I can’t believe you clicked that.
The greatest bubble of all-time? You know what the greatest bubble of all-time is? It’s the number of people calling for the greatest bubble of all-time.
I’m not sure I’m proud of it. I’m not sure I’ll write it on my resume. But I’ve made over 100,000 posts across social media. My total impressions and people reached across all platforms has easily crossed 1 billion. Yes, 1,000,000,000. Count the zeros.
I’ve learned a few things in my time working in this weird new world. And people forget just how new it is.
Facebook was founded in 2004. It did not really get started until 2010. That means social media has been around for less than 10 years. So you’re saying it took less than 10 years for a new concept, a new idea of connection, a new app and business to take over the entire globe? Yes, that’s what I’m saying.
Within these 10 years, a few glaring things stand out. One of them, and it’s very important you understand this, is the peddling of fear. It’s not your fault. It goes back to a time when every continent was connected forming a super Pangea (drop the word super Pangea around your friends and watch them never stop laughing). It possibly goes back even before that. Somewhere along our timeline, certain components of fear were an essential part of human survival and success. Today, we still can’t shake those old school ways. On the Internet, fear drives results for media businesses and advertisers.
It drives clicks.
It drives chatter.
It drives debate and argument.
It drives dumb-decision making.
I lost out on $200,000. I had the stock pick of my life. I had it nailed. I rode it to some incredible gains. I was getting ready to count my rubber bands. But at one point, I found myself listening to the drum beat of fear. I made a mistake, which I will always remember. I sold it. And I sold it practically right before it’s next big run higher.
Fear is easy. Succumbing to it is even easier. Coming up with a plan to counter it, debunk it, or challenge the source of that fear is what’s hard. That takes guts. That takes serious moxie.
Finding Inspiration To Fight Back
I once watched a movie called Apocalypto. I don’t know. Sometimes you just find yourself watching strange movies. I think, at the time, my dad really enjoyed a few scenes from it. And when he gets into a movie, he plays it over, and over again. Whenever I visit home, at some point I hear someone bellowing out in a deep raspy voice in the tone Lt. Colonel Slade, “I’M TOO TIRED, I’M TOO OLD, I’M TOO F’ING BLIND.”
Damn. I am lucky to have such great family. I am always reminded that at some point I need to give back because of that. It was pure luck. Someday, I will.
There’s a scene in Apocalypto I can never forget. The year is well before industrialization and modern western economies. Maybe it’s 1644 in the Amazon jungle? In this scene, a new tribe comes in contact with a different tribe who are hunting for wild boar in the jungle. The new tribe is passing through, they’re following a trail, but they look frightened. Something happened. No one knows what it is. The hunting group let’s them pass in peace, but a wise father realized the fear in this tribe. He turns to his kid:
Flint Sky: Those people in the forest, what did you see on them?
Jaguar Paw: I do not understand.
Flint Sky: Fear. Deep rotting fear. They were infected by it. Did you see?
Jaguar Paw: *silence*
Flint Sky: Fear is a sickness. It will crawl into the soul of anyone who engages it. It has tainted your peace already. I did not raise you to see you live with fear. Strike it from your heart. Do not bring it into our village.
I think the important aspect here is that you need to know it exists outside of pure physicality. There’s fear of the next big market crash, the next big bubble, the next jobs crisis, and the list can truly go on for so much longer. Fear is an abstraction. You can create fear from nothing. Often times, you can’t touch it or see it, but you can feel it and you can imagine it.
The next step is understanding how people use this against you. It is the cheapest form of content. In media, people call for market crashes… *CLICK!* In politics, people call for the next big scandal… *CLICK!* In sports, people call for the next big moment of locker room drama to your favorite team… *CLICK!*
When people call for the end of something, when they call it a bubble or a looming crash, whether it’s in the stock market or in your industry, it very rarely has any real analysis behind it. It usually just sounds like something we should pay attention to. It strikes our brain and ignites feelings of defensiveness and pessimism. We’re conditioned to hear it. Perhaps we wouldn’t be thriving like we are if we weren’t so careful or protective. I think all stock market traders, investors, and people in the industry can relate to this. They’ve all seen it.
“This is why you should sell everything.”
“The biggest bubble of all-time is here.”
We are truly at an all-time high of people calling for bubbles.
Lacing Up The Gloves and Getting Off The Bleachers
I hope this piece is hitting home for some of you. If it is, just know that it is entirely devoid of any investment advice. Don’t go out there and start doing risky things with your money because some kid who loves avocados and tweeting wrote a post about bubbles and fear. Instead, take some time to reflect. I know I am.
I’m even thinking about fake news. The only solution to fake news is your ability to think critically and combat the fear they’re often trying to sell. You don’t have to believe everything. You don’t have to click and read. You can stop, think about how this article made it to you, ask what emotion it’s trying to tap into, and you can then judge its merit to you from there.
I can’t tell you how many times someone told me or shared a headline about the next big stock market crash. In years prior, I read them and actually thought, “omg it’s over.” But at least now I can admit that. So as I reflect, I realize this lesson has parallels to countless other things in life from trying something new, leaving your comfort zone, or stepping up for once and hitting back at the haters.
Yo! I hope you enjoyed this piece. Welcome to scheplick.com! I am an investor, writer, thinker, and in my day job I study social media and digital marketing. If you like what you’re reading, I will you one final thing: join my email list.