On 29th of October 2019 Nimsdai Purja, a Nepalese mountain climber, stood at the top of Shishapangma, the 14th highest peak in the world. He had just done what had previously been thought impossible: climbed all the mountains 8000 metres and higher in the world in six months and six days. The previous record had been seven years! To put this in context, it usually takes around two months to climb only one mountain in this group, namely Mount Everest. Nims climbed all five highest mountains in only seven days.
What makes his achievement so incredible is that he did not just shave a couple of weeks or days off the previous record, but years. He literally took a very entrenched belief and smashed it. What we should take away from this event, is that no matter how long a specific belief has been in place, it can be changed.
The only other high-profile personality who has achieved something of similar magnitude in recent years, is Elon Musk. He took the concept of a commercially viable electric car and made it a reality in only twenty years. His company was founded in 2003 and the first car was released in 2008. Nobody believed that an electric car would be able to compete commercially with an internal combustion one. Elon went further to prove that a private company can build and launch rockets that transport people and cargo into space successfully and we have to believe him when he says that within the next decade or two, humans will live on the moon and on Mars.
Extraordinary things can be achieved if we change our mindset, have a positive attitude and work very hard at it. Currently we believe that South Africa will never be an example of how things should be done. We believe that conflict is the only way to solve a problem and that we have to take everything we can lay our hands on now because tomorrow will be worse. If you are a pessimist and believe that extraordinary things cannot happen, then your investment preference should be cash and gold. Financially it will be a slow death because inflation will gnaw away at your purchasing power. If, however, you believe that there will always be people, companies, groups or governments who will do exceptional things, then you have to keep your eyes open and be an early investor in their dreams because this will create prosperity for you and your descendants.
Throughout history, the world of finance has been affected by pivotal events that have shaped economies, influenced policies, and altered the course of global markets. The stock market crash of 1929 triggered a decade-long economic downturn known as the Great Depression. Its impact was so profound that it led to the implementation of financial regulations and the establishment of institutions like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States, aiming to prevent such a crisis from recurring.
In 1944, representatives from 44 countries gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to design a new global financial system following World War II. This historic conference led to the creation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Since then we have experienced events like Black Monday (1987); the dot-com bubble (1997-2001); the Enron scandal (2001) and the Global Financial Crisis (2007-2009). In 2009, an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency. Then we had the European debt crisis (2010-2014); the flash crash (2010) and the Brexit referendum (2016).
Even after a world pandemic in 2020, the financial systems are still operating, and enhancements are still being made. Things are tough and uncertain out there, but try to just be like water and flow around an obstacle if you cannot flow over it.