Welcome to the real world

The most memorable quote I heard at this year's Consumer Electronics Show came from a business contact who works with a lot of different consumer companies. "No one knows what's going to happen," he said. "No one has ever been through an economic situation like this, and they honestly don't know what to do. They just don't know what's going to happen."

The reality is that we never know what's going to happen, but most of the time we kid ourselves about it. We think we see patterns and we expect events to follow those patterns, which they always do -- except when they don't.

Recent economic events have rubbed our noses in the basic unpredictability of the world. But don't let that paralyze you with fear. The situation has always been that way; you just had some comforting illusions before. Make the best guesses you can, stay nimble, and when the weather is nice be sure to enjoy the sunshine.