The Upsides of a Crisis: Thoughts on the Pandemic and Recession

There’s so much noise out there now. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of opinions, fears, and uncertainties. That’s also why I never really write about any current in the past.

But it’s different this time.

Two months ago, I was celebrating Chinese New Year with my family when we heard the news of the virus spreading in China. Everywhere else in the world is still fine. Today, most countries are infected, cities are in locked down, and businesses are forced to shut down.

Around mid-February, I invested in individual stocks for the first time while the market was all up, up, and up. A few days later, the fears of the coronavirus pandemic set in and the market have dropped over 20% since then — and likely will continue to drop.

It’s an unfortunate time right now. However, I’m not spread fears and pessimism. With all the bad news left and right, it’s important for us to keep pushing forward with hope and courage.

There are always upsides in a crisis. I believe when we look back five to ten years from now, this crisis will be an event that changes the world for the better.

It Pushes Humanity Forward

While there are people who hoard toilet paper for no reason and people trying to take advantage (raising the price of hand sanitizers and face masks) of the crisis, there are more people who are doing their best to help.

The frontliners who save lives and keep our society in order, the businesses who take a stand to help their employees and clients, and the people who support brands they love.

For me and you, the crisis could be a catalyst to stay in close contact with our family and friends and to support each other in ways we never used to before.

When this is over, the bond we’ve built during this tough time will stay.

It Forces Everyone to Become More Efficient

By everyone I mean every individual, business, and organization. In a crisis like this, everyone is cutting necessary waste. The net outcome is positive where we get more output from less input.

Businesses find new ways to operate at a lower cost. Organizations work on better public health measures to prevent future outbreaks. Individuals learn to tune out of noise and become more productive than ever.

Maybe you weren’t as efficient and productive you wanted to be. Now is the best time to ask yourself what you should do to get there.

It Makes Remote Work the New Norm

This is a part of how businesses and organizations get more efficient.

If you thought about working from home in the past but your employer never give you a chance, now is the time to prove yourself.

Make use of this opportunity to show your employer that 1) you’re more productive working from home, 2) she can trust you without supervision, and 3) it’s more cost effective for you to work from home.

It’s a Great Time to Buy Good Businesses

With the stock market dropped like a falling knife, there are more opportunities to invest right now.

As I always invest for the long term (10 to 30 years) with the money I don’t need in the next five years, I don’t really care how much they’ve dropped. Instead, I’m cutting my expenses now and invest more of it into the market while everything is cheap.

NOTE: I do this with a strategy and with a 6-month emergency fund set aside. Please your own research and don’t just follow what I do.

It Reveals How Prepared and Resilient You Are

As someone passionate about topics like increased performance, personal finance, psychology, philosophy, and more, I see the crisis as a test.

Am I prepared financially? Am I prepared enough mentally? Is the system I put in place crisis-proof? These are the questions I ask myself right now.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s easy to push forward, stay calm, and crush your goals when times are good. But it’s in a crisis like this, you get to know where you need to improve.

The next few weeks and months will probably be an even wilder ride.

After all, it’s a wild time to be alive. As I always think about how grateful I am to be alive with all the growth and advancement happening this time, I’m equally grateful to get the chance to experience this crazy time.

Remember, this too shall pass. And we’ll be getting out of this stronger together.

1 comment… add one
  • Genny Louise

    Thank you for your intelligent take on this virus, Dean.

    I agree with you and came to a similar conclusion. I haven’t been keeping up with the drama, as I committed to a Lenten fast from social media, which I commenced before things had really escalated here in Oz.

    I know I am blessed, because my hubby is dedicated to protecting me and keeping up with the latest developments. He copes better with the noise and drama than I do. But I am glad I did read your email and link here.

    I appreciate your compassionate approach in the emails you have sent. Bless you.

    Sincerely, Genny.

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