Saturday, April 11, 2009

When Crisis Breeds Opportunity

I find today's Dilbert to be particularly relevant to something I've been wanting to write about.   Life is wavy.  There are going to be ups and downs.  The hope for most is that the up times are bigger and lasts longer than the down times.  I have found that the people who are generally the happiest in life are those who do not let their mood deviate too far from their average levels.  That is, people who do not get too happy when times are too good or too sad when times are bad.

I am someone who is really happy with his life.  A lot of this has to do with the fact that I never let the bad times dictate my outlook on life.  In fact, I make sure to look for the hidden opportunities.  I did so recently when my company had its last round of layoffs.  While times may have seemed bleak because it was our second round of layoffs in about six months, it was a great opportunity for me personally to rally the team together and demonstrate how execution was more important now than ever.  Similar things happened to me two jobs ago when I was able to translate the layoff of my entire division into a me acquiring new responsibilities and opportunities to growth.  This lead to my eventual promotion to development manager and the created the launching point for my career growth.

I view the same thing with the current economic crisis.  While I am not using it to try and attract women (I already took care of that one), I am using my relative financial strength to take once in a lifetime opportunities.  While I remain bearish on the overall market,  I do think people need to be looking for pockets of strength that still exists.  There are always bright sides to any crisis, and this one is no different.

Just look at this rally we are experiencing right now.  I do not think it will last but if you got in at the right time, you would have seen a 25% rise in your portfolio in the matter of a few weeks.  In normal markets, gains like this could take years.  It is impossible to time the market perfectly, but even if you only got part of these gains, you would be set for the year.  I have one position that has doubled during this rally.  Do you realize how crazy it is to get a double in a few weeks?

So whatever your personal situation is, find a way to take advantage when others are panicking.  You will find that the times that make the biggest difference in your life will be when you keep a level head when others do not.

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