The Feather, the Slap & the Brick

G’day all

While things are certainly crazy right now, and I feel we (Australians) are still in for some tighter controls over the next couple of weeks, and the US is also starting to groan under the strain of the outbreak, there is only so long that we will see impacts on global markets.

While we are probably also going to see zero, or negative growth for the first quarter of 2020 both in Australia and the US (most other countries as well mind you – but I haven’t been studying those markets as closely), we are also likely to see negative growth for the second quarter coming…recession…

There will certainly be more job losses both here and in the US and we are in for some tight times…

But that’s enough doom and gloom from me!  I certainly want to be that ‘metronome’ vs the media at the moment.

The hype and spin they are putting on this is incredible – front page headlines by the Herald Sun here in Melbourne TELLING people to buy 2 weeks’ worth of everything is insanity, even our Prime Minister agreed!

Sentiment and reaction will certainly be clouded by the media, and while it’s great to stay up to date with what is happening, I urge people to be cautious of the amount of media we absorb right now – do we really need the 5th one-hour special on the Coronavirus today??

What I am seeing is some changes, that while have been prompted by the pandemic, could actually be for the better, and hopefully become the ‘new norm’.

Firstly, people are starting to become more acutely aware if they are feeling unwell, to stay away from others and ‘self-isolate’.  While we had not really used that term until a few weeks ago, I remember back from my corporate days (yes a while ago thankfully, but I still remember!) coming into work and finding the person next to me in the cubicle coughing and spluttering all over the place, just didn’t want to ‘use up all their sick leave’ and wouldn’t go home!  Next thing, we were all sick and productivity plummets – not to mention if anyone one of us infected our grandparents with the flu, it is and was, critically dangerous for them!

If this means that from now on, if you are unwell, you stay home and recover, and we see a drop in influenza deaths throughout the world, that’s a great step forward.

Secondly, bars, restaurants and eateries are spreading out tables here in Australia, to give everyone the required distance from others to still be able to dine (in Australia, it is a maximum of 100 people inside right now, with 1.5 metres between, classified as safe distance).  Finally, not sitting on the lap of the next table when you dine, giving us some space, to enjoy our meals and conversation with loved ones and friends without feeling uncomfortable.  If it means that restaurants now realise that as many seats as physically possibly in a venue is no longer acceptable, that again, is a great step forward.

Now, while I am absolutely not trying to make light of this situation, I would like to point out that often it can take a great event or action, to promote positive change or reactions.

What about change in our lives, what changes do you need to make?

I feel that often the universe does things in threes, and in the case for change, we find there are generally 3 hints that we need to (change):

The first hint is what I call a feather.  The universe tickles us, to realise there is something that needs to be scratched.  Maybe it is our neighbour losing his business or our colleague getting retrenched.  Now while this does not directly impact us, it does make you think, “wow, that can happen”.  Mostly though, we feel “it won’t happen to me” and we carry on with life. Rarely here, does someone look to actually make changes to protect against it.

Now though, the universe realises that the feather didn’t work, we just scratched and moved on.  So next is the slap…

Now it’s your partner getting sick and needing an (albeit not life threatening) operation; or the car breaking down and needing significant repair, realising you don’t really have the funds; the landlord saying you need to move, and all new rentals are significantly more expensive…  This is where now, it hurts, right…  That sting which, while it goes away, really brings tears to the eyes for the moment, and starts you thinking “I really need to change something here so this isn’t a problem again”.

But, you fix the car and move on; get a credit card or loan for the operation – but then go back to the ‘rut’ and nothing really changes.

Hmm…Universe is thinking if that didn’t work, now what?

Lastly it’s the brick… that ‘brick to the head moment’

Now I have always said that I hope people would never get to this stage, but I feel as a society we may have just had our ‘brick’

This is where there may be a life changing event in your family which FORCES you to make changes and decisions.  A death, life threatening illness, permanent disability; loss of job or business – some event which is catastrophic enough to cause us to HAVE to make changes.  Again, hoping the feather or the slap is enough, but if we do not change, we get a brick.

I was lucky enough (aware enough maybe?) to react on the feather, but we don’t all do this.

So, what changes do you NEED to make?  Are you comfortable right now if your company has to close in the next 2-3 weeks due to the pandemic and you are off work?  Can you survive?  What if your loved one gets sick, can you afford the medical bills?  Do you need to change things NOW, so that we can learn from this brick and build a better, stronger life?

I pray that none of this will happen, but I urge you to think about what you see around you and at least ask yourself the question… Do I need to change?

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!