I’ve got an ailment — and it’s called “bad economic news fatigue.”
I don’t know about you, but I am not sure what is worse: the bad economy or the incessant non-stop blaring of it in every news outlet, 24/7.
After sorting through my inbox, I came up with survey after survey, report after report, all pointing out how bad the economy is for small businesses like my own.
For instance, a recent Gallup Poll headline presents bad news: Small-Business Owners Cut Spending, Jobs as Revenues Fall.
The ADP Small Business Report has even more bad news, noting that small businesses lost 281.000 jobs during December 2008.
Now, I accept all this news as true - and valuable. I even read it (given that I devour small business studies and statistics like others snack on cookies and chips).
But one thing I try to do is not let it get inside my head too deeply, and turn me pessimistic. I’m beginning to get fatigued by all the bad economic news — and so is the typical entrepreneur and small business owner.
Any entrepreneur truly intent on being a success must be an optimist at heart. Realistic, yes. Head in the sand, no.
But optimistic, definitely.
I’ve been reading the autobiography of one of the great industrialists of the 19th century — of all time actually — Andrew Carnegie. He was an optimist at all times. In his autobiography he writes:
Now it would be easy to conclude that those are solipsistic words from someone who was one of the richest men in the world at his time.
But Andrew Carnegie, born in Scotland and emigrating to the United States in his teens, had less than an 8th grade education. His beginnings were the humblest, his family having to borrow money to make the passage to the United States.
Yet, by being ambitious and relentlessly seeking a better situation or the next new opportunity, he became one of the richest men in the world. He survived the Civil War and multiple economic “panics” and through it all each year he prospered more than the year before — despite the times.
Later he donated most of his fortune philanthropically to create such great institutions as libraries, museums and other public works that still carry his name more than a century later.
Would he have been able to amass his fortune and go on to do philanthropic work had he been a glass-half-empty person? I doubt it.
As entrepreneurs, we owe it to ourselves to remain optimistic and not get caught up too deeply in all the bad economic news. The other day on Twitter Seedubble tweeted me saying “Like seeing the positive tweets. Especially in these challenging times.” I can appreciate where he’s coming from — we all need to give ourselves permission to step away from the unrelenting bad news.