Tsunami: Power to Change
It’s a cold drizzly Wednesday morning when I roll into my local coffee and breakfast place. There is a small line of people at the counter, so I turn around and grab the local paper that is laying on one of the tables. The caption: “Nation in the grip of crisis perseveres”. It is less than a week after the horrific storm that washed part of Japan away leaving cities devastated and people huddled around make shift outdoor kitchens.
Having had a front row seat for the horrific demolition of the World Trade Center, events like these are quickly put into perspective. In this case my eyes drop to the few sentences typed below the picture that tells more about what had caught my attention. There in at the last sentence the total lives confirmed dead (3,676) and still missing (7,588) jump out at me as if they were highlighted and in bold. World Trade Center death tolls! When the water settles and all the bodies are counted, the Japanese devastation will likely dwarf those numbers. Where do events like this take us as human beings? They make us realize how little control we have over situations such as these.
Here I sit in a nice warm café, sipping Kona coffee, typing on my laptop and overall not having a REAL problem to speak of. I can count on 1 hand the people that I know personally that are having REAL problems (as listed above).
As an advisor, I have become somewhat numb to the “devastation” in people’s lives. The debt that they have gotten themselves into that is all too often “someone else’s fault”. As if, like a hurricane, they had no control over how it happened. They weren’t the person looking at the house or car with their spouse. They didn’t go on the vacations, etc. I don’t buy it! Our life is not a tsunami. We have MUCH more control over what happens in our lives than we care to admit.
Take a minute… ok take 30 minutes and scribble down what you feel that you don’t have control of. Your wife/husband? Your kids? The debt you are in? The lack of finances? Your health? Come on- how many did you want to push back at me, “Mike, I really don’t have control of X”. I have heard them all, “my body type doesn’t lend for me to be the right weight… I am big boned”. How about “Mike my wife spends and just won’t stop”. Does she feel loved? Does she feel that you care about her? Is there other issues going on in her life? Or, “My kids are just tough, they don’t listen to me.” Have you taken control of your house… meaning you don’t have a moving line of what is ok and what isn’t? Or do you regularly cave in? I can hear people say, “Mike you don’t understand…” However, I really do. I know how tough each one of these areas are because I see it both personally and with clients. I also know, that we have much more control over all of these areas than we really want to admit.
I don’t understand how we can continue to turn a blind eye on what we can control, when there is so much devastation in the world where people have NO CONTROL over it. Think deeply today about what you are calling a tsunami or a great flood. And then ask yourself if you really don’t have control over it. If you come back with this nagging feeling that you know you have some level of control, then we are making headway. Most people don’t know where to start, so let me help out:
1. Admit that you could control your tsunami, IF you had the right tools.
2. Take some time today to find the right tools. With the Internet, there is a plethora of information (just be careful whose information you follow). Here are some ideas of “tools”.
Parenting: Love and Logic http://www.loveandlogic.com/
Marriage: Google “marriage and communication” You will find a slew of websites that will give you tips and direction depending upon your faith, stage in your relationship, etc.
Finances: Budgeting http://www.Mint.com
Find an advisor http://www.cambridgeadvisors.com
As a reminder, put a picture of Japan Floods, Hurricane Katrina, or the World Trade Center in your wallet or on your purse. Put it on your bedside or your office desk as a reminder of what you don’t have control of. Lastly, start to build up your tool chest that allows you to take more control of your life. It is when we start seeing what we have control of in our life that we start to feel in control.
Mike Lynch, Principal
Lynch Financial Advisors