Diversifying Your Finances and Your Life
- Cliff Young Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- Updated May 21, 2012
If you have a financial advisor or have watched any business program, you have undoubtedly heard the term diversification. The premise behind diversification in the financial world is to have your money in several different types of investments (i.e. real estate, precious metals, the market, etc.) or areas within the market (i.e. stocks, bonds, international, FOREX, etc.) to reduce your risk and exposure to any one major decline.
Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money on CNBC, even has a segment of his show called, “Are You Diversified?” where guests call in with the companies they have stock in to determine if they are diversified with their investments.
Diversification not only has its merits for us financially, but also personally.
For instance, in the current recession we have been facing, many have found themselves out of work and realized the skill set they had been trained with is no longer applicable to the current needs of what the workforce requires. As a result, some are finding it difficult to locate another job similar to what they were accustomed.
Likewise, others who have been slow to learn the latest in technology, social networking and methods of communication are finding it difficult to keep up with the speed of information and have fallen behind where the world is headed.
So how can this help us as singles?
Before we face a similar situation in other areas of our lives, we have a magnificent opportunity to diversify ourselves and learn to better adapt to our situations.
Many of us have gotten into the habit of doing (or not doing) the same thing over and over again and expecting (or hoping for) different results along the way. Albert Einstein has described this as (the definition of) insanity.
We’ve lived in the same house since child birth, attended the same church since baptism, worked the same job since graduation, taken part in the same activities, talked to the same handful of people, procrastinated over the same projects (or “calling”) and maintained the same thoughts—and we wonder why (whatever we desire) hasn’t happened yet.
Diversify Your Thinking
What immediately comes to mind when you hear the phrase “Jesus turned water into wine” (John 2:1-11)?
It was his first miracle.
It couldn’t have been “real” wine. Even if it was, the Bible doesn’t say he actually drank it. Wine is evil!
He was so rude to his mother.
How did he do it?
Great! If Jesus made it, I can drink it!
Wow, lucky for the bride’s parents who were footing the bill for the wedding.
There are probably many other thoughts, just as real and just as diverse. The point is, none of these responses is solely right while the others completely wrong, yet many of us hold so tightly to our one (often stubborn) opinion, we don’t allow consideration of another option or another person’s observation as a viable alternative. (Refer to our U.S. Congress.)
I have “discovered” there are several ways to perceive a situation, address a problem and find a solution, and I need to broaden my perspective and consider all possibilities, not just succumb to my own innate way of thinking.
Diversify by Doing Something
Jesus had a distinct purpose for his life, knew what it was and worked toward it each and every day on earth. However, if he never left home, approached a stranger nor opened his mouth, his message would not have been heard.
Many of us “want, hope and wish” to achieve something incredible with our lives, yet we don’t pursue our calling, allow others to discourage us and don’t take action. We may have the greatest of intentions, but intentions alone have never accomplished anything.
No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he’d only had good intentions. — Margaret Thatcher
Hopes or wishes not accompanied by action are nothing but dreams. What dreams have you not yet accomplished? Either go after it or reassess what your calling may be. Don’t only consider those things you “think” you can achieve; go well beyond that to things you can’t even imagine possible.
Diversify by Receiving a New Direction
Over the years, I, like many, have experienced some (what seemed to be at the time) traumatic experiences—loss of jobs, relocations, broken relationships, friends who moved away, deaths, etc.
I used to respond to those events by burrowing away, working harder to keep it from occurring again or trying to ignore it altogether. However, I now see those unforeseen changes as a chance for growth. I accept them as an opportunity to move me away from what I was doing or accustomed to doing.
I see them now as my “Jonah moments.”
Those who cling to worthless idols (like “our own ways”) forfeit the grace that could be theirs (Jonah 2:8).
Oftentimes when we don’t take the initiative to move, change or broaden our lives according to the way we know we should, God has the tendency to do it for us.
Diversify by Living Outside of the Box
In the same way not diversifying our investments can harm us financially, not diversifying how we think, what we do and how we do it limits our potential and ways God can use us. If we’re setting (self-made) parameters on how we operate and what we can accomplish, we won’t ever reach the pinnacle God has created us for.
Have you been able to “predict” what God was going to do in your life? Have you ever experienced something so unique, so unexpected it could have only come from and been achieved by God?
I have determined God does not think like I do nor works “in a box.”
Jesus didn’t go along with the crowd, worry about their approval nor allowed others to dictate who he was, what he did or when he did it.
And neither should we.
It’s time we diversify our thoughts, think creatively about our calling, allow God to set our direction, live outside our box and take action.
It won’t only change our perspective, but also our life and our relationships.
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.