Life is certainly one thing: uncertain. Just when we think we can settle in for a minute, something comes along and tries to unsettle us. Just when we think we have a grasp of something, it can slip through our hands or be ripped from our tight clenches. Just as we climb the highest mountain in our view, we find that a higher mountain was hidden behind it all along. That is the great and magical and unmanageable force of life – that we are not in control of what happens next. But we are in control of how we deal with the things that face us now. And how we deal with things now is usually a matter of which perspective we take towards the difficulties and uncertainties of life; are they burdens or are they opportunities?
In our personal lives, how many times have we used the phrase “I have to…”, instead of “I get to…?” It doesn’t matter what the situation, having the former perspective means one looks at life’s challenges as burdensome, having the latter perspective means that one looks at life’s challenges as riddled with opportunity. Which perspective do you take? Do you have to go the gym, or do you get to go to the gym? Do you have to manage all of your obligations, or do you get to manage them? Do have to cook dinner, or do you get to cook it?
I don’t want to seem trite about life’s bigger difficulties; there are things that happen to all of us that challenge us in extreme ways. But even in those situations, the opportunity can often exist for us to learn, to grow, to feel pain, to overcome ourselves, or to simply find a way to accept our reality and gain some peace. However, most of the time, we can “get to” go through the things we go through if that’s the mindset we choose to adopt.
With the financial markets fluctuating the way they have in the last couple of weeks, I am reminded about what a great opportunity market uncertainty presents. It presents the opportunity to educate investors about risk, it allows for open discussion about reallocation or commitment to the current strategy, it creates a perfect opportunity to instill a sense of urgency around professional advice, and it allows for advisors to assert themselves as the captains of their ships – the makers of important decisions that help guide their client’s financial lives through the storms of uncertainty.
How great of an opportunity is that? Here are few movie quotes that come to mind…
“Great moments are born from great opportunity.” – Kurt Russell in The Miracle
“Being comfortable is over-rated” – Clint Eastwood in Trouble With the Curve
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – Sir Laurence Olivier in Hamlet
“One must be brave if one is to take the wheel” – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady