The best and worst of times

If I had a dollar for every time during the past year I have heard someone say, “These are the worst economic times since the Great Depression,” I would have enough money to create my own stimulus package. I am well aware that there are many people hurting. With double-digit unemployment, the decline in the stock market, and the ongoing bleak forecasts, it can be alarming.
I have heard the difference between recession and depression explained by the following: In a recession, your neighbor loses his job. In a depression, you lose your job.
I realize we are in a global economy, but in the final analysis, all finances are personal finances just as all real estate is local.
If ten percent of workers are unemployed, this conversely means that ninety percent of workers are employed. If you bought into the stock market at the very top and have continued buying through the decline and recovery thus far, you should be more than halfway back to where you started. If you invested in the stock market for the long term (five years or longer) as you should, this is not nearly as terrifying.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “This time, like all other times, is a good time, if we knew what to do with it.”
I have found few writers to be Emerson’s equal in causing one to take a deep breath, a calm step back, and a long look into the future. If you will study past economic downturns and even the Great Depression, you will discover that it was the best of times for someone. These are the times that you can determine to change your life by changing your mind.
If you have lost your job, don’t simply seek to replace it. Look for something different or better. If you’re out of work anyway, this may be the time to pursue your passion, either through new employment or self-employment. This is also a good time to reconsider the frivolous expenditures you have made in the past and the long-term commitments you have taken on in the form of debt obligations.
Do you really need all of this stuff, or is it simply a pile of junk keeping you where you are instead of where you want to be?
If the downturn in the stock market has frightened you away from investing now and in the future, you may need to reconsider your long-term goals and your risk tolerance. There are investment vehicles for the faint-of-heart. Conservative investments may not grow as fast, but if they keep you invested instead of panicking and jumping out of the market, they may be the quickest way to succeed.
As you go through your day today, commit to make these difficult times ones that you can look back on as the springboard to your future success.
Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books, including “The Ultimate Gift.” He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 S. Memorial Drive, Suite 312 in Tulsa or by e-mail at

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