Say to yourself in the early morning: I shall meet today ungrateful, violent, treacherous, envious, uncharitable men. All of these things have come upon them through ignorance of real good and ill... I can neither be harmed by any of them, for no man will involve me in wrong, nor can I be angry with my kinsman or hate him; for we have come into the world to work together...
Meditations Marcus Aurelius
I find speaking to people all the time, from all walks of life, that people are wearier of other people, which really means, they are weary of themselves, their community and the country. We don't consciously think there are ungrateful, treacherous, envious or uncharitable people lurking around each corner, but the fact is by the time that first cup of coffee is polished off; we are reminded there are flaws and flawed people in our world.
The thing is these days, it's those folks on pedestals that often have these flaws and let us down.
It's easy to say don't let them bring you down. It's noble to say they are my brothers and I cannot be angry for we are all in this together, even if they are plotting against my self-interest. We actually try to take the upper road, but each letdown leaves an emotional scar and state of hesitation. Earlier in the week, I referenced a report on global prosperity that ranked the United States outside of the top ten. The part that confounded me most was the notion we are a nation that has lost trust.
Since that report, there has been scandal (Lance Armstrong & Manti Te'o) and saber rattling (President Obama & NRA) and the spreading of ignorance. There is no working together (I'm very disappointed an ungodly massacre by a lone madman opened the door for the demonization of a millions of law-abiding Americans by the most powerful forces in the country). With this cloud hanging over our heads, it's no wonder this has become a dropout nation - a nation where hope fades as the clanging swords of discord get louder and louder -
Because so much of our economic reality comes from desire, which manifests itself as lack of effort, lack of trust and lack of determination. Yes, we do great as a nation as a result of a self fulfilling prophecy. Certainly it's really hard to be great at an individual level without trying. This is a major contributing factor to the inability of the nation to get the wheels of commerce into gear. Shame on the pundits and experts that lie about how great the economy is, or that create odd charts and spreadsheets to convince the public.
The result has been an even weaker effort and the dangerous habit of celebrating mediocrity.
In addition to missing out on individual greatness, either from spending too much time guarding against harm from too ungrateful and treacherous men, or from accepting things will not get better, we drop out and live for today and lose chances to enhance wealth and prepare for the future. Let's face it; people missed the big rally after a bunch of investors sold into the inferno of late 2008 through early 2009. I get that part, but it's the lingering inferno of the mind that I worry about.
I'm not saying people shouldn't be worried. I'm not saying there is leadership or an effort to create harmony. Consequently, there is a legit reason the US Mint ran out of silver coins two weeks into the year (by the way, the US Mint will begin selling directly to individuals soon, although the supply strain has put off the launch date). There should be some defensive posture, not because you are caving to the worst of human nature in a country being ripped apart, but because hate of kinsmen is growing.
But, beyond taking out such insurance, it's time to stay positive and understand this is a long life.
It's time to invest in you and look through the fog and believe the nation will be fine when it's all said and done. It's going to be an emotional ride because it's just plain ugly. You have to stand above it all when you can and don't let it hold you down. Don't say to yourself in the morning there are bad people out there willing and ready to harm you. Instead, know there are more good people confused and frustrated but able to come together at some point.
> Invest in yourself
> Invest in your family
> Invest in your community
> Invest in your country