With 24 hour-a-day endless barraging of media coverage regarding our economic challenges, WaMu, Bear Stearns and Wachovia failures, foreclosures, shrinking gross domestic product, faltering stock market, images of Bernie Madoff, Thain's 1.2m dollar office, GM's possible bankruptcy, a stimulus bill that doesn't look like stimulus, I find myself becoming increasingly hopeless as my normal positive outlook is hijacked by the media pundits spewing their negativity and doomsday scenarios. All this "noise" focuses the viewer's attention on the problem with very little energy left for any rational thinking, much less solutions.
I am not suggesting that the media not report the news but would love to see it balanced with a rational look at what would happen to each of us if the pundit's screaming predictions become reality.
Let's take a worse case scenario: 30% unemployment, 18%+ interest rates, bank panics, money becomes worthless, stock market goes below 5000, twenty thousand corporate bankruptcies, auto sales, housing sales and consumer product sales continue to decline and wages get reduced for the remaining 70% of those that do have a job.
These are all extreme numbers and obviously unwanted, but lets just confront for a second what would happen to you as a result. First, regardless of how bad it gets, you will not die, you will just have to make adjustments. Even with the adjustments you would still have comforts that many of the people on this planet have never even experienced.
Unlike the dramatic black and white Great Depression photos of crowded breadlines that are so readily disseminated by Fox, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and all the networks, most of you will not end up in bread line. And even if you did the 21st Century breadline will have people texting from I-phones or Blackberries and the event will be recorded in high definition. No matter how bad it gets your color 36" plasma screen(s) will not suddenly revert to a black and white 14" box with rabbit ear antennas. The car you drive, even the one that runs on gasoline, will not have to be traded in for horse and buggy and the home you live in, (the one you owe too much) will continue to have central air/heat, electricity and clean water running through out and floors made of stone or wood. You will not suddenly find yourself living on dirt floors having to read by candle light.
The point is; neither the world nor your survival will come to an end regardless of what happens economically. Can it get worse? Certainly. Will your lifestyle change? Yes, but so will most everyone else's! Rather than just dramatizing the the bad news, sit down with your family and take a rational (non-emotional) look at the worse case scenario. What adjustments will you have to make? What is most important to you? What can you do without? What is necessary and what is not? You may find that most of the things you will have to give up may not even be that important to you.
American's are survivors, and most of us (when rational) will rise to the occasion and do what is necessary to adapt, survive and improve our conditions regardless of what is happening around us. It is during times like these that we are all reminded of those thing most important to us and it is almost never the material things, but rather family, health, character, reputation and staying true to those things that are most important to us.
Grant Cardone, Author of Sell to Surive