I think a lot about how negative thinking affects the world, even more so recently with all of the depressing news reports.

Take the example of a financial advisor telling people to cut back on their weekly coffee in order to put more money into their savings as a hedge against hard times. A well intentioned attempt to educate people on being fiscally responsible.

But there’s no thought to the down side of this act: When everybody stops going to their local coffee place, the coffee place goes out of business, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom. What if instead that report recommended you go meet a friend at that same coffee shop? The coffee shop stays in business, and people are socializing, networking and creating new opportunities that definitely will not be discovered by staying home.

In listening to the news reports, you’d think that every business was closing doors, or at least reducing their work force. In my mind what’s really happening is that people are buying into the fear that has been sown by these negative reports, instead of looking forward and understanding that things can get better.

I had a mentor who taught me long ago to look for the positive aspect in every problem. At first this was extremely difficult (and still is with many things), but over time it became so automatic that now when a change happens, I almost immediately see the boon instead of the bust.

My last contract ended, and immediately I was grateful that I was going to have a few months off, and even more grateful for the incredible number of hours that I had been able to put in before being released that would allow me not to worry about things like making my mortgage payment for some time. It’s too bad the news reports aren’t more positive in that same way: show us the good in these times, instead of how bad things are getting.

Look at the finance industry, this “melt down” has lead to consolidation, and banks have to be more fiscally responsible. I think that they need to get past their fear and become more service oriented in order to help end the paralysis that seems to have taken hold of them at the moment. Instead of focusing on keeping their coffers full, they ought to be rejoicing in the opportunities that are being presented them. More safety nets, more cash to bail people out, and they could even decide not to loan money to people who can’t pay it back for a change …

And what a joy it is to think of the possibility of no more politics as usual. For far too many years the helpless constituent has watched the party system deteriorating into a pair of teams with tribal behavior that serves no-one. Too many times an idea that would be good for everybody has been shot down because it was thought of by one party, even if it aligns with the values of almost every American. Now we have the opportunity to tell the politicians “Knock that off, and git’er done”.

Even in these times of displacement, there are opportunities being created. I’d love to see the news focus on that. Like the fact these displaced people are forming strong networks like I see every weekend when I go to the Job Connections meetings. Or that there are lots of opportunities being created for career counselors. And how about the opportunities created in the finance industry who can help people renegotiate their loans to save their houses.

To me this is the best part of this “down turn”: the opportunity each of us has to help our neighbor has increased, and that has always been the best part of us.

Think about how many more meaningful and real things you can do each day, and you’ll do as I have: turn toward the light and become grateful for your optimism.

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