Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

The Beanie Baby Bubble

Two decades ago, bean-filled toys led us to madness, bankruptcy and jail. Today, we realise how silly we were—but we haven’t changed.

At the peak of the craze, two adults sat on the floor of a divorce court splitting their most valuable asset.

A collection of Beanie Babies, valued thousands of dollars.

Soon the toys would be worth nothing. 

The market was about to come crashing down. And the crash would take many poor souls with it.

Including Chris Robinson, who spent as much as $100.000 on the small sacks of beans in the hopes that his collection would one day become valuable enough to put his five kids through college.

Investing that much money may seem mad.

But at the height of the Beanie Baby boom, gurus and books made the plushies seem like a safe bet.

A 1998 Beanie Baby handbook even showed their projected future value. Looking as far as ten years into the future.

And there lies the problem.

We overestimate the predictability of the world.

And unless you’re a fortune teller, the future is unpredictable. And no level of planning is going to change that.

Plans are merely what you expect to happen. Not what’s going to happen.

And the further you look, the blurrier your vision.

Planning anything six or more months ahead of time is like reading tea leaves. It’s easy to get wrong.

So forget about the year and focus on this week.

Seven days is so short you can see the end. And that keeps your projects achievable.

For starters, you don’t have a later. It’s always now.

And that time constraint drives you to kick the non-essentials off your plate, so you’ll never bite off more than you can chew.

Ignoring the long-term may sound scary.

But blindly following a plan or (Beanie Baby) handbook that has no ties to reality is even scarier.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach