"Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rigid or Flexible Capitalist -What the Coming Economic Downturn Requires of You

"Markets crashing, Armageddon, it's never been this bad!" These are some of the resounding headlines around Newswires. When Gabriel's trumpet is the sound of the Wall Street bell...who do we call on for help? My choice is our good ol' American pal Ralph Waldo Emerson. I can here the sarcastic "oh boy" already...but hold on a second; let me explain. You see there are a couple of things that we can take from our long deceased friend.

First thing is Self-Reliance(self sufficient/effective). Now, of course we are a vastly interconnected society, and economic downturns can effect us in several ways. However, I chant the principle of Self-Reliance because this is what gives us the ability individually to become more capable. Evolutionary Theory has taught us that the more adaptable the organism, the better it will survive any changes. The more specialized (one-dimensional) an organism is the more vulnerable it becomes. Thus, any change to its environment can potentially cause its annihilation.

I use this as an analogy for our own selves. The more we can embrace Self-Reliance, the more we increase our adaptability. Take for instance the Wall Street Banker that specializes in Mortgage Backed Securities. That is a pretty specific specialty - the equivalent to a turtle in the animal kingdom. The equivalence I refer to is the fact that both the turtle and the banker can only function in a very limited sphere/environment. If that environment becomes threatened, than their existence becomes compromised.

Now, lets take another example. A professional Sales Person. A highly skilled sales person can work selling everything from fruit baskets - to selling the masses in voting for him/her as the next president. Sure, I'm extending the utility of a sales person, however, selling a fruit basket effectively requires one to adapt to your clients. To sell a nation on your competence as a politician requires adaptability to opinions, polls, and peoples concerns. The equivalent to a virus or bacteria in the biological world - not in the bad sense; in the sense of adaptability. So Emerson's long forgotten Self-Reliance essay would be a good wake me up for the common capitalist. Take a lesson from nature and be the tree that bends with the hurricane and remains standing. Not the rigid oak that cracks and breaks.

- Angel Armendariz
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"We are all in Sales. Period." - Tom Peters