Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Be the Choluteca Bridge or adapt and survive

Have you heard the name of the Choluteca Bridge (Carías Bridge) in Honduras, if you answer is "no" then you are not alone.  If you are wondering what a bridge in a Central American country has to do with adaptability, well here is the story of the Choluteca Bridge.

The Choluteca Bridge or the Carías Bridge is a suspension bridge located in Choluteca, Honduras.  The bridge was constructed in 1930, and rebuilt in 1996.  Knowing the bridge was likely to face extreme hurricanes, the Honduras government commissioned some of the best minds dealing with bridge construction in the world to build a bridge that could withstand any hurricane.  It was indeed a state-of-the-art bridge, which could withstand the high speed winds and hurricanes that are not uncommon in the region.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras hard.  Hurricane Mitch was categorized as category 5 (252 km/hour or higher wind speed), Mitch devastated the entire Caribbean region and Honduras was not an exception.  Roads were swept away, buildings were destroyed and almost all bridges were destroyed.  Choluteca Bridge stood majestically amidst all the doom.  Indeed the best minds from the bridge construction fraternity did not let down the Honduras Government, well almost.  Mitch caused the river underneath to change course and carve out a new route for itself.  So essentially, the Choluteca Bridge with all its grandeur stood there but lost the very purpose of its existence.  Choluteca Bridge was thus a bridge leading to nowhere with no roads on either side but it did leave us with an important lesson.

Foresee, plan and adapt quickly before we are rendered redundant just like the Choluteca Bridge.  This is true for one's career and more importantly in the stocks that one holds in his/her portfolio.  Perhaps the time and age for starting and ending a career in the same field is an idea which has long passed its use by date.  More importantly, the time for a buy and hold portfolio perhaps long gone as business are made redundant at a much faster pace.  The Wuhan virus is the Hurricane Mitch of 2019-2020 and in all probability we will be facing other forms of Hurricane Mitch in our lifetimes, time to adapt and survive.

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