Saturday, 9 June 2012

What you can learn from the wave of suicides in Europe (Part 4 of 6)

Losing your job or your business during an economic recession is an extremely unpleasant experience, but it has happened to millions of people in history and will continue to happen to millions of people in the future. Those disasters are in fact everyday events in most countries of the world.

Fashions change and can drive some companies into bankruptcy. Well-meaning but incompetent managers sometimes drive their businesses into the ground and cause thousands of employees to lose their jobs. Bad decisions can ruin investors, cities, and whole countries. That is all too regrettable, but that's simply life.

My point is that you need to adopt measures to ensure that you will be able to survive even if the worst happens to you. You should definitely not wait until you are already caught in the trap, with all doors closed and all your resources exhausted.

The extreme short-term thinking that dominates our culture is leading millions of people to act irrationally and expose themselves to disproportionate risks that they could have easily avoided. 

A low rate of personal savings is on most occasions the direct cause of the desperate situations that make people view suicide as the only possible option. Financial pressure, coupled with a low level of psychological resilience, form the explosive cocktail that explains the recent wave of suicides in Europe.

Our task here is to examine the tragic events and draw conclusions that can help you improve your life. The suicide prevention hot-line numbers mentioned in the New York Times article published on 15 April 2012 are, in my view, unlikely to make things better. 

The best approach to prevent desperate financial situations is simply to have a back-up plan, an alternative to the baseline, an option that you can use when everything else fails.

At the same time, it will certainly benefit you to do everything you can to increase your psychological resilience. The acquisition of a steady character and a well-integrated philosophy is the best present that you can make yourself, a present that is going to allow you to thrive in good times and stay afloat when the situation becomes worrying.


[Image by jtillery under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]