Most of us have friends and business associates who have a decidedly negative attitude. They are negative about the state of the world, the tone of political discourse and the chances that they (and their children) will have the opportunity to live long, happy and successful lives.
We might imagine how different this was before pale-faced Christopher Columbus discovered the New World. Back then, native peoples managed the affairs of this region. There were no taxes, no national debt or I.R.S. There was no grass to mow in the summer, no leaves to rake in the fall, no snow to shovel in the winter and no concept of private property that could lose enough value to be considered “under water”. Sure there were normal troubles, disputes, disease and scarcity, but even so, we might believe in hindsight that America was like heaven on earth.
Negativity & Change
We are advised that there is nothing more constant than change. And people often see change negatively.
The Boston Tea Party triggered the Revolution to achieve freedom from taxation. I’m certain our founding fathers would be shocked if they could return to Washington and review the tax structure now. Now everything runs in the red.
During the days of the American Revolution, Thomas Payne said: “These are times that try men’s souls”. Although Revere rides no more, although the circumstances differ, these are still days of change and uncertainty, accompanied by an amazing amount of negative news.
Some news is true, some isn’t – and yet if you are in sales, it’s important to remember that we enjoy the most robust economy in the world. Our GDP is greater than the Gross Domestic Product of the next 3 leading nations combined.
And the truth is that you and I live in a golden era of civilization. King Louis the 14th lived the most opulent lifestyle of any European monarch, but in terms of creature comforts, medical care and quality of life, most of us have a higher standard of living than the rich and famous enjoyed only a few decades ago.
Two generations ago, the “information highway” was just a dream. Today it is a reality. We are told that since 1957, when IBM introduced the first personal computer, mankind has doubled the amount of accumulated knowledge every 6 years. Change is occurring at the speed of light.
Back in 1860, when the Wild West captured the imagination of young men – the “crown jewel” of communication was the Pony Express. It took only 10 days to communicate from coast – to – coast. Today we can message family, friends and business associates around the world in less than ten seconds.
Through advancements in modern logistics, most American families realize instant gratification of food, shelter and clothing. To a great degree, hard working Americans enjoy a time of Thanksgiving 365 days of the year.
This truly is the NOW generation and we are blessed beyond imagination. We have: conquered Polio, put men on the moon, won the Cold War, survived 20% inflation in the 80’s and overcame both December 7th and 9-11. These blessings are the result of 3 critical circumstances.
- The advanced education and information available to all who wish to avail themselves of the vast storehouse of knowledge.
- Our unique free enterprise system.
- The self determination and freedoms we enjoy in an open society.
The News Cycle
For better or worse, few events around the world escape the instant eye of 24 –7 news coverage. We hear about every crisis, war and national problem in exquisite detail, often politicized. Many of us allow ourselves to listen to pundits saying the same negative things over and over again in successive news cycles. It is true that we face a challenging economy. Major decisions are on the horizon but with challenges, comes opportunity.
We may not be able to change the world, but we can change how we see it. If you are inclined to negativity, a positive change in attitude will have a direct effect on your co-workers and customers. The sphere of influence for the average person extends out to 220-240 people. With renewed confidence and a newly positive attitude, we each have the power to increase sales, enhance satisfaction, and bring value to the lives of others. Each of us can leave a legacy of contagious enthusiasm for those who follow in our footsteps.
Power Of The Positive
Many human advancements and achievements were forged by the power of positive attitude communicated through speech, the wonder of words. You and I both possess that power. With the power of persuasion and perhaps devine guidance, Washington rallied his “rag tag” troops at Valley Forge. It’s that same power that Churchill employed to save the world from Nazism. Lincoln helped heal a divided nation at Gettysburg. Gandhi freed India from colonization without firing a shot.
Words, not war, raised the Iron curtain. A positive attitude coupled with the power of persuasion can help anyone become a leader; to sell our products more effectively.
The alternative is to let our competition lead. Then they will sell ‘em, by being in the right place at the right time, meeting a need and motivating their employees to do a better job. Occasionally, we need to look at the “man in the mirror”. Check your attitude. Times may be tough and competition may be fierce, but hope springs eternal and we have the promise that “this too shall pass”. Psychologists suggest 92% of our worries never materialize. History proves leaders emerge when times are tough.
One of today’s most prominent psychologists, Dr. Karl Minninger from the Mayo Clinic, states: ”our attitudes are more important than facts”. Most people prefer to place their faith and future in the trust of positive thinkers. Famous philosopher William James advised: “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude”.
Unless we’re older than dirt, we are always a work in progress. There is still room for improvement and advancement – whether you are 6 years old and getting ready to go to school, or 70 years old and getting ready to retire.
Quite frankly, your work involves more than just you. You are inexorably linked to all you live and work with. There is a saying, “This is like this because that is like that. That is like that because this is like this.” If you look closely at how things in our world work, this logic is inescapable. Your reputation becomes your businesses’ reputation in the community. You set the stage. You are the “bridge builder” for future opportunities – not only for yourself, but also for all that follow in your footsteps. It’s a responsibility that we need to consider carefully and weigh consistently.
Poets advise it’s always darkest before the dawn. Prophets encourage us to keep the faith. Churchhill’s counsel “to never give up” is still your key to success.
Ray Morefield has been affiliated with leading corporations in the housewares, hardware and coatings industries. He has also served other industries in an advisory capacity through Common Goals, Inc. Questions or comments can be sent to him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.