Take it slow(er)
The past decade has been one of growth. Very good growth. Most of us think that everything has to keep going in just one direction – up. Much like a Moore’s law for life. Those who have been here in 2008 (or in 2000, or in 1987, or many times earlier) know that this is not possible. Markets can crash, badly, business can go bankrupt (sometimes collectively), job losses can be in the thousands, things can get very tough.
In fact, most economists are of the opinion that a huge recession is just around the corner. Prices have begun to rise, and so have interest rates. There can be troubling times ahead.
What goes up, must come down…and what comes down, must rise again. Life is cyclical, not linear.
When in good times, make the best of it. When in bad times…make the best of it. As the saying goes – you either make money, or experience. Take a step back and re-evaluate.
Your best ideas come through when your mind is empty – when you daydream, not when you are too busy to even listen to yourself. Many good businesses were born in 2009, after the crash of 08. That only happened because some people took it slower, went back to the drawing board, looked at things holistically and came up with solutions. I personally know two companies, one of which is a real estate brokerage, that was set up in 2008-09, when the real estate market crashed in Dubai. Starting in the real estate business when everyone was on the way out was probably a crazy thing to do, but they did it. Maybe because they sensed an opportunity in doing it better than what was prevalent at that time, or they had a deeper confidence in the recovery of the market. The reason is not that important now – it worked.
Pushing hard against a brick wall doesn’t help – walk around and you may just find that door.
Re-evaluation does not stop just with work. Relook at all aspects of your life. Are you happy living the way you are? What would you change, if given the chance? A lot of people started to work from home during COVID, and now when businesses are asking them to return, they don’t want to. They found a better way to organize how to make a living.
Use these times to search for methods in which you can alter your life in a way that you are better at the end of it. You may not be able to start on a new path right away, but you can at least recognise the way ahead, and lay the groundwork.
A friend of mine lost his job at the DIFC (a premium financial center in Dubai) in 08. A decade of investment banking experience with the firm and laid redundant in a few weeks. He took that step back. Instead of lamenting the loss or complaining about the lack of jobs in the market, he decided to think about what he really wanted to do with his life. Was he really happy selling complicated products to rich people, did that really excite him and make him feel fulfilled at the end of the day?
The answer was no. And so he decided to follow his passion. Today, he owns a premium restaurant in Dubai, doing what he loves, and enjoying every single moment of it. Tough times can sometimes be the trigger to fulfil a larger purpose.