Friday, January 2, 2009

"How To Remain Hopeful In The Midst of the Worst Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression" (2)

First and foremost, it is clear that there are no immediate solutions for fixing the current financial crisis; nor is there a magic wand we can wave to stabilize the national and global economy which may give us back our jobs, our homes and restore our financial state of well being. So what then? HOW should we respond to this economic crisis? What we need to do above all as Americans is to have faith, faith in God and faith in our capacity to deal with and overcome each challenge that we are confronted with. The United States has passed through several notable financial crisis, such as the ones in 1815,1819,1837, 1857,1869, 1873, 1893, 1901 and 1907, with the exception of 1837, 1893 and 1929.These years were defined as "major depressions because of the depth and duration of the collapse . Some attribute these panics to overexpansion and debts, overextended notes and discounts, overinvestment and falling prices, etc.

The Roaring Twenties were prosperous years, where Americans spent money recklessly. It was a unique dramatic era in all of its aspect. "America was enjoying an era of great prosperity." Economic expansion created booming business profits which in turn raised the standard of living for most Americans.

By 1928 everyone was singing praises to the glory days of America. It was a time when American businessmen and economists were feeling overly confident that the erratic fluctuations in the business cycle were finally under control. They were not even curious about the terrible sense of foreboding of some impending doom that was looming over the nation like a black cloud. Little did they know at the time that this would be a rude awakening for the "American Dream" of many, which they undoubtedly would be caught unprepared.

In Wall street you would find the most daring and shrewd intellect of the nation who could produce a panic in an instant and shake the world's foundation. No man can tell one week whether he would be a beggar or a millionaire the next. While one man made a fortune by a sudden rise in stocks or gold, one thousand would be ruined. Even the soundest and best established firms fell with a crash under these sudden reverses. The image of the once powerful, self-confident, successful men walking briskly to and fro is obviously replaced by one of nervous pacing, distress and cries of despair as they witness the crumbling of their world. Much of their failure was attributed to stock speculations, business deals gone wrong and extravagant living. Unable to cope with their losses, there are those that have suffered nervous breakdowns, heart attacks, or committed suicide, leaving their families financially unprotected and homeless.

The Panic of 1929 and the ensuing depression were the most terrible the nation had ever suffered. "The stock market crash on October 23, 1929 wiped out an average of more than a billion dollars worth of paper values a day. A staggering total of 15 million were unemployed, and those who continued to work did so under greatly reduced wage scales." The flow of capital into productive enterprise slowed down to a trickle. The country was suffering from under consumption not overproduction. Banks were weighted down with government bonds, real estate mortgages based on greatly appreciated valuations, and highly speculative securities. Although, each of these crisis with its unpleasant consequences culminated in "Hard Times" for the American people, the country still survived, returning to business as usual, resuming its former prosperity and growth, yet ignoring the lessons of the past..

However, once again, we find ourselves currently facing a new financial dilemma; this time, one of greater magnitude. Now, more than ever we are in desperate need of Faith to deal with the immense problems ahead of us and hope that there will be a "business as usual," in the near future.

The general over-all picture is looking quite dismal and apprehension has been clouding everyone's thoughts. Most people are feeling depressed and out of sorts, afraid to think of the future. The loss of income has forced many to make drastic changes to their lifestyles. Fear of the unemployment check ending or their savings being depleted is constantly before them. Yet, we cannot linger and wallow in negative attitudes and emotions. If we are to face the future with any kind of strength, the first thing we need to do is to discourage and eliminate those negative emotions driven by fear, panic, anxiety, and despair and substitute it with positive emotions. A negative mind does not inspire courage, faith or belief. "A mind dominated by positive emotions, becomes a favorable abode for the state of mind known as faith." (Napoleon Hill)

The Readers Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary defines faith as: 1) Confidence in or dependence on a person, statement, or thing as trustworthy: trust. 2) Belief without need of certain proof. 3) Belief in God or in testimony about God as recorded in Scriptures or other religious writings. Then what is hope? "Hope," is to desire with expectation of fulfillment.

The emotion of faith is the most powerful of all positive emotions. By keeping your faith strong you will believe that you can and will achieve whatever you are determined to accomplish. But if you allow the element of fear to be the dominating factor instead, then it will fill you with doubts and unbelief in your ability to connect and produce a successful outcome to whatever your situation may be. First and foremost, try starting this day by being grateful for what you DO have and give thanks for it.

To be continued: (3)

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