Obviously up is better right? Things are looking up, or if someone says, “there’s a lot of upside to this” that sounds great. Compare that to we’re on the way down, or there’s a lot of downside to this, those don’t sound so good. How about a thumbs up, great, versus thumbs down, bad.
In our financial life we want our investments to go up and we want to buy low and sell high. When things are going well it’s said that they’re looking up.
Up is not always good, however.
Have you ever ridden a bike? Up a really steep hill or a not so steep but long incline?
Up totally sucks then. When something is difficult it’s described as an uphill climb or an uphill struggle. Up doesn’t sound so good any more.
Even on a bike, up is still a good thing, however, because those uphill climbs are like interval training where you mix hard efforts with easy efforts to the overall benefit of your training and conditioning. The hard effort pushes you to realize strength you didn’t know you had, builds confidence and experience.
Down also has some positives especially on a bike as you’re able to rest or coast down hill for a while or, if you keep pedaling, increase the gearing, you’re able build speed on the downhill. Be careful if you choose to coast, however, because while that sounds like a good idea, a nice reprieve, if you coast too long you have to work even harder to build momentum again.
There’s a lot to be said for coasting when things are going well, but coasting does nothing for you as things begin heading up.
It’s all downhill from here sounds simply wonderful after riding a bike up a hill but not so good if you’re talking stocks or a business that’s gone bad.
It’s not just bike riding where up is bad and down is good. What truly matters is how you handle the ups and downs of life and business, your reaction to the varying terrain is more important than the terrain itself.
It is inevitable that the stock market will go down, not just a little, but a crash or bear market will happen at some time in your life, maybe several times. If you panic and sell, then down is indeed bad. If you stay the course and even add to your investments as others panic, then down is good as you buy low, setting yourself up for success when the eventual turnaround arrives.
This was my experience in 2008 when stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, fell 37%. I kept buying and in 2009, when the S&P 500 rose more than 26% I made back everything I had lost in 2008 and then some. That came from the experience of riding those ups and downs of previous recessions and down years. Everyone said it was different this time, but it wasn’t.
When it comes to varying terrain, starting a business is like riding rolling hills, just when you think you can coast, another incline appears out of nowhere to slow you down.
I’ve been very honest about my experience owning a business, about how it was both the best and worst experience in my life, I can say the same about some of my training for the triathlons I do. Some days I don’t want to do the workout or I’m so tired that every pedal stroke, every step running, or every stroke swimming feels harder than the last. In spite of those feelings I do the workout and I get stronger because of it.
There were days that I though my business might not make it or that it would take so much of my resources that I might not make it. Then there were days that I thought I’d finally figured it out that things were finally looking up (is that good or bad).
When a hill appears, accept the challenge and work hard to get over it. When the downhill eventually arrives, rest a bit but not too long, then start pedaling again to give yourself the speed and energy to carry you through the next challenge.