Time is the Solution, Sometimes

by JDH on August 3, 2013

My office in Southern Ontario was hit by a bad storm last week, and our carpets and walls got drenched with water. Fortunately no computers or anything important was damaged (other than the roof, but that’s the landlord’s problem, not mine).

The landlord brought in the “clean up” guys, and they placed a dozen huge fans at strategic places in the office, and installed two de-humidifiers to soak up the water. That was last Sunday.

On Monday my staff showed up at work, and of course had some difficulty working with massive loud fans running everywhere. So, we moved people to other quieter, dryer areas. The next morning the clean up guys returned with their thermal imaging cameras and electronic water measuring devices, only to proclaim that moisture remained in the carpet and walls. The fans would remain on for another day.

By Tuesday morning the verdict was the same: the moisture levels were dropping, but moisture remained present, so the fans remained on.

By Wednesday morning many areas were dry, so three quarters of the fans were removed. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that everything was completely dry, and we were back to normal.

I found this process to be incredibly frustrating. I’ve got a business to run, and having employees displaced and fans running made it very difficult.  I just wanted it fixed, and fixed fast.  I told the fan guys that I wanted the fans removed, and they told me the facts of life: If we don’t get everything completely dry, you will get mold, and then the carpets and drywall will need to be removed and replaced, and that two week long process will be much more disruptive and costly than a few days with fans blowing.

They were, of course, correct.

All I could do was wait.

We had the maximum number of fans blowing; there was nothing more we could do, other than wait.

The only solution was the passage of time.

So what’s the morale of the story, other than that I am very impatient?

Sometimes circumstances are outside of your control, and despite the strong desire for a quick solution, there simply is not quick resolution.  We see this in many areas of life:

Fitness: You want to run a marathon tomorrow.  Ain’t gonna happen.  You need to train and gradually build up your fitness over a period of many months, or years, to achieve your goal.

Weight Loss: You want to lose a lot of weight.  That takes effort, and time.

Business: To build a successful business takes effort, capital, knowledge, hard work, and time.  Very few businesses are built in a day.

Saving: You want to save to buy a house, car, or for retirement.  Can’t be done in a day.  Takes time.

The obvious example, of course, is the time we have invested waiting for the inevitable to happen.  Massive government over spending and deficit financing is not a problem on day one, or even in year or decade number one.  It takes time.  Detroit had the highest per capita income in 1950.  Now they are declaring bankruptcy.  It took over 60 years for the impact of stupid policies to “come home to roost”.

I remain convinced, however, that if we are patient, time will be the solution to the disjoint in the markets, and in time the true value plays will emerge as the winners.

Time will tell.