Reality Catches Up
An asset you don’t deserve can quickly become a liability.
Maybe your portfolio surged during a bubble, your company hit a monster valuation, or you negotiated a salary that exceeds your ability. It feels great at the time. But reality eventually catches up, and demands repayment in equal proportion to your delusions – plus interest.
These debts are easy to ignore because they are often repaid in the form of self-doubt and crushed morale. But they are very real, and when you understand their power you become careful what you wish for.
Companies should want the valuation they deserve, and not a penny more.
Workers should want a salary that matches their skill, and nothing more.
Families should want a lifestyle they can sustain, and nothing higher.
None of those are about settling or giving up. It’s about avoiding a certain kind of psychological debt that comes due when reality catches up.
WeWork is currently worth $3.5 billion, which is a monster success for a 12-year-old company – it’s probably in the top 0.0001% of business successes. But of course no one feels that way. The company was worth $47 billion a few years ago, and it was trying to go public at a $100 billion valuation, which no one could justify but felt fun because those were the times we were living in. So by comparison today’s valuation feels like a corporate bellyflop – embarrassment, employees whose stock options expired worthless, and morale shattered as it laid off thousands (Read more...)