Friday, October 10, 2008

Why Positive Thinking Won't Beat The Recession

Many commentators are encouraging business owners to REFUSE to participate in the coming economic recession.

I completely disagree.

Here is the reality: We ARE ALL participating in this recession because we are all alive and part of this world and economy we live in.

Those who do well in a crisis FACE reality head-on. It is common sense. It is also what responsible research has found.

Let me say it again: there "ain't any stinkin' positive thinkin'" anywhere to be found when you look at research on how super-resilient people handle crises.

Based on Kathryn Cramer, Ph.D.'s research on super-resilient people

Stage 1 has two steps that should be done simultaneously: FIRST: assess honestly how the economic crisis affects you -- face facts -- and start to brainstorm about what you need to do to protect yourself. DON'T RUSH INTO ACTION....but just come up with ideas. SECOND: Control any panic reactions you are having (remember that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself.")

When panic reactions are under control -- then you can look at your defensive ideas and start to implement them, stage 2. Failure to take comprehensive defensive early means the crisis can still drag you down. And you can start brainstorming about what you might do now that your old plans are out the window.

Once you have implemented your protective measures, you can start in stage 3 to make decisions about what opportunities or actions would be in your best interest to move on in life.

In stage 4 you start implementing your decisions and tracking your progress.

Positive thinking about real estate values and stock prices is a lot of what got us in this crisis. Realism is what is going to get us out of it.

For detailed techniques for each stage and copious research citations, see the book Staying on Top When Your World Turns Upside Down by Katherine Cramer, Ph.D., available through Amazon.


Elizabeth (Beth) LaMie said...

I also heard the assinine statement on one of the news shows that we all just need to refuse to acknowledge the coming recession.

Easy to say something stupid like that, but worthless as far as helping anyone. Your suggestion are much more practical and will hopefully help at least a few responsible people.

Thanks for some common-sense alternatives.

Jo-Lynne said...

Kathy Cramer is spot-on. During an economic crisis we tend to start Deficit Based thinking. Staying the course with Asset Based thinking we are able to think clearly, consider our options and not panic.

Susan Kuhn Frost said...

Beth and Jo-Lynn,

Thanks for your comment, and Jo-Lynn thanks for mentioning Kathy's newer work on "asset based thinking." I do believe that her balanced approach of recognizing both threats and opportunities is what positions one to succeed in a tough situation.

Paying attention to threats prevents them from sabotaging us down the road. And it makes us feel safer so we can see those great opportunties that are always there when things look bleakest.

Positive thinking is greatly overrated. Asset-based thinking is another matter! Kathy Cramer is one of my favorites!

@JeanAnnVK said...

I agree...realism is important. I am worried, tho, that people are going to fall into paralyzing negativity...definitely a balance between realistic and gloom and doom.

Thanks for injecting some much needed insight into this time of great fear...

Susan Kuhn Frost said...

Jenna, thanks. I agree that the fear of paralysis is real; that is why dealing with any panic-related emotions should come first. I'm not sure what is a bigger mistake, fear-driven paralysis or fear-driven action. So calming fear is the first order of business, along with reducing your vulnerability to the crisis. Then -- let the creativity begin!

Josten Aka Jobie said...

The reason why people say positive thinking will not beat the recession is because the way things have been going have made people negative constantly. I mean honestly if people would stop believing everything they see and hear on tv.