Is 2020 the Worst Year Ever?

Key Takeaways

  • This year has been filled with real challenges and difficulties, but is it really “the worst year ever”?
  • You don’t have to go back too far in history to realize there have been many years where humanity has faced much worse.
  • Understanding history helps put things in perspective as we navigate the challenges of 2020.

If you ever listened to Paul Harvey’s radio show, you know that he’d tell a story and then say, “And now for the rest of the story.” He’d go on to give the punchline, which might be a completely unexpected ending. The “rest of the story” relates to three P’s that are worth considering when it comes to 2020: presumptive, preposterous, and perspective.

You’ve likely heard a lot of people refer to 2020 as “the worst year ever.” Is that a fair assessment of our current times? Well, looking back less than 100 years ago, the people of Poland saw the blitzkrieg hit them and decimate Warsaw on September 1st, 1939. On December 7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked and many lives were lost. Then, of course, the Normandy invasion occurred on June 6th, 1944. By all accounts, by the time it was over, 20 million Russians lost their lives during World War II.

There have been plenty of non-military events that have had tremendously painful and devastating effects on humanity as well. The Chernobyl disaster on April 26th, 1986…September 11th, 2001 in the United States…the Black Plague, which brought death to 60% of entire towns before it was through…The Great Depression…the list goes on.

When we look back through history and consider these events, they may give us pause when we compare them to our current situation. Perhaps things are not so bad in comparison.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a horrible virus that has caused an immense amount of suffering and death. But when we put it into perspective, it becomes a little presumptive and a little preposterous to state that it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened. As humankind goes, this barely makes a blip when it comes to human suffering throughout history.

It’s important to realize this and to keep some perspective, as it will change your attitude. It will affect your relationships with others as you navigate the challenges that come with having to social distance, manage remote working and schooling, and handle everything else that comes with these difficult times. History really can help us to obtain some proper perspective and make us realize that 2020 isn’t the worst year ever…and that’s the rest of the story. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting, but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions.

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