The last two weeks have seen me lose a lot of cash. I went heavy into crypto a few months ago, and the market has seen a much-needed adjustment.
The first day was tough, I entered panic mode, and viewed the crash as a personal crisis. Some of my friends are still in panic mode, but my head feels a lot clearer.
I think what separates our reaction to bad or traumatic events is whether we choose to view them as crises or events.
Whether it’s losing a job, a relationship or cash we all have the choice on how to view the situation we find ourselves in.
Not being diversified
If you have a farm with 10 chickens and one of them gets taken by the fox, you’ll probably not view this as a crisis. On the other hands, if you have only one cow and it spontaneously keels over, you may be more inclined to see it as a crisis.
After every market crash, workers in the financial sector commit suicide at much higher-than-average rates. The problem – they are not diversified. When they get let go, they don’t just lose their jobs, they lose everything. Their social network, their purpose, their status. Every single element that contributes and kind of meaning to their life is taken away from them. What to live for then?
This is the problem with investing all your energy into your career and work life, especially if you operate in a highly specialised industry or job role, you are putting yourself in a very fragile position, one black swan event and everything could be gone.
You see this problem a lot with old men. The statistics on the number of elderly gents that die within a year of their wife dying are shocking. Meanwhile, women tend to keep going a lot longer. The hypothesis for this phenomenon is that (traditionally, but hopefully this is changing) women are much better at maintaining social connections and roles in society than men are, so when a man’s wife dies he doesn’t really have much to live for, he’s not diversified in his sources of meaning. Women, on the other hand, have other areas of their life that provide meaning, so they keep going.
So yeah, take a look at your life, if a vast proportion of your meaning is derived from one source, whether that be a job, person, or pursuit, you may be at a much higher risk of viewing an event as a crisis.