One of the biggest excuses for lack of success is this thing called the “economy.” Turn on the news and they talk about the financial markets and whether or not the economy is booming or not. Most people don’t even know what this thing is. They just know that it’s big, and the television tells them that it is working against the general populace. The media’s portrayal of “the economy” is that the outcome of people’s lives is not their fault. It’s the economy’s fault. When times get tough, the news anchors also start using another word “recession.” Most people fear the economy because they don’t understand economics. Here is a crash course in economics, my take on why you shouldn’t fear the economy, and why your life is still your responsibility.
“Economy: the process or system by which goods and services are produced, sold, and bought in a country or region.”
My First Recession as an Adult
I began my business career in 1989. I started my first business and promptly failed. After all, my education was in nuclear power plant operation, not the subject of business. It’s no wonder I failed. I had no idea what I was doing. I determined that I lacked sales experience and sales knowledge, so I got a job in sales. I knew that my job was to convince people who came into our jewelry store to buy jewelry. I did very well, and the company transferred me to my store in Meridian, MS. I had great visions of success and advancing through the company ranks. Then, Operation Desert Shield turned into Desert Storm, and the Recession of 1990-91 began. My stores sales plummeted. The stores sales for Q1 1991 was less than Christmas Eve 1990. Stores all around me started closing. I lost my job in June 1991, and my store closed about a year later. I moved my family to Birmingham, AL and got a job in car sales. Again, things did not work out, and I lost that job too. Other people told me that the economy did this to me. They also told me that it was the economy’s purpose to keep me poor, which is totally false.
My Second Recession
A little later in 2000, I was waiting tables in Birmingham and starting my promotional products business with the backing of a company in another state. I built my website and was waiting for my sales to shoot through the roof, and transport me to the financial success I desired. The stock markets started to falter, and the next recession was beginning. The dot-com bubble was bursting. News agencies started saying the Recession of 2001 in March of 2000. I lost my business, crashed my life and it was the recession’s fault, so I thought.
I moved to South Florida to become a commodities and currencies options and futures broker, failed and struggled through some difficult times. I noticed that the economy was picking up according to the media and government statistics. My economy did not improve. People were buying cars. People were buying houses, and they were buying a lot of houses. I got not one job, but two jobs and started working 80-90 hours a week to improve MY economy. When the real estate market started to falter in Palm Beach County, Florida, I moved to the big city of Atlanta, GA to make sure I lived in a place with enough economic activity to allow me to support myself.
The “Great Financial Crisis”
Then came the “Great Financial Crisis of 2007-9.” According to the media, the entire world economy was going to stop, we were going to have to all go back to farming, and blah, blah, blah. The media said that this would be the largest contraction since the Great Depression. Family legend says that my grandfather hoboed on freight trains to look for work and played pool for money. I decided I was not going to let this recession destroy my life.
I worked harder than I ever did before. I managed my money properly. I stopped drinking in bars and later stopped drinking altogether. I kept my priorities on starting my business more than ever. I did not lose my job until 2010, and when I did, I found another job. The recession didn’t take me out. The economy was no longer something I feared, but something in which I must learn to thrive. I also realized how the wrong information was holding me back all those years.
Here is the definition of a recession:
“Recession: The technical indicator of a recession is two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth as measured by a country’s gross domestic product (GDP); although the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) does not necessarily need to see this occur to call a recession.”
Grant Cardone points this out in one of his books. The definition of a recession revolves around the Gross Domestic Product of a country. People can’t have recessions. Only countries or other regions defined either by geographic or governmental standards can have recessions. Therefore, you can’t participate in a recession. You can only allow the media to convince you to work less. Then, your personal income declines and you are a victim.
Something else I learned is that when I worked harder to get results, I got those results regardless of what state of the economy. People were still buying cars in a recession. Even during the Financial Crisis, if the unemployment rate went to 15%, that means that 85% still had jobs. That means that even in the worst recession, people in the United States still have jobs, the economy keeps moving, and prosperity was still widespread. They may have a temporary decrease in income, but overall poverty did not overwhelm the populace.
My Conclusions about the Economy
Here’s what I learned about this thing called the “economy.” First, the economy is lot like the weather. You can complain about the rain or the snow, but the only thing your complaints do is make you and everyone around you miserable. If you keep smiling during the rain, you stay upbeat and with a positive attitude.
Second, people can’t have recessions in the classical definition. You are not a country. Your income can decline, or your sales can decrease, but your GDP can’t recede. You’re not a country. You don’t have a GDP.
Third, as a last resort, you can choose not to participate in a recession. It’s not the best course of action, but it will work. The right answer is to work harder than you did during the good times to make sure your sales don’t decrease and that your income doesn’t decrease. Ultimately, it’s all up to you. Your life is your responsibility, and no one will save you unless you do.