“Man plans, God laughs.” It’s an old saying that is as true today as it’s ever been.
While it’s true that we have very little control over what happens to us, much of success in life comes down to being proactive and to being as prepared as we can. When we make ourselves strong and resilient, we’re better positioned for whatever life throws at us.
But we’re not doing that.
In most every important area of life, we’re struggling. We’re trending in the wrong direction, and if we don’t take action, we’ll end up in serious trouble.
There are a lot of disasters to be concerned with. Some we have control over, others none. This post will help you understand what you should focus your efforts on, and how to get started.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Life’s Disasters
- Disaster relief protocols
- Human nature
- We are in a crisis
Let’s get started.
Disasters are an unfortunate reality that take many forms.
Natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions are beyond our control.
Man-made disasters like nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, and asbestos contamination, while created by humans, are beyond the control of most of us.
Personal and family disasters are closer to home. Premature death or disability, cognitive impairment and cancer can afflict anyone and can be completely out of our control. Other disasters like financial hardship, drug or alcohol addiction, divorce or fractured family relationships, and diabetes diagnoses can be self-inflicted.
Disaster relief protocols
After a natural disaster, there is an established response protocol. The first step is a search and rescue operation, followed by immediate relief efforts in the form of food, water, shelter and medical care. From there, the rebuilding efforts begin. The protocol for responding to man-made disasters are similar.
For personal and family disasters, the response will vary.
Should you be diagnosed with cancer, the appropriate steps are to educate yourself as much as possible, determine what additional tests are necessary for your care team, figure out what treatments are available, and determine next steps.
When dealing with loss, it’s important to move through the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
But this isn’t a blog about dealing with disasters that are out of your control, or that come out of nowhere in an instant. It’s about avoiding self-inflicted, slow-moving disasters. It’s about not being 60 years old and broke, or 50 with no family, or fat, or lazy, or in a dead-end job you hate. It’s about figuring out what you want, and working to make that life your reality.
Have you ever heard that anecdote about boiling a frog? The idea is that you can put a frog in a pot of water over a burner, and it won’t get out even as the water begins to heat up. Once it’s at a boil, it’s too late. Like that frog, too many of us sit in a pot of water that slowly gets hotter until it boils. By the time we realize what’s going on, it’s too late. Too often, we need to hit rock bottom before we do anything to change. I think that’s a terrible thing, and I think we can avoid it.
Have you ever heard this saying, “When you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready?” What about this one, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Finally, “Man plans, God laughs?” I am a firm believer that we have very little control over what happens to us, but that we have absolute control over how we think, feel, and respond to our circumstances. All we can do is position ourselves for success. From there, we’ve got to let the chips fall where they may.
We are in a crisis
We are in a crisis- one that’s been slowly but steadily happening over the past 50 years; one that’s coming to a boil.
- In 1960, the personal savings rate was over 10%. Today it’s around 3%
- Rates of obesity have tripled over the past 50 years
- The number of children being raised by a single parent has doubled since 1968
- 33% of high school graduates haven’t read a book since graduating
- Globally, only 15% of people are engaged in their work. 70% of Americans don’t like their jobs
- 1 in 5 Americans will experience mental illness in a given year
- 61% of people between the ages of 18 to 25 report feeling lonely
Almost 2/3rds of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck
The way forward
We all need to wake up and get our shit together.
We need to get stronger. We need to get ready. We need to stop leaving well enough alone. We need to start asking a lot more of ourselves so that we don’t find ourselves in that boiling pot of water.
The first step is to determine what you want. To help you in that process, you can access our Goals coure and our Values course for free. They will help you get clarity around the life you want, as well as help you set your personal standards.
From there, you’ll need to make plans for how you’ll get where you want to go. For your the financial aspects of your life, I encourage you to check out our DIY Financial Plan course. It can help you get direction on where you want to be with your money. If you’re in debt, you can access our Get Out of Debt course for free as well.
Today is your day after. What are you going to do?
If you’re ready to take control of your financial life, check out our DIY Financial Plan course.
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