As I am sure the whole world knows, 50 million people on east coast of North America are embracing themselves for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Public transport is grounded and over 7000 flights have been postponed. The storm has already taken 60 lives, has disrupted the presidential campaign and shut down Wall Street for the first time in nearly 30 years. This really makes us realise what little control we have over things…
Ever the optimist, I have Five positive things that this storm can teach us:
- We don’t know what we don’t know. Storms come and go with little warning. We take too many things for granted: we are used to the tube working and flights arriving on time. We complain when they are a few minutes late, but really – in the presence of this almighty world – we are very small and our efforts relatively insignificant. We can’t take on nature and she is always in control. Don’t take things for granted in your own life. Just because you have a job or you have your health, don’t take them for granted. These things can change in a heartbeat. Similar to how you should keep stores of food and maintain the weatherproofing of your house, you should work hard on all aspects of your life. When you try and do it all at the last minute, sadly it is often too late.
- We can never completely account for the unexpected. Think you have it all worked out? Got all the Emergency Funds you need? What would be your backup plan if a storm destroyed your house tomorrow? Do you have proper insurance? Do you have enough money to temporarily relocate? We can never have a safety net that is too big. Just because you have accounted for the washing machine breaking down and the car’s service, it doesn’t mean you have thought of it all. Realise that disasters don’t always happen to someone else.
- Relationships matter. In times of danger and panic, you never know who you might need help from. That neighbor you never made an effort to speak to? The old friend from college you never bothered to call back? We need to maintain our relationships and ensure that we have friends that are genuinely willing to help us. Equally, we have a duty to help our peers, neighbors and others.
- The importance of diversification. This hurricane has the potential to destroy houses, shops, offices, parks and worst of all lives. Even if the storm doesn’t affect you directly, there is no telling what catastrophic effect this could have on stocks, businesses and property. Whether you are a landlord, investor or business owner; the storm could destroy your income or interests. Having all your eggs in one basket is a dangerous game. Diversify your stocks/funds between local and foreign markets, buy property all over the world and expand your businesses in different neighborhoods.
- Realisation of how good we actually have it. Disasters remind us of how lucky we really are and what we take for granted on a daily basis. Experiencing a disaster gives us a sense of grounding and the realisation of what others constantly have to live through. It reminds us that instead of buying a new car or a bigger house, that there are people with no car or no house.Above all, disasters bring us closer together.
To all my friends around the world – I sincerely hope that you and all your loved ones stay safe. Don’t try and be heroes, we can’t fight the power of this world.