You’ve been gifted two epic warning shots – jabs – that most likely stunned you, but haven’t taken you out of the game.
120,000 American lives, and 450,000 lives globally, have been taken from a virus that could have been contained. Since it's onset, I've been fortunate to be in a country that has experienced less than 500 total cases and zero deaths, due to swift and bold actions taken.
But businesses worldwide are now reopening, and people are congregating again, many without protection.
Alas, summer has all but arrived, and with it, the probability of a reduced virus half-life and rate of spread. And you’re well enough to read this, which is truly a blessing.
This was your first warning shot. It likely came as a shock. If you close your eyes now, if you become complacent, you may not see the knockout punch to come.
In 1918 The Spanish Flu infected over 500 million people worldwide (1/3 of the world), and took somewhere in the order of 20 to 50 MILLION lives.
The world did survive it, largely due to social distancing. So there is room for optimism, yes.
But the story bears marked resemblance to one we’re seeing unfold. In 1918, the Flu surfaced in winter, as did Covid19. And while it reigned hell at that time, it did subside with warmer weather in Spring/Summer. As it subsided, people became complacent, and returned to business as usual, social gatherings, chasing that green.
Sounds great, right? The worst is behind us?
Unfortunately, the Spanish Flu used that window of complacency – when symptoms were contained due to warmer temperatures and strengthened immunities – to tacitly spread across the globe. It took most of those lives taken in the Fall/Winter of that year.
The second wave of Covid could be contained, say prominent virologists. But it won’t be. It's becoming glaringly apparent that short term private freedoms will outweigh long term public health and safety.
This has put a strain on everyone’s sense of certainty, their personal finances, job security, and most likely, their mental (if not physical) health and mental outlook.
In rapid, swashbuckling response, with sword sharpened and insight dulled, the FED has created more money in the shortest period of time than any time ever. EVER. They did this to allay (or postpone) the risk of the greatest economic depression in 100 years.
This kicked the can of economic collapse down the road a few months, and may be rocket fuel for an unreasonable stock market melt up to all time highs in the interim, as the rapidly expanded monetary supply looks for a place to settle. But we know this playbook.
There are no free lunches. Bubbles pop.
And to add insult to injury, if you do survive the coming economic depression, one seemingly parried for now, every dollar you’ve ever saved will be worth a fraction of its current value in due time as inflation skyrockets.
The March market crash was a warning shot – a jab.
Nobody knows who’s swimming naked until the tides go out. With mounting bankruptcies and pandemic induced crippled cash flow we know what’s likely to be the knockout punch.
Many want to feel weightless, but in their paradigms weightlessness (or happiness or peace) is framed as a gentle path, one of immediate realization – a stress-free pursuit of rainbows and self-love.
The way of the warrior-monk has rarely offered a more timely critique of that paradigm. The path we have ahead isn’t going to be one we know how to navigate. It will require grit and fortitude that makes the chaos navigators of yesteryear look like pansies.
Some of you may read this letter as fear mongering. As pessimistic. But to be clear, I'm not presenting said risks with certainty. This is a probability conversation. If one is told, upon arriving at the airport, that ONLY one in 100 flights WILL crash that day, not many of us would patiently wait to board our flight. We'd head home and reduce the risk.
What is the risk of a super contagious virus wreaking more havoc this Fall/Winter, and/or the risk of a leaky ship of an economy – one that needs steroid cash injections to remain afloat – sinking?
It's greater than 1%, and in the opinion of yours truly, deserves conscientious attention, and strategies that consider multiple possible outcomes.
I know there are peacemakers with tiger blood among you. And I know you fucking get it. If the plus 1% brutal outcome doesn't materialize, we can be sure business as usual will be a higher beta version of what we're used to, one with substantial volatility and uncertainty.
Because you've been gifted not one, but two, epic warning shots. Jabs.
There are two ways to address extreme volatility:
Fill your pockets with more (develop your strengths – mentally, physically, and financially).
Sew the tears in your pockets that are bleeding coin (address your weaknesses – mentally, physically, and financially).
While the first option is the sexiest, it’s the second one that kills you in times of uncertainty. And fortunately, it’s the easier of the two to address methodically.
We can always try to capitalize on opportunities provided when hellfire reigns, but it won’t matter if you don’t address your risk exposure. If every dollar you earn falls through leaky pockets, and if the mind-body training (or lack thereof) you engage in doesn’t address your threshold to stress (physical and emotional), your mental stability and fear, and your gut or structural weaknesses (pain or injury), then you’re swimming naked, my dear friend, and the tides are going out.
This misplaced attention is akin to preparing for a fight with Mike Tyson by focusing on your power punch and neglecting your defense. Sure, you may hit him a few times, you may even get lucky and knock the monster out, which would indeed be the sexiest of outcomes. But if he lands one, just one punch, your optimistic ass is laid out. You may get back up, but I guarantee you’ll have no fight left in you.
In practical terms, what can you do to combat complacency and fortify yourself of the impending knockout punch? What can you do to ensure this window is one of epic preparation, so that when the dust settles and the tides return, you’re in a position to take advantage of unprecedented opportunities?
Start the day with discomfort. A mental or physical act of rebellion against your self-centered nature. This small act of discipline – twenty minutes of meditation or a few sets of resistance training – will, pardon my language, train the bitch out of you. Cold showers, fasting, and social media detoxes can all have similarly profound affects. Waking up one our before your comfort window and facing the quiet without any distraction will prepare you to stand alone when it matters.
Take on a little more today than you did yesterday. Complacency is not only a symptom of lack, but also a symptom of stagnation. Our most resilient selves are not only born of relative strength and well-being, but in strength and fortitude cultivated by the practice of facing and overcoming uphill battles – ones where the goal posts are continuously moving away from you, and there is no respite of arrival.
Sew your pockets. Reduce your exposure to risk whereever you can. If income ceases, where can you cut expenses and liabilities to survive six months to a year if nothing changes? If you have physical pain or discomfort, or suboptimal health however defined, what can you do today and ongoing to reduce the risk of deterioration. For when the storms come, small tears become big holes. All things break down in volatility.
Warning shots have been fired, my dear friend. You’ve been hit with a few jabs. I feel you. Let them open your eyes and focus your mind in preparation for the knockout blow that you CAN overcome.
Who does the virus hit hardest? The immunocompromised.
Who will economic depression devastate? Those with the greatest debt obligations and the smallest savings.
Who will thrive amongst it all?
The weightless warrior with peace in their heart and war in their mind. Those who balance connection and discipline. Those who tap their tiger blood and optimize their mental and physical health by taking on the shield of daily discomfort, and the sword of wokeness.
Willful ignorance – complacency – will devastate multitudes this Winter.
You won’t be among them. You WILL be prepared.
With much love and weightless wishes,
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