How Did You Get There?

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Ernest Hemingway asked this question through a key character in his book “The Sun Also Rises.”

The question was: “How did you go bankrupt?”  The answer: “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”  The response, “gradually then suddenly,” is a great encouragement and a caution to us.

It never ceases to amaze how this idea impacts lives in both positive and negative ways.  Many go along in their lives, saving a bit here and there and one day, they find they have more resources than they need and little to no debt to erode what they have accumulated. Gradually, then suddenly has worked to their benefit.

Others have the opposite experience.  They spend freely, taking full advantage of experiences enjoyed today. When they are interrupted by a bump in the road, they borrow on credit, just a little to get by, then another bump occurs, which requires a new repair, a purchase and sometimes a meal.  One day they find their credit has accumulated to an insurmountable amount. It has become overwhelming. In this scenario, gradually, then suddenly hurts.

The same principle of gradually, then suddenly can have a positive or negative impact on our relationships, our health, our communities and our outlook on the future as well. One moment of presence in key moments or togetherness over time can build to other moments and often, close relationships. One disagreement or misunderstanding can lead to avoiding the next moment or opportunity for togetherness. Or a simple misunderstanding that builds friction can result in the loss of regular communication and shared experiences. Our choices, gradually, then suddenly have consequences.

Our health, faith, and outlook on the future are often developed in a series of small steps that lead to bigger results, positive or negative. Sudden results that appear instantaneous are more often the observable results of small, discreet choices.

We can evaluate our own positions compared to others with a variety of responses:

  • I wish I were there;
  • I wish they were here; or
  • Thank goodness we’re not in that big of a mess.

Too many of us freeze in one of these positions. We become unable to make our good situation better or even more satisfying trying guard what we’ve accumulated. Conversely, we can become paralyzed believing we cannot make a challenging situation better or that we cannot shake regrettable choices of our past.  We can become overwhelmed thinking of the future and how we can’t control it or have knowledge of its outcomes.

Let us encourage you. You can assure a better day and find greater enjoyment of today. Start with a small step. We are confident your results will be rewarding, gradually, then suddenly. Hemingway had something else to say about this:

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today. It's been that way all this year. It's been that way so many times.

You absolutely can impact the future and, in fact, you will. Let’s take that next step together in the areas you engage – financially, personally, spiritually, and socially.  To be sure, what happens today sets a trajectory for what happens tomorrow, gradually, then suddenly.

Let’s talk about that next step. Contact Randy Fairfax at 440-808-1500.

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. was founded in 1993 with the conviction that companies and individuals could be better served with integrity, impartiality, and stewardship. Today, Highland is 100% owned by a team of owner-associates galvanized around this promise: As your Investor Advocates®, we are Client First. Every Opportunity. Every Interaction.

Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not intended to make an offer of solicitation for the sale or purchase of specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.