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Shift your Focus during Troubling Times

Posted on | October 6, 2008

While observing the recent turmoil in the financial markets, watching the political debates, and seeing unrest around the world, it has been interesting to see how Americans — and the entire world community — react.

I have had several radio interviews during the past few weeks in which the interviewers always wanted to know my advice for dealing with the current troubling state of affairs.

My best and simplest advice applies to life in general, and it might surprise some people. I would urge everyone to stop worrying specific events, losses and difficulties. Rather, focus on being grateful.

Whenever there is “bad news,” I try to focus on the positive. It doesn’t do any good to complain. Complaining attracts negative thoughts and people.

Gratitude allows your confidence, faith and hope to be nurtured and grow. When you exercise faith and hope, you’ll discover that new opportunities will emerge, and you will open yourself to the best possible consequences.

It is impossible for faith and fear to occupy the human heart simultaneously. Whenever I am feeling fearful about anything, I take it as a signal that I need to exercise more faith. Sure enough, when I do so, fear is dispelled.

We are constantly being bombarded with bad news through the media. I have worked to train myself to see bad circumstances differently — when something arises that most of the world would view as a threat, I see it as an opportunity.

Try doing this whenever a crisis happens in your life. Ask yourself, “What do I know from experience that will help me, and others, deal with this crisis?”

You will be energized. You will see yourself focusing on what matters most — on your relationships, on creating value, on new opportunities, on progress, on who you can be, and on what you can do for others. You will forget about what’s missing and begin focusing on what’s available.

As a result, you will find out that the world rewards usefulness, and people will compensate you in some form for your wisdom and advice.

For example, as a result of coming through my own financial crisis in my early years, for more than three decades I have advised people to separate the equity from their home to maintain liquidity, safety of principle, and earn a rate of return.

I have also recommended that people avoid putting put their serious cash — home equity, IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement funds — into variable investments like the stock market, but rather in maximum-funded, tax-advantaged equity-indexed life insurance contracts with highly-rated insurance companies.

Our clients who have done this have not lost any of the principal on their money during the recent severe downturn in the real estate or stock markets, because their money was not trapped in those places.

They continue to have liquid cash available for emergencies and can readily handle a higher mortgage payment, a temporary job loss or any other curve ball that this economy may throw at them.

Because of this, I continually receive comments and letters of gratitude for the advice given, and clients have been referring their friends and relatives to our firm.

Our business continues to thrive during these otherwise tenuous times.

Why? Because we have been able to create new opportunities to help people overcome their greatest fears, seize their greatest opportunities, and harness their greatest strengths. I am grateful for the trust and confidence that people have placed in us.

As Zig Ziglar has always said, “Help enough other people get what they want, and you will have everything in life that you want.”

I wish you all the best as you look for opportunities in difficult circumstances, dispel fear with faith, and maximize your financial potential through strategic planning.

Doug Andrew

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*Life insurance policies are not investments and, accordingly, should not be purchased as an investment

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