How to survive in an unpredictable world
Life is unpredictable. It has always been.
Somehow we’ve bought into the illusion of control: we cling on to the few things that appear to be solid in order to find solace in this (dis)organized chaos.
We get a degree, get a job, get married, get a mortgage, buy a house and these become the solid foundation in which we build the structure of our life.
But nothing is solid
It’s just an illusion
Your house can crumble anytime
Your job…well, no illusions here, right?
Your marriage, 50/50
And so it goes with the economy, society, liberties, money and so on.
It’s all a house of cards we’ve been building for centuries and it can crumble anytime.
Hopefully it won’t, but as a mental exercise it would be very beneficial to think it might.
Knowing that everything is fragile can prepare you for any situation.
…as we speak
Nobody knows what’s going to happen. This situation is unprecedented.
We’ve never been great at dealing with crises but this one is going to be the mother of all crises. We are in uncharted territory.
All these politicians and economists, who are supposed to be the experts, only have one trump card; print more money.
I’m no economist but… printing money?! Really? It’s that all they got?
Making more Monopoly bills is not working in Venezuela or Zimbabwe…but hey! It might work here! You never know.
Money has no intrinsic value, it’s just a medium of exchange. The more you print, the less it’s worth. A cappuccino in Zimbabwe costs 360,000 ZWD. One needs a sack full of money to pay for it. And tomorrow it will be even more expensive.
If that’s all they’ve got we are F***d
There is going to be massive unemployment. The perfect storm has been cooking for a long time and the Covid19 came as a final blow to a fragile system.
Companies are always looking to streamline and now they have the perfect opportunity. Work as we know it has gone forever.
Most companies have realized by now that teleworking is a real possibility and that could save them a lot of money.
All these fancy buildings in city centers belonging to JP Morgan and Citibank are going to be empty for a while until someone finds them an alternative use.
Same for those retail spaces downtown. If they were in trouble before, this is going to be worse.
This industry is going to suffer the biggest blow. People won’t be traveling for a while.
Besides government recommendations, people won’t have enough money to spend on something superfluous like visiting Italy or Niagara falls.
Most of tourism is overrated anyway — Just a bunch of people in Hawaiian shirts following a guy with an umbrella.
There is a bleak future for universities. High fees in exchange for no value and online competition are going to redefine education.
Those old dinosaurs with huge costs and no flexibility are going to disappear. Don’t let your child go to college.
So, what now?
Like any crisis this is also going to bring many opportunities but to be able to benefit from them we have to change our mindset.
You are not longer an employee
Employee mentality is very fragile. You learn some skills, go through an interview, do what you are told, get paid what they want, and when you are no longer needed you are out.
There is no agency, no bargaining power, you are completely at the mercy of your employer.
We’ve been brainwashed into believing that this was a good deal. Now we have abruptly been woken up by reality.
For most, it is going to be dramatic, for others not so much. The difference is the mindset. Those who think that this is a temporary situation, that it will pass and eventually things will return to normal are in denial. And denial is a bad place to be right now.
But those who have a growth mindset will adapt quickly and do well.
It’s time to grow up
Now it’s the perfect time to reinvent yourself, to develop your personal brand, to learn how to sell.
Here’s some ways to achieve this:
- Freelance. You will still be working for others, technically speaking, but at least you’ll have more options. Instead of just one boss you will have many.
- Online business. Selling digital products, online courses, content creation, writing, photography, YouTuber, podcast, etc. Also, selling physical products on Amazon FBA, Etsy, eBay, drop-shipping, arbitrage, etc
- Traditional business. There are a number of traditional businesses that will remain in place and even thrive during and after this crisis. People still need to eat, get dressed, etc. Organic farming, beekeeping, sewing, repairing, recycling, artisans, cooking etc
The Characteristics of any business that will survive this crisis are:
- Low fixed costs. Most costs should be variable. Don’t buy, rent. Don’t employ, outsource.
- Flexibility. The ability to be nimble and to move where the opportunity arises is vital to surviving in terms of uncertainty
- Continuous learning and developing
- Lean startup
At a personal level
This is also an opportunity to reinvent yourself at a personal and family level.
For this the following characteristics are important:
- Flexibility. Don’t buy a house or a car, rent. Get rid of most of your possessions. Be ready to move anywhere on a whim. Only invest in liquid assets.
- Learn all the skills you can. There is no excuse now, you can learn anything for free. You never know when it may be handy.
But don’t go to college. It’s not worth its while.
- Become self-sufficient. Rent a place with some land and grow your own veggies and raise chickens. Install solar energy. Become a handyman. Learn how to fix stuff
- Become thrifty. There are very few things you need in order to survive. Get rid of the dead weight and use whatever you got left to the max
- Invest any cash left in Bitcoin
Covid-19 is going to accelerate the trend that’s been happening for some time now.
Governments, companies, and the public had been too complacent for a long time. Now it’s time to wake up and reinvent yourself.
It won’t be easy for anyone but it will be especially hard for those who try to hold on to the old mindset.
These are new and exciting times. Finally we will be tested in our ability to survive in uncharted territory.
It’s time to return to basics and to live a life with more agency, with more freedom, and with less stress.
This could be the best thing ever that happened to you, your family, and the planet.
Now get off you butt and start something…now.