your philosophy, not the economy, will determine your success


That’s how most people react when I bring up economics.

I get it. 5 years ago I felt the same way.

Movies, music, travel, sports, gadgets, cars…anything but economics.

Today, I live and breathe the stuff.

It’s how I spend most of my free time.

What amazes me is that despite the incredible effect the economy has on so many people’s lives that so few people really understand it.

Here in Japan a lot has changed over the past 30 years.

From bubble to deflation.

From incredible wealth to rising unemployment.

You might think that with such drastic changes in lifestyle, people would be concerned, but when I talk to the average person on the street they seem unconcerned about it. It’s become a way of life.

However, the change in the economic landscape has changed what many women look for in a partner.

When I first came to Japan back in ’94 I heard that women looked for men with three “highs” which are pretty self-explanatory.

  1. Tall
  2. Education (ie. level of college)
  3. Income

Today it is a much different picture and it reflects the economic outlook. Today it is the three “lows” which need a little explanation.

  1. Profile – men who aren’t macho, but instead sincere and courteous, the “lady’s first” mentality is catching on and women demand more respect.
  2. Risk – stable job (ie. government position), little chance of being fired.
  3. Bound – women don’t want to be bound to being a housewife. Expect men to help out around the house and the woman can pursue her career.

It’s like night and day…and all because of this thing called the economy.

But does the economy determine our success?

Just yesterday I was talking to a lady about our future and we both expressed our concerns moving forward. She then asked me if I felt that it was not a good time to start your own business.

I told her that regardless of the economy, there will always be opportunities.

And what may surprise you is that there are often more opportunities in dark times than when the economy is humming along.

I suppose that’s because more people are looking for answers in times of economic downturn.

People are more willing to take chances because of the lack of an option.

Desperation is a very powerful motivator.

On the other hand, when things are going well, many people take the attitude of “don’t rock the boat.” Like the saying goes, “If it ain’t broken, don’t try and fix it.”

While I understand the attraction of having a safe, secure job in today’s world, an important question we must ask is – “Is there any such thing as a safe, secure job anymore?”

I don’t believe so.

So what can we do when we face hard times?

I think my mentor, Jim Rohn, said it best when he said, “The key factor that will determine your financial future is not the economy; the key factor is your philosophy.”

Among my clients, I’m well known for not accepting anything less than people’s best.

That doesn’t mean I’m not compassionate…I’m just…errrr…let’s say passionate.

And I know that through study and then the application of what we learn we are in control of our own destiny.

There will always be layoffs for any number of reasons; the economy, a fluke accident, new technology, to name just a few.

But the person who has gone above and beyond for years and has taken the time to educate him/herself will often be the last to go.

By proving yourself to the company you’re worth every penny, chances are slim you’ll find yourself out of a job regardless of what the economy does.

That being said, in spite of our best efforts there are times when regardless of our ability, the company might close.

In such cases, the person who has used their time wisely and invested it in themselves won’t have trouble finding a new job because there is always a need for competent, accurate, sincere, hard workers in every economy.

Remember, it all starts within. Develop yourself and you’ll find you can weather even the toughest of economic storms.

And believe me, over the next few years, we’ll need it.

Adrian Shepherd

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