Is we no longer use the word “Paradigm”……
Do you, like me, have a hard time keeping up with all the latest buzzwords, catch-phrases, and schools of thought? Here’s a tip – forget them all.
It’s interesting to look over recent history and realize that no matter how much we think things have changed, things have stayed the same. As wise old King Solomon said “there is nothing new under the sun”.
What have we learned from the last two economic “busts”? Mainly that old wisdom still applies. In the “Tech Boom” or the “Dot Com Bubble” we were told that there were new metrics to measure companies by and that earnings didn’t matter. Guess what? Whoever told us that was wrong. Earnings and good corporate governance are still a necessity to make a good company and a good investment.
In the recent “Real Estate Bubble”, we were told that house prices always went up, and that it didn’t matter if a home buyer was credit worthy or had income. Guess what? You’re right, whoever told us that was wrong. Having decent character (credit), and enough income to meet your obligations creates a successful homeowner.
There are some wrong thoughts out there bouncing around the world right now as well. If you follow blogs, opinion posts, comments on articles, etc., you will see constant negativity out there right now. Really, if there was a time to be negative, it’s understandable why people would think now is that time. The economy remains in a shambles. Unemployment is high. Many feel that both the Democrat’s and Republicans have abandoned the “little guy” and small business, and are trying to give everything to the big banks, and wall street. Pretty much everyone thinks things are bleak, and there is no reason for positivity.
In my business, regulation grows and grows like an ugly alien weed from a bad sci-fi flick and threatens to choke everything out in its path. My comrades in the Real Estate market bemoan the millions of foreclosures coming on the market. Self-proclaimed experts predict further collapse and decay.
But a few weeks ago, I was watching a series on the history of America on the History Channel and what struck me was that we’ve been here before. In the history of this country, it has faced many economic challenges and has always overcame those challenges. The economic forces of capitalism and its “creative destructionism” have always created opportunity for those willing to seize it.
“Creative destructionism” is a concept that was first recognized by Marx, and he viewed it as a negative. But, like much of the rest of his thoughts, his viewpoint was wrong. Economist Joseph Schumpeter recognized this force as one of innovation and progress.
Really, what we want to take from this is that we don’t live in a time of collapse and decay, we continually live in a time of this “creative destructionism” where, yes, things will change and change rapidly, but there will still be opportunity for us to thrive.
That’s the “old paradigm” – that’s where the old wisdom comes in to play. In a capitalist society (and for those of you who are more negative, even a “semi-capitalist” society), there is always opportunity.
I’m re-reading an old book from the self-help section called “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. I got it for 99 cents on my Kindle through Amazon (Wow …. there’s new and opportunity). He said something on early in the book that really caught my attention and struck me as being very up to date and modern, and remember this book was written back in the 30′s in the “Great Depression” :
“Never in the history of America has there been so great an opportunity for practical dreamers as now exists. The six-year economic collapse has reduced all men, substantially, to the same level. A new race is about to be run. The stakes represent huge fortunes which will be accumulated within the next ten years. The rules of the race have changed, because we now live in a CHANGED WORLD that definitely favors the masses, those who had but little or no opportunity to win under the conditions existing during the depression, when fear paralyzed growth and development.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, yes, a lot of things have changed and will change. Yes, our time right now has it’s serious challenges. But, really, now is the time to apply old wisdom. It’s a time, no matter what our failures have been, to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps, to work hard, to be positive, to seize these new opportunities and to run this “new race” we’ve had to run before.
It’s up to us, it’s up to me, it’s up to you. Opportunity is out there. We just have to grab it.