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Nov 25

Written by: Deborah D. McAdams
11/25/2008 8:25 AM  RssIcon

Welcome to a global economy based on three decades of delusional optimism; of positive thinkingDeborahMcAdams stripped of rigor and common sense, and rendered in empty aphorisms.

There is a pervasive notion in the culture that simply thinking something will make it so. If we visualize success, it shall materialize. Omm. If we speak only in terms considered positive, the price of real estate will forever escalate. If we smile all the time, we'll never get cancer.

If we're all good enough, and smart enough, and doggone it, people like us, we'll never actually have to do anything.

This philosophy infiltrated the business world and created a "make-it-happen" management technique employing vague edicts based on imaginary or arbitrary conditions. It typically demands an outcome unobtainable with available resources while not providing the necessary tools to achieve the outcome.

Like reaching the moon in a balsawood airplane, for example. Anyone in the balsa factory mentioning solid-rocket boosters or Newtonian law would get a Tony Robbins refresher, don't think they wouldn't.

ILL LOGIC
This Successories mindset took hold in part because it seemed to work, but that was merely insular deduction. Companies made money and the economy grew on credit, not affirmations. As long as Joe the Plumber could still buy stuff and pay it off, even the worst executives could fancy themselves financial geniuses without noticing they were riding the peak of an economic sine wave.

Unprepared for inevitable descent, those very same executives could think of nothing more creative than slashing jobs and holding down wages, exacerbating the very conditions they were trying to mitigate.

That type of creative atrophy is a hallmark of panglossianism. It fosters the notion that belief solves everything rather than the application of reason, logic, intellect and elbow grease. Unbridled optimism is plain lazy, and at its core, fearful of conditions that require growth and change.

Intelligent optimism, on the other hand, seeks opportunity in every circumstance. Averse conditions are not negative. They are simply averse, and require adaptation and orientation, which in turn requires study, focus and effort. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity to learn, grow and change, and what could possibly be more positive?

MAGIC, PERHAPS…
Now don't get me wrong. I don't go looking for big life lessons on purpose. I would gladly think my way into looking like Sophia Loren at 20 with an infinite string of zeros on my bank balance and one of those little dog things that hang out of purses in Beverly Hills. I want the economy to turn around, like everyone else. I want things to get good again so I can buy a red Tesla Roadster with my stock options.

But that ain't happening just because I hold it in my mind's eye. It's only going to happen if I identify and execute steps necessary to achieve the outcome, and then work my exit stage off to get there.

It may also be necessary that every man, woman and child on Earth has a retinal shift that makes me to look like Sophia Loren at 20, which I believe is possible, just in case it is. You never know…

but you can always get a clue.

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