Steven B. Weintz
THROUGHOUT RECORDED HISTORY there have always been miserable, unhappy people eagerly telling us that the world is coming to an end. When times are good, when our bills are paid and we have money in our pocket, most of us brush past the zealot on the street wailing, “Repent! The end is at hand!”
But in times of recession, when things get tough, we become vulnerable. We doubt, we become fearful, and then the thought occurs to us: “Maybe that guy on the street corner with a shaved head wearing a bathrobe and flip-flops knows something I don’t. Maybe the world is coming to an end.”
Public fear surges and converts to panic when the message is delivered not by some recognizable kook, but by the mainstream media. Day after day–for several years now–we have heard this message broadcast and read it in the printed media: We continue to be in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The danger is, what we think is what we become, as individuals, families, towns, states and nations.
Indeed, the reality is that we don’t have to look far to become fearful and depressed. Unless you are visiting from another planet and have just landed, it is hard to have missed today’s headlines: continued high unemployment, a sluggish economy, our national deficit, the political bickering in Washington, the continued housing crisis–intrinsically linked with the troubled banking industry, the continued war in Afghanistan, and finally, the downturn in other foreign economies–proof the world is indeed a smaller place to live. There’s just no getting on a boat, like Christopher Columbus, and sailing to some New World.
At the same time, I would suggest that we need to distinguish between our problems and our outlook and attitude. What we think about on a consistent basis is what we manifest. Our collective thoughts are our destiny. Motivational speaker and author Napoleon Hill wrote: “Fear of poverty is a state of mind, nothing else! But it is sufficient to destroy one’s chances of achievement in any undertaking. This fear paralyzes the faculty of reason, destroys the faculty of imagination, kills off self-reliance, undermines enthusiasm, discourages initiative, leads to uncertainly of purpose … and invites failure on every conceivable front.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt understood the power of the national mindset and consciousness, which led him to speak familiar words worth repeating: “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself–nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Of course, we live in a different time and era. Life, we believe, is more complex. Our problems appear to be harder to grasp and understand. FDR didn’t have the challenge of explaining derivatives and terrorist networks to the American public.
However irritating the cliché might be, the thought “this too shall pass” comes to mind, and I am grateful that (with the exception so far of hurricane Irene that spared South Carolina) nature has taken no notice of all the economic, political and social turmoil. The tides continue to rise and fall with predictable comfort. There’s a hint of fall in the air to go along with college football games, state fairs and the pending holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, a New Year–a new hope.
I, for one, am looking forward to fall surf fishing on Bull Island. And maybe a weekend escape north to see fall foliage. Maybe I’ll get a cabin somewhere remote out in the woods where there is no cell service, no newspaper, not even a television.
I would suggest we all need a break, to pause and give thanks for what is good in our lives and to take a collective breath of fresh air. I also highly suggest indulging in a bowl of Edy’s French Silk chocolate mocha ice cream. It says on the label that it has half the fat and a third fewer calories–reason enough for me to have one more scoop. Life is good.
Steve Weintz is a freelance writer and president of SBW Ventures Inc., a business development consulting firm. You can visit his Web site at www.sbwventuresinc.com.