In an old episode of “Taxi” (yes, it’s from long ago and my memory is a bit sketchy — but the point is correct), Alex wanted to search for his long lost daughter who he had just found out lived in a nearby city — he just didn’t know exactly where. Elaine said he should just go there and start asking around. “Do you know how big that city is?”, Alex asked Elaine. Without looking up, Reverend Jim answered from a distant corner, “24.2 square miles.” Alex and Elaine looked in shock at Jim, but thought it best not to divert the discussion. “Well then go through the phone book and see where she lives,” Elaine insisted. “Elaine, do you know how many people there are in that city with the same last name as my daughter?” Again, Reverend Jim answered without looking up, “6,435”. Now Alex’s and Elaine’s curiousity got the most of them. “Jim, how do you know all this stuff?”, Alex asked.
Jim looked up in amazement. “Was I right?”
My point here is that Jim’s ridiculous answers to some impossible questions were readily accepted by Alex, Elaine and the viewing audience — which is what made the joke so funny. But the only reason everyone trusted him was because his answers were specific and delivered with confidence.
What’s this have to do with following negativity?
Well, today’s economic climate has people scrambling all over looking for answers and we’re willing to listen to anyone who has specific information and a confident tone. Trouble is, two people giving specifics in a confident tone can still have opposite opinions — in fact, they can disagree completely. Doesn’t matter though, because no opinion is right. They’re just opinions. After listening to a sample of prognosticators for an hour, your head will be spinning and you’ll be more confused than ever.
So why are we scrambling? What’s with this pent up nervous energy over the economy?
I think it’s because most people are followers, and they’re listening to and believing in the negativity. They see others worried about their jobs, losing their homes, and pinching pennies at the stores and they do the same. And then one person tells ten people, who tell ten people, who tell . . .
But should we be so frightened? Should this negative news affect us? I don’t think so. Sure, losing a job is no vacation, and losing your home can be crushing. But fearing it, well, that just does nothing to help and, in fact, it hurts. Yet people find it hard to avoid fear simply because so many people are experiencing it — and talking about it.
But why follow the lead of others? Why believe without question what they say, much like Alex, Elaine and the audience believed that Jim knew what he was talking about? Why start making negative plans (ie if I lose my job, then I’ll . . . ) when there’s no guarantee you’ll need them? Why not make positive plans?
Hmmm. Positive plans. Sounds good, right? And with a majority of people bracing from the current state of the world, the time is right for the go-getters to go get. Opportunity is out there, it really is. I know because we just picked up two new accounts in one month, and our calls are rising because we’re out there with a positive face. Plus, we’re hiring. How many companies can say that?
You know what others in our industry do when they hear my news and my outlook? They tell others — in disbelief — who in turn tell others, who tell others, etc. This news tends to lead to a small percentage of go-getters contacting us, mainly because they look to partner with those who are succeeding rather than those who are failing.
So while (according to the experts) the economy is failing, consumer confidence is zip, unemployment is growing, foreclosures are at an all time high and people are just anxious, look on the bright side.
You’re here. Your family is here. The country is here. The world is here. All the rest is just details for you to make the most of — just like two years ago when nobody was panicking. Sure, the situation has changed. But the game is the same.
So go out and play to win. Have fun. Enjoy.
And trust that you’ll make it. You always have, and you always will.