When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Like most Collingwood supporters, I too thought we were going to walk away from the MCG on Saturday afternoon with the silverware. Collingwood lead the Eagles for 104 minutes of the game, and the Eagles lead the Pies for just 8 minutes of the entire game. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, with the Eagles ahead when it mattered.

Whether it’s football, our finances, our personal goals, or our own lives, perspective and context can help you not only understand where you stand, but also help us become far more appreciative and grateful for what we have.

Here are 8 facts that may help us appreciate the world we live in today:

  • In 1950, the number of people in extreme poverty was 75%. Today, that number sits less than 10%.
  • Child labor has been reduced by more than 50% only in the last 16 years.
  • Close to 20% of males born in the US died before their first birthday in the year 1900. Today the mortality rate doesn’t reach that high until you reach age 62.
  • What used to be reserved for the world’s elite, world literacy has increased from 35% in 1950 to more than 80% of people today.
  • Progress in health is equally as astonishing. In 1800, more than 40% of the world’s newborns would die before the age of 5. Today, that number sits at less than 5%.
  • The share of homes that had electricity in 1870 was exactly zero. Today the proportion of people with electricity is 85%.
  • Between 1950 and 2009, the rate of death in traffic accidents fell six-fold.

Here are 5 facts that may help you put the current financial market into perspective:

  • The stock market has been up 3 out of every 4 years.
  • Less than 5% of the time has the market finished a year worse than being down 20%.
  • 2008 type scenarios are extremely rare. Only 3 times since 1825 did the market finish a calendar year down 30% or worse. That’s about once every 63 years.
  • Over the last 30 years, the stock market has declined 46% and 48% over an 18 month period, yet during this same time has grown by 8% pa (including dividend and adjusted for inflation) – which is around 1,892%.
  • The current bull run is the second longest in history.

Here are 7 facts that should help put the Pies’ performance into perspective:

  • In 2017 Collingwood finished 13th on the ladder.
  • In 2017 the nation was calling for Nathan Buckley’s head.
  • In 2018 Collingwood had one of the longest ‘big name’ injury list in history.
  • In 2018 Collingwood defied all odds.
  • In 2018 Collingwood finished 3rd on the ladder.
  • In 2018 Collingwood annihilated the reigning premiers in a preliminary final.
  • In 2018 Collingwood made the grand final – they lost by 5 points.

For a club that was in the doldrums just 12 months ago, to have come this far in such a short space of time, should be commended for their hunger, discipline, focus, and drive – a remarkable performance and achievement.

As human beings we seem to make the rules for success very difficult, yet the rules for failure are super easy. Think about it for a second. What needs to happen for you to be happy in life? A whole damn lot I would guess. And what needs to happen for you to be sad or angry? All you probably need to do is stub your toe on the corner of your bed! – Am I wrong?

Without context and perspective, human beings find appreciation and gratitude difficult. The lives we live today are likely to be better than the lives our parent’s lived. The lives of our children are likely to be better than our’s. We always have the rest of today, and tomorrow to better ourselves – the choice is ours.

What we focus on is what we become. How we look at things is what we see. Our perception is our reality. Great things take time. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. For my dear-loved Pies, we’ve built a great young list, a unified team, and a culture of ‘never say die’. I look forward to the joys of 2019.

I guess things could be worse, right? I mean, you could be an Essendon or Carlton supporter.