Surviving the Sinking Boat

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I subscribe to a quite a lot of personal development and motivational newsletters and blogs because I am very passionate about personal growth and believe the more exposure I get to such material the quicker I can develop as a person and the quicker I will reach my goals.

However, lately this has turned from feeling refreshed every time I receive and read such emails to being rather irritated. The thing is, I am all about helping people become better and improve themselves, but does everything we do these days have to be about the economic downturn?

Every other seminar or workshop or fair or corporate event is about making it in "this economic environment" or "the economic downturn." Don't get me wrong, I think what is taught and discussed at such events is extremely useful and relevant and does help a lot of people at the end of the day. What I find bad about it is the notion that now that the global economy is bad, it is time to learn some new skill or gain some new and empowering insight into life that will suddenly turn the tables for you.

Let me illustrate my point with a simple analogy. Suppose you are a fisherman on a reasonably sized boat. Before you go out on your boat to fish, you will have to think about your safety should you be caught in an undesirable accident out in the deep waters. God forbid that that should happen, but as a professional and experienced fisherman you know that you have to prepare for the worst even though you hope for the best.

So you have several options should your boat sink. You can swim if you know how to. You can jump on the life boat that you came with in the event of something like this happening. You can put on a life jacket, jump in the water and wait for help to arrive. These are very simple options and ones that any prudent person would think about before going on such a fishing trip.

Now let me tell you what bad planning and timing would be in such a situation: It would be the wrong time to start thinking about what your options when you are out in the deep water and your boat starts sinking. That is not the time to try and get someone to teach you how to swim. That is not the time to think about buying a life jacket. It is definitely not the time to think about carrying a life boat. If you do not know how to swim, don't have a life jacket and don't have a life boat when your boat sinks you are definitely gone. The only way you would make it out of such a desperate situation alive is if a miracle were to happen.

Now let's suppose that boat is the economy. When the economy starts to sink is not the best time to start thinking about learning how to start and run a business. It is not the best time to learn about investing and it is not the best time to learn "amazing secrets" that will make you an instant success and millionaire. By that time, it is too late for a lot of people.

I say this with the utmost sympathy and respect for those that have been adversely affected by the current economic circumstances. But it is the hard truth and one which many have, unfortunately, learnt the hard way. Hopefully, it is a mistake they will learn from and not repeat again.

That is what has been irritating me about all those emails and offers - that they try to make it seem like some new discovery has just taken place as a result of the economic crisis and that it holds the key to succeeding in such times. The principles of success are the same as has always been and they are applicable in any circumstance. If you learn the right things at the right time for the right reasons, whether the economy is up or down, you will survive and succeed come rain or shine.

Secondly, the economic situation seems to have become the reason for doing everything we do these days. It seems to have become the reason to learn about business and how to be successful and how to live a fulfilling life. Should we not aspire for those things regardless of the economic environment?

Realise that the best and right time to learn such things is always NOW. No one should have to be threatened with an economic crisis in order to learn and do things that are in their best interest in the long run. Actually if someone is not so inclined in the first place even a harsh economy is unlikely to convince them that they need to do so.

Those that have taken the time over the years to develop themselves and to learn new things are more likely to be settled and have peace of mind right now because they are able to quickly assess the situation and what their options are in any given circumstance. They are adaptable, because they have disciplined themselves to think and behave in a certain way in accordance with their empowered mindset.

Those that started businesses when they were working and had the resources to do so may now fall back on those businesses as they lose their jobs. Some may have even quit their jobs before the economic crisis and now enjoy that independence, knowing that their life and well being is not in someone else's hands, but in their own.

Perhaps then, I should not be so irked at receiving such emails. I am sure that there are many out there that may not have seen the need for personal development and empowerment before the economy took such a turn. Perhaps now they have realised that their best asset is themselves and that they need to do something to develop it.

That may just be the miracle of that sinking boat - that you realise how vulnerable you have been and how dependent you have been on others. That now you will do all you can to take control of your life in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. Then perhaps those messages are for you.

If you have not been adversely affected, do not rest on your laurels. Keep moving forward.

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Dr. Moses Simuyemba has 1 articles online

Dr. Moses Simuyemba is a medical doctor, life coach and entrepreneur. He has built several websites and enjoys helping others turn their hobbies, knowledge and experience into their own successful online business that earns them extra money. It is a great way to be an entrepreneur and financially independent. If you're interested in learning more about this visit

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Surviving the Sinking Boat

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This article was published on 2010/04/01