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Are We There Yet? vol. 120

I’m in a business that deals with money, finance and planning so when there is economic turmoil, it brings more than the usual amounts of stress and concern.  We see this among ourselves and our clients and it’s easy to get caught up in the worry.  As I have noted in other pieces that I’ve written, there is a level of stress that is healthy and motivating and there is stress that can be distracting and debilitating.  We’ve all either experienced or know someone who has experienced that feeling of not being able to focus and get things accomplished due to stress.  I’ve also noticed that worrying about things I can’t control brings even higher levels of stress. 

In the modern world, we are constantly bombarded with negative news whether it be economic, environmental, political, etc.  The list goes on and on.  There are studies that show that a constant state of anxiety makes it difficult for our minds to distinguish between what is truly a disaster and what is simply a challenge or an annoyance.  Everything becomes an end of the world issue. When I feel that the level of negativity is overwhelming, I turn off the news and do something I really enjoy like talking with my family or engaging with friends.

We don’t control the weather, or traffic, or what the stock market will do this week, or whether inflation will moderate.  But we do have control, to some extent, over how we spend our free time.  Most of us think that spending quality time with friends and family is the most important and enjoyable activity in our lives.  So, the next time that the news (or anything else) has you down, try to redirect your thinking and actions to activities that you truly enjoy.  As Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Take care and stay safe.

BOOK:

A Brief History of Equality by Thomas Piketty

It’s easy to be pessimistic about inequality. We know it has increased dramatically in many parts of the world over the past two generations. Surprisingly, Piketty reminds us that the grand sweep of history gives us reasons to be optimistic. Over the centuries, he shows, we have been moving toward greater equality.

Piketty guides us with elegance and concision through the great movements that have made the modern world for better and worse: the growth of capitalism, revolutions, imperialism, slavery, wars, and the building of the welfare state. It’s a history of violence and social struggle, punctuated by regression and disaster. But through it all, Piketty shows, human societies have moved fitfully toward a more just distribution of income and assets, a reduction of racial and gender inequalities, and greater access to health care, education, and the rights of citizenship. Our rough march forward is political and ideological, an endless fight against injustice. To keep moving, Piketty argues, we need to learn and commit to what works, to institutional, legal, social, fiscal, and educational systems that can make equality a lasting reality. At the same time, we need to resist historical amnesia and the temptations of cultural separatism and intellectual compartmentalization. At stake is the quality of life for billions of people. We know we can do better, Piketty concludes. The past shows us how. The future is up to us.