Martin Luther King, Jr said, “An optimist sees the opportunity in every calamity, the pessimist sees the calamity in every opportunity.”
Today, it seems that we’re surrounded by pessimists. If you’re looking for an optimist to give you a positive outlook, you’ve found one. Winston Churchill said, “I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
I agree with old Winston. Yet, being an optimist is far from easy today. Let’s face it, bad stuff is happening. But… It’s not as bad it seems. And… It doesn’t have to affect you.
This Is The Most Negative Period In History
Things seem worse than they are because negativity is assaulting us from every direction. Take the media (please). Real journalism is largely dead in America. Journalists no longer investigate or dig below the surface. Instead, mass media has become mass spin. Even in good times, the spin tends towards the negative. Give them a recession and the chattering class really piles on.
The media never focuses on how full the glass is, but how empty. When a publicly traded company makes money despite the recession, the media stresses that profits are down from a year ago. Yeah, but they’re still PROFITABLE.
An Associated Press article reports that consumer spending rose in January. Good news, right? Nope. The AP reporter quickly added, “But the increase is expected to be fleeting given all the problems facing the economy.”
“But the gains in January are likely to be temporary,” reported Reuters about the spending increase.
To the media, good news is not news. When was the last time you heard a news anchor trumpet great news on the radio or TV? Tick, tick, tick.
The media is not reporting the silver linings. They are making things seem worse than they are.
The politicians aren’t any better. Whether you agreed or disagreed with their policies, both Reagan and Clinton were cheerleaders for America. Despite adhering to opposing political philosophies, each tried to talk up the country. It’s different today. Politicians on the left and right are trying to make us miserable.
The president is using the bully pulpit to exaggerate the recession’s bad news in an effort to frighten people into accepting a legislative agenda that would be considered unacceptable to most Americans in other times. Had he taken a positive, can-do tone from the start, the odds are we would soon, if not already, be in recovery. However, a positive can-do tone would have lessened his ability to pass his agenda. As the president’s chief of staff said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
Conservatives are no better. They are currently falling all over themselves to point out the problems in the administration’s plans and actions. Instead of presenting a positive alternative, they snipe.
The politicians are making things seem worse than they really are.
And then there are the CAVE dwellers. CAVE dwellers are people who Complain About Virtually Everything. The CAVE dwellers are emerging from every rock to tell anyone who will listen how hopeless things are. Challenge them and they call you foolish, a Pollyanna, or downright irresponsible. I know. Because I advise contractors to invest in their companies, I’ve been criticized. One guy wondered publicly how I “sleep at night giving such horrid suggestions given the reality at hand?”
CAVE dwellers are making things seem worse than they are.
Even during booms, operating a “service” business can beat you down. People tend to call you when something is wrong, when there’s a problem. Your job is to deal with one problem after another. And though you exceed customer expectations nine times out of ten, you hear ten complaints for every complement.
The nature of service and repair work can make things seem worse than they are.
Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable , an alliance of HVAC and plumbing contractors. For just $50, contractors receive access to millions of dollars of downloadable, customizable, sales, marketing, and business tools that are certain to grow your sales, build your bottom line, and give you more time for your family. Give it a try. Matt says he’s “positive” you’ll like it.