"Fear always springs from ignorance." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Is this the worst economy since The Great Depression or does it just feel like it? How would we know? Most of us weren't alive in the 1930's. Putting feelings aside and looking at quantitative measures for reference, such as unemployment rates, this current recession may not ever match the severity of the 1980 to 1982 recession, when unemployment reached 10.8% and remained
above 10% for 10 months. Perhaps the mass perception of economic conditions, and certainly the media's representation of them, is rivaled only by The Great Depression, but the reality of this severity may not yet justify that perception.
"My life has been full of terrible misfortunes -- most of which have never happened." ~ Michel de Montaigne
Either we are not students of recession history or we are giving too much attention to media reports. If the media weren't telling us "how bad things are," would we really perceive things to be as bad as we do?
Nearly half of all employed individuals, as illustrated in recent polls, are currently worried about losing their jobs. Is this perception aligned with reality? How likely is it that the entire U.S. workforce will be cut in half before economic conditions stabilize? For proper perspective, if unemployment is currently at 7.5% and this jobless rate reaches a greater than expected 12.5%, then 90% of those people currently worried about losing their jobs are worrying more than necessary.
fear factor further, it is quite likely that the worry over a job loss -- not the event itself -- can do equal or greater damage to the economy than an actual job loss by compounding economic weakness, hence, creating further job losses. Understandably, worry over losing one's job would likely result in reduced spending on the part of the consumer. When consumers, who represent more than two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity, slow their spending, then corporate profits suffer and businesses are forced to thin their workforce to make ends meet. As more workers lose their jobs, more consumers stop or reduce spending and more media reports spread about job losses, which produces more worry among those who still have their jobs and hence a kind of self-feeding cycle or self-fulfilled prophecy is created.
"When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways -- either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength." ~ Dalai Lama
If I can make my tiny contribution toward a brighter future, I will ask anyone and everyone to stop watching, reading and listening to mainstream media. For some help, guidance and inspiration, I have added another quotations page with quotes on worry, fear, anxiety and suffering. These are quoted words from some of the wisest and most inspirational people in recorded history and were not selected to compound and perpetuate your anxiety but to give reason for stepping forward and to give yourself permission to hope again -- to provide a greater foundation upon which a healthy perspective may be formed. Reading the words will only take you approximately five minutes and may just be exactly what you (or someone else you know) needs right now.
Once again, here's the link to the quotes page on worry, fear, anxiety and suffering.
Have a wonderful and worry-free week...