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I've Had It With Gloom and Doom!

By Philip Humbert

Back in 1979, President Carter delivered what became known as his Malaise Speech. He listed the discouraging trends and negative beliefs and low expectations that were afflicting America. It was pretty disheartening! And, not surprisingly, it didn't seem to do him as President or the American people much good. Whining and complaining rarely help the situation! And yet in some ways, I'm ready to do the same thing.

I believe that to a huge degree, each of us creates the world in which we live. Our actions and our focus, combined with our beliefs, experiences and attitudes, work to create a world of joy or fear within which we must live. Obviously the world "out there" -- the world of other people and statistics and economics -- plays a role. But to a large degree, in the privacy of our own hearts and minds and actions, we pretty much create our own lives. And so I'm struck by the level of unhappiness, fear, even despair that I sense in the American people right now.

Partly, of course, it's just the dark, gloomy skies of Oregon. We have lots of clouds, some fog and rain, and our share of cold and damp this time of year. It's not awful compared to the blizzards of the Midwest, but it's not much fun, either. Yes, I could turn up the bright lights, laugh and enjoy some good food with friends, put on some happy music, dance a little and have more fun. That's the logical, productive response. But it's raining again so I think I'll pout for a while.

And besides that, I've been watching too many politicians and pundits on television. I know, it's a waste of time and I should have better habits and avoid the toxic stew of watching our "leaders" squabble like little kids. Shame on me! But it's like driving past a bad accident -- who doesn't slow down to gawk?

And finally, with the world economy in recession (or is it depression?), with inflation (or is it deflation?) on the rise, and no hope whatever for my business, my future or my retirement, I have good and legitimate reasons to whine! I think I'll just pout and wait and worry some more!

Or maybe not. Several years ago during a previous recession, a friend wrote that he'd decided "not to participate" in that recession. What a great line! At any given moment we have the power to choose our own attitudes and I'm about ready to take charge of mine! I'm just about frustrated enough and angry enough and annoyed enough to get off my a$$ and take charge of my own life! How about you?

In all seriousness, I think it's about time we had a massive change in attitude around here! In talks with clients, before an audience of business leaders last week, and from my sense of the news and television, I'm amazed at the amount of gloom and doom "out there." Aren't you sick of it?

I know I can't change Washington or the housing market or unemployment on a national scale. But in my own life, with my own business and with my time and attitude, with my friends and family and colleagues, it's time for some FUN!

It's time for optimism and some wild, crazy and "unreasonable" expectations! It's time for adventure and daring. It's time to take some risks, try some stuff, pull out the stops and make things happen! It's time for optimism, energy and laughter! It's time to "kill some dragons" and build some castles and make life a heck of a lot better, richer and more fun! This moping and whining through a recession, in the rain, in winter, just isn't working for me.

Even during the Great Depression, some people did well and a few did very well indeed! Even during the "gloomy season" here in Oregon, some people are having a good time, making music and making love. They're laughing, throwing parties and starting new business ventures. Sure, credit is tight so they're starting small. Sure, sales are down so they've adjusted. Sure, the politicians are probably going to keep right on squabbling like spoiled brats, but what has that got to do with me, my family and my future? NOTHING! (Or at worst, very little.)

Whether you're in the U.S. or someplace else on this small planet, here's my challenge: Take charge! Be the boss of your own life. Nothing in the economy prevents you from taking control of your health, or your happiness. The politicians cannot stop a determined individual from having fun, from being a loving, enthusiastic parent, a good spouse or a good neighbor. And nothing "out there" can prevent the human spirit from celebrating life!

Every year, Mary and I adopt a motto for the year. For next year we've adopted, "A little slice of Heaven in 2011!" I encourage you to join us. Or make up a slogan that suits you better, but do it boldly! The economists ("the gloomy profession"), the politicians and the news have little to do with your ability to survive, thrive, make a life and live well. Have some fun. Set your goals. And live with joy, love, confidence and abundance in 2011.

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