Overcoming Fear to Thrive in the Current Downward Economic Cycle

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the introduction to an initial four-part series of action-oriented articles which will be provided over the next several months as we progress through the current downward economic cycle. By coming back to this section regularly, you’ll be able to manage yourself better through the challenges we all face as this "financial crisis" unfolds.

Part 1 (October 16, 2008)

This is a very “interesting” and difficult time for most of us. Yes, you and me both. If you’re like most people, the value of your home has decreased (perhaps a lot), your job is not as secure as you’d like, your expenses are higher than they’ve ever been, and your stock portfolio is down significantly. And if you’re a business owner, you may be experiencing even more pain right now – with fewer customers and higher costs of doing business.

I know that’s the situation for me (all the above except for my "stock portfolio" since I got out of the stock market quite a while ago).

Because of this, many people are scared. And the media doesn’t help at all. They actually make matters worse (see my happiness tip called “Don’t Watch The News” in the Info & Advice section of this website).

No, these days there just doesn't seem to be much good news on the economic front. In fact, many experts say the economy will get a lot worse in 2009. That may be true but that's still no reason you can't make more money next year than ever before.

And that's what I intend to help you achieve with this powerful series of articles over the next several months. I assume that would make you happy!

First, though, let me tell you – being scared is perfectly natural. It’s not the best thing, but it’s natural.

The irony of the situation is this important fact:

The more we focus on the negative aspects of what’s going on in our lives, the more we will create the negative reality for ourselves. And, it’s how we deal with the fear that makes the difference between getting through these difficult financial times in a better or worse position than we are in today.

I know, I know. It’s easy to state the cliché of “focus on the positives” and everything will be fine. That’s what most positive-thinking, self-help “experts” say to do. It’s what The Secret preaches. That’s the Law of Attraction. Which is good, valuable stuff. It’s just not enough!

So what do we do?

Well, firstly, we must understand that there is no quick fix. We need to see things how they really are – but not worse than they are. That’s an important distinction. If you see things as worse than they really are (like what the media shows and helps create), then you can be very scared and even paralyzed by the fear.

Secondly, we must find a way to understand that times like these bring opportunity for those who aren’t paralyzed by fear. And the opportunities can be significant. We must have a firm belief – faith, if you will – that this is possible, regardless of how bad things may seem (Part 3 in this series will address some of these opportunities).

To be able to take advantage of the opportunities available, we must have a positive vision of the future (see my Goal Setting series for more on this issue). So, not only is it a matter of not seeing things as worse than they really are – but really seeing things as better than they really are (while still staying grounded in reality). Some people use their religion to help achieve this (so if religion is a part of your happiness plan, check out this religion and adversity link for some perspectives on this).

So, the question is not “can you get through the current economic downturn in a positive way?” but “will you?”

My goal with this series of articles is to make the answer to the second question a resounding ‘yes’!! I want you to be "dancing", not "drowning". So make sure to follow the series over the next year and beyond as we take advantage of the opportunities before us and stay happy during this difficult period.

This introduction article was published on October 16, 2008 - just a couple of weeks after the US government approved a $700 BILLION bailout of the country's banking system. Part 2 was then published November 20th.

To go directly to the Part 2, November 2008 article, which provides specific "survival" strategies for the economic "meltdown" we are experiencing now click here.

Part 3, published on December 31st 2008 is about actually creating wealth during the current economic situation.
Click here
to go to Part 3.

Part 4, published March 15, 2009, provides a comprehensive solution, complete with a financial plan to deal with the very "scary" times we're experiencing.
Click here
to go to Part 4.

BeHappy! my friends