The markets are crashing. You might be feeling anxious, worried about how you going to weather this financial crisis, what you should *do* (or not??) to protect you and your family.
I will tell you.
If you build an airplane out of legos, and the airplane comes apart -- well it is very disappointing, you might feel crushed if you've worked very hard on it -- but you can still build a new airplane because you still have the legos. Sure, it's not an airplane until it's assembled, but the legos themselves are intact. When the airplane falls apart, it's time to make sure we don't lose any of the legos. We can even gather more legos, get them organized, and start snapping those guys together for the rebuild.
That's what intangible assets are: the legos.
Those are not only the aspects of life that we truly can't do without, those are the blocks from which productivity is built and risk is managed. Examples of intangible assets are social relationships, trust, teamwork, knowledge, health, environmental resilience... the list goes on. Take stock of those things. Treasure them and build upon them.
And the economy will recover, because those building blocks, like legos, are still here in a very real way.
So, do this:
- Build social assets: Build positive relationships. Reconnect with people you genuinely enjoy spending time with. Reach out to new people. Help others who don't have much to rebuild with. Help the elderly who won't have time to wait out. Protect your friendships. Have the courage to maintain a positive outlook during a time of misfortune. Don't argue, turn on each other, or let fear or panic guide your behavior.
- Build knowledge assets: While listening to other people, learn a little. Read what other people have to say; imagine things from their perspective. Of course, it's always a good idea to learn new things, just like it's always a good idea to behave honorably.
- Build physical assets: Maintain health, both physical and emotional. Get whatever it is taken care of. Keep your sick kids home until they're no longer contagious. Make choices that benefit environmental health.
- Build spiritual assets: Enjoy the arts: music, reading, whatever you prefer. Enjoy nature. Become grounded and connected with the teachings of the religion of your choice.
You may think, "Lovely. But what the heck am I supposed to do with what remains of my money?"
The answer is to do the same thing. Invest in building blocks. Will the financial ROI be good? Will it even be positive? That, I don't know, and even for successful investments it will depend on the time frame. But I do know this: If you are going to invest, carefully investing in areas that will benefit the ability of the world to solve problems and be productive will build the ability for the economy to recover.
- Invest in technologies centered not only on energy production and efficiency, but on sensor and separations technologies (like filtration).
- Invest in approaches that facilitate community cohesion, problem-solving, and the formation of partnerships and groups.
- Invest in knowledge growth within schools and beyond.
There is a lot to do.