Perception is nine-tenths of the law

We should all take a lesson from Chicken Little.  Remember the story from your childhood?  A 21st Century version is available here.  In short, Chicken Little was hit on the head by a falling acorn and, convinced the sky was falling, went screeching through the neighborhood working Goosey Loosey, Ducky Lucky et. al. into a frenzy about the end of the world.

Today, Chicken Little takes the form of mass media and the role of the acorn is played by a few economists competing for their own 15 minutes of fame.  Technically, we haven't had a "recession", but thanks to what we've read and heard we've convinced ourselves to the contrary and proven it with reduced sales and layoffs.  We think, therefore we are.

And when we think, it rubs off on everyone around us.  Our friends and colleagues, our customers and employees.  Misery loves company and it's not hard to get attendance at a pity fest.  We create a downward spiral and it shows up on the sales line and the unemployment line until finally the pain gets so great we begin to move away from it.  By the end of September 2000 the most common phrase heard at my local pub was something to the effect of: "I'm so tired of watching Tom Brokaw and CNN I had to come in for a beer."  Imagine that.  Sadly no one suggested that a basket of fish & chips might also help relieve the pain.  Think "snowball" and "trickle down."

Granted, we've redefined the definition of 911 from it's early days as a fine German sports car to an emergency number and finally to the day when the world stood still.  For all the bad news, the silver lining on the glass that's half full is our renewed sense of patriotism, long overdue increased airport security measures and a boost in the economy as we march to Maslow's Hierarchy of Need moving away from pain faster than we move toward pleasure.

So next time, let's invert the hierarchy and employ a little of my now famous contrarian thinking and move toward pleasure more frequently.  It's about choice, what you choose becomes your reality.  No, I'm not over medicating my Prozac and no I'm not hugging trees in my Birkenstocks because I've lived in California too long.  It's not "the answer" but wouldn't you rather live in a world where you believe you can rather than a world where you believe you can't?

Those opposable thumbs at the end of your arms are linked to a mighty big brain that typically is operating at about 20% of capacity -- similar to the software on your home computer. No upgrade to V2.0 is required we simply just need to use these "Beautiful Mind"s in a different light and not be afraid to change our formula to achieve our desired result.  Think: Definition of Insanity.

If you're looking for work and constantly get the "we're not hiring" outgoing message then change your approach.  Quit calling the HR department and/or responding to ads and figure out who you want to work for, what you want to do and where and call the person you'd be reporting to.  Instead of asking for a job, ask if they'd like to see some new solutions to the challenges their facing that you've uncovered through your brilliant research.

If there's a big negative number on the sales line or no room in the warehouse for more inventory reinvent the way you market and tell the operators to get out of the office and behind the register.  What gets talked about gets done.  I've always found it interesting that when sales slow down the first group to go is the marketing department -- the ones responsible for driving the business.  Instead of giving the operators the tools they need to get the business, marketing lay-offs are then embellished with discounts that "buy" the customers business and make it harder to go back to full price "when the economy" improves.

WE are the economy.  We just don't think we are.

Of course this is only my opinion, but itís one I value highly.


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