attacking walls and wasting valuable energy or you can stop and use your best resource which is your brain and let that take the bulk of your energy. Stop. Meditate. Think and don’t act. Sleep on it if you have to. Phishing and scammers want you to act, panic, fear. They want you to click on the emails and open it up and take action as soon as possible, to pay up, to run out and but as much as you can and in bulk. They profit. You lose.
Another good example is in the cartoon “Justice League”. In the episode “A Better World. Animated Series: Justice League”, Batman of the future meets Batman of the past and he realizes that he can’t beat his future self because his future self has already had every thought his past self has had. All he can do is sit back and hope for some other plan.. which luckily his hero friends do. Sometimes when you are trapped or pinned, as a former martial arts instructor has said you need to use a better creative strategy because “maybe it’s your opponent’s intent to wear you out as you struggle and think you’re getting the upper hand with all your motion and all the noise you’re making”. Another example is in a fight in The Watchmen with Ozymandias vs The Comedian where the young Ozymandias admits he was gauging The Comedian’s actions to learn his moves.
Sure sometimes there are times when panic and fear can be your best resource. If you’re an athlete, maybe an actor, you might be nervous or fear at first and sometimes it’s adrenaline and it can at first help you be alert. Or let’s say you see a car coming, fear can give you that rush to get out faster. People have natural default actions or reactions to all stimuli. It may be:
- Flop / Faint
This is taken from various psychology websites. We all know what fight is. If someone yells at you, you might be inclined to take a swing at them. As Mac from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest some people just like to Fight… some people like to F***.
Flight may be to run away which is also a good response. If you have an invader enter your home or place of work they say to run or hide first before resorting to fighting, but of course it all depends on circumstances. You cannot just resort to the default for every circumstance.
Freeze may be a bad reaction for some. And you need to recognize this so you can train and drill yourself out of this reaction or have someone recognize the situation and get you out of that. It’s that deer in headlights reaction which can end up with you getting smashed if a car approaches or you having other problems in the event of a threat or house fire etc. Training and practice can help, but not completely eliminate it if you can’t overcome a certain level of fear.
Fib is basically you lying your way out of a tense situation. Maybe someone threatens you or something and you make up an excuse. That may go back to elementary years and rather than tell on yourself you made up something so you didn’t have to get spanked or punished and now you’re an adult and have to explain to a boss or someone and in that same situation.
Flop or faint means you just go limp or can’t stand the stress.
Friend is perhaps a similar situation to Fib in a sense though it’s a strategy of defense to deescalate and befriend a situation.
Of course there are many other situations and scenarios and nothing can be completely explained with simple theories like these.
Right now, the markets are spooked. And people are worried at one end of the spectrum of health, but they are pushing into extremes of rationality. An example is that when people for example perceive scarcity or lack.. Perhaps they aren’t getting their paycheck in time or some other similar circumstance they became irate and tend to lose their normal calm rational logical demeanor. That goes out the window. And even when there’s no real pressure or time frame window, the individual has created a fake time constraint. This might happen also for people in relationships and in the love arena. People perhaps become impatient for something to happen or for some declaration of a relationship or profession of love etc before a person is ready or attempts to escalate a situation before everyone is on the same wavelength and it just ends in everyone being unsatisfied, irritated and with unmet expectations.
There is a time an place and season for everything.
Sometimes you MUST act.
Sometimes you must not do anything, just observe.
Be careful of scams as people will use recent news events to try to fool you into taking action to defraud you, sell you snake oil, push cures that don’t actually work or jack up prices and also make you fear something that are never-events that likely will never happen and sell you insurance.
And lastly, as it was once said, sometimes you just have only one thing to fear, and that is “fear itself”.
Take care of yourselves readers, stay healthy, and don’t let the regular news drag you down. Keep innovating and being creative and persevering.
And we will resume other great regular articles shortly as we’ve been doing research.