Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Walter Jacobson, M.D.

Posted May 7, 2010

Published in Lifestyle

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What Can Overreactions in the Stock Market Teach Us About Our Personal Relationships?

Read More: communication, gossip, misinformation, overreactions, relationships, right action, stock market

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On May 6th, the stock market took a huge dive. One explanation was that it was due to an overreaction to misinformation, to an error on the part of a futures buyer, which led people to think that some horrific development was in progress and that they needed to do something to protect themselves.

As a result, aggressive, compensating actions were taken, despite people having no clue as to what the actual threat was to their assets or what they were compensating for.

This is an incredibly reckless and foolish approach to problem solving. It makes no sense to take action to resolve a problem without actually knowing what the problem really is, insofar as this sort of knee-jerk behavior leads to decisions that are emotional, lacking in objectivity, and likely not to be in our best interests.

Additionally, it can create a snowball effect whereby more hysteria and confusion are generated in others, leading to more miscommunications and more emotional overreactions, which further compound the problem.

There is a lesson to be learned from this that we can apply to our personal relationships. That lesson is actually one we are all quite familiar with in theory: Look before you leap.

When someone tells us something about someone we are in a relationship with that we find disturbing, it is best that we not make assumptions that the information is accurate and then jump to conclusions that something catastrophic has or will occur.

On the contrary, whenever we are given information as to what others have said, done, or intend to do, it behooves us to keep in mind that the truth is, oftentimes, distorted, sometimes purposely, sometimes unintentionally,when communicated to us from others.

That being the case, it is best that we not take it at face value because that could lead to impulsive, reckless, and injudicious actions. Best that we stay calm, consider the source information in terms of its credibility and reliability, actually confirm the data to be accurate, and then decide if there is an action that needs to be taken.

If so, it behooves us to weigh out the variables, contemplate our options, seek counsel when possible, and then make a thoughtful decision, in order to ensure, as best as is possible, that our actions will be the most appropriate and effective.

By approaching gossip and innuendos in this fashion, we avoid making a soap opera out of our lives by saying and doing things we are likely to later regret which could alienate those we care about and possibly damage our relationships beyond repair.