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Be Positive

BY: Bernard Otabil

Time flies. We are already approaching the end of the year with only 70 days left for us to say goodbye to 2022. 

With a little over two months left, I deem it right to reflect on the days so far spent in the year and also encourage us all on what we can do with the days left. And by the way, have you had fun this year?

In the January 8 edition of this column, which was my first for the year, I set out to explain why you must get right into the things that drive your passion or what you want to do because if you want to wait for the perfect conditions to start, you will never get started. Perfect conditions are rare!

In part, this is what l wrote: “Welcome 2022! It is just a week into the New Year but l am sure you would be able to provide some guidance on what we should expect this year, wouldn’t you?

I bet you would. I am sure all your sentences would have some strong inferences about the pandemic and how its containment in the coming months was key to the outlook for growth. Of course, certainly, this is the common sense approach because we are on the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet there are still doubts as to whether we would be able to effectively deal with the scourge once and for all.

I wrote this at the time when the vaccines had brought hope but the new variant of the virus- Omicron- was inflicting further health, social and economic damage, even among the vaccinated population, leading to the conclusion that we were in an era of uncertain certainty!
But, in effect, while welcoming the challenges of the time, I was convinced that our human, market and economic resilience should see us through the difficulties.

You see, no matter what, in life, you will always face challenges but when your concentration is on positive things, nothing will move you to give up.
As l explained in the first edition of the year, there are never perfect conditions always “so be resolute and don’t drift off course in 2022 just because the narrative seems to be repeating all the time- and not in the line you expected.

The conditions you have no control over should not bother your sleep.
Yes, 70 days to the end of the year, l will repeat the words I used in the first edition of the year, that is, “the conditions you have no control over should not bother your sleep”.
“The best way to deal with all the problems that you see today, be they health, economic or social, is to have a purpose-driven life.

You must commit to live on purpose so that it becomes difficult for you to just stray off course because of a shift in some key assumptions that you have made”, l wrote this in that edition.

If you look back, maybe three years back, you will see all the broad issues that have affected most economies across the world. How different is this from the 70s or 80s? I think the word that has gained strong usage this year is “slow down”, as we have also witnessed this over the past three decades.
Apart from high inflation, a broad phenomenon that has affected all economies across the world, every other dimension of our economic life is always qualified with “slowdown”.

Look at this as an example: Global trade growth slowing down, economies in a growth slowdown, employment slowdown, manufacturing slowdown and high street sales slowdown, etc.
Now, the question is this: If you read the newspapers or followed online news sources and all that you read as headlines were slowdown, slowdown, how would you feel? Depressed? I hope not, and this is the reason.
Over the years, and based on research, there has never been the perfect condition to do anything. Have you tried to answer the question: What on Earth am I here for?
If you haven’t tried it today and you will realise that if you know the meaning and purpose of your life in broad terms, each day comes with its own opportunities and not just challenges.
In effect, enlightened self-interest helps you to not only seek your own interest but also what will help the broader society also.

The book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, gives very insightful meaning to the purpose of life so try and grab a copy for your library.

As for market turmoil, nobody can guarantee you that it won’t happen ever again so what you should rather concentrate on is what you have put in place to deal with such unforeseen situations.

In fact, at this point let me make a confession before l continue! I was highly influenced to write this week’s piece by a number of depressing global economic outlook stories that l read in the week. The Bretton Woods Institution concluded its Annual Meetings in the week, and there were a number of statements and reports issued in the process. The media went for the “topical” ones, those that alluded to a further “slowdown” in economic activity in 2023. This side of the story has gained prominence and l am sure it will be monitored for a long time too.

Reading that, l felt that this was the time for readers to understand that the current narrative does not mean that nothing will work even if you try. In fact, all you set out to do, if driven by purpose, desire and commitment will work, and the economic reports will only serve as a guide. Do you doubt this? Well, then read what follows for comfort: Many of the successful companies that you find today were all built in periods of economic downturn- Microsoft, Apple, Disney, CNN, Fortune magazine, GE, Hewlett Packard and many more.

Don’t be a pessimist, as you must always look at the bright side of life. Winston Churchill has a thing or two to say about pessimists. To Churchill, “a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

“Some confusion in life is understandable because we cannot think the same way all the time. Significantly too is the fact that since we have different orientations in life we will always have differences in the way we do things. You have to be alert, at all times, to be able to spot facts from fiction. It is a fact that the pandemic has crippled many aspects of our life but it becomes a fictional play when we deem the situation as hopeless”. l wrote this in the August 27 edition of this column. Now l am sure you can see what my thoughts are on life uncertainties! I am always positive. Are you?

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