I am reminded of what Michel Eyquem De Montaigne said with tongue in cheek during the French Renaissance 450 years ago, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
As expected, we received a firestorm of email 2 weeks ago as a result of the Monday Morning Memo of March 2 in which I said I had chosen not to be fearful about the future. It seems that a lot of people take pleasure in fretting and they want me to get on board.
But a frightened person frightens other people. And these newly frightened people will frighten still more people until finally no one is spending any money. Fear is the fuel of recession. I understand perfectly what’s happening in the world. I simply choose not to be afraid.
You can choose, too. We are worth more than many sparrows.
Warren Buffett agrees with this outlook.
“Fear is very contagious. You can get fearful in 5 minutes, but you don’t get confident in 5 minutes.” – Warren Buffett on CNBC, Monday, March 9, 2009
CNBC: “We’ve been getting thousands and thousands of emails from our viewers. Warren, we’d like to start with one that echoes a theme we heard again and again. This one comes from Terry in San Antonio, Texas, who asks, ‘Will everything be all right?’”
BUFFETT: “Everything will be all right. We do have the greatest economic machine that man has ever created. We started with 4 million people back in 1790 and look where we’ve come. And it wasn’t because we were smarter than other people. It wasn’t because our land was more fertile or we had more minerals or our climate was more favorable. We had a system that worked. It unleashed the human potential. It didn’t work every year. We had 6 ‘panics’ in the 19th century. In the 20th century we had the Great Depression, World Wars, all kinds of things. But we have a system – largely free market, rule of law, equality of opportunity – all of those things that cause the potential of humans to get unleashed. And we’re far from done. Your kids will live better than mine. Your grandchildren will live better than your kids. There’s no question about that. But the machine gets gummed up from time to time. If you take the bulk of those centuries, probably 15 years were bad years. But we go forward.”
Did you notice the quote the twitchy news people of America lifted from Buffett’s very upbeat, 3-hour interview? They filtered out all kinds of affirming, positive statements (such as the one above) to create the headline, “Warren Buffett Says ‘The Economy Fell Off a Cliff.”
Slippery Wall-Streeters triggered this recession but the twitchy news media seems committed to making sure it progresses.
And now for happier news: Wizard Academy has contacted the person I consider to be the best in America at making BIG things happen quickly. Within the next few weeks I hope to announce the dates of a special, 2-day workshop that will allow you to interact with this marketing giant in person. I’ve never met him but I’ve read his books and I look forward to having him on campus. Are there any big things you'd like to make happen quickly?
When that announcement is made, you’ll want to act quickly. There are only 100 seats available in Tuscan Hall and many more than that will want to attend this event. It will likely be the most profitable thing any of us do in 2009.
And now for a final thought: Fear is contagious. Don’t spread it. And if you meet any twitchy, fear mongering news weasels, slap them and say, “Stop it. Stop it right now.”
They’ll know what it’s for.
Roy H. Williams
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April 15-16 in Tuscan Hall, Wizard Academy, Austin, Texas. $1,400 for first-time students. $700 for Acadgrads. Register early and we'll provide a room at no charge in Engelbrecht House for you. You're going to love our student mansion.