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The Positive Mental Attitude Myth Unchained

First, why would someone who writes and speaks predominately on business and economic trends write an article like this?  Read on to discover the inter-relatedness of basic economics and human behavior.

If you use the modern definition of economics, i.e.,“ the science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities”, then you would have a valid point.  But, by using the classical definition of economics —- “the study of human behavior in its historical setting” — this article becomes more clearly understood. In addition, an understanding of the classic definition yields the somewhat surprising revelation that economics is as much psychology as it is methodology.

As both economic and political humans, we live and work in an environment that is in constant motion or movement.  This movement is, by its nature, turbulent.  There are several consequences of this.

The first is that turbulent motion has no predictability.  In other words, you do not know where it is going or what the results will be.  A good example of this would be the stock market.  How many “experts” eventually wind up with “egg on their face”?   Therefore, in the business of life do not make any detailed plans.  Plan only in broad strokes and even then your plans will shift and change.  The old saying when man plans God laughs is still true.  In other words, if something can go wrong, it probably will.  The second consequence is more oriented towards this article.

As individuals, we are immersed in an economic and business environment that is in constant flux leading to confusion and insecurity.  Therefore, how can one always maintain a positive attitude?  You simply can’t.  Human beings are not designed that way.  Your attitude, like your environment, is perpetually in motion.  If maintaining a positive attitude is not the most important criterion for success and advancement, then what is?

The primary criterion that separates success from failure is action, namely Positive Action.  Your attitude or state-of-mind will fluctuate.  So what!  Nothing is static forever.

What do I mean by positive action?  More specifically, what positive actions should you take?

In some of my business presentations, I explore a few of the great business myths that dominate our thinking.  One of the more interesting being the widely accepted belief that the purpose of any investment is to make money.  NOT TRUE!  The purpose of any investment is to increase your NET WORTH.  There is a big difference between thinking in terms of making money and increasing your net worth.  Thinking in terms of net worth forces you to think more rationally and on a longer time horizon.  The term “investment” here can encompass your business, your family, and even your community.  By increasing the value of your investment, you increase its net worth.

Revisiting the inquiry, “what positive actions should you take”?  Take the necessary actions today that will increase the future net worth of your investment (business, career, etc.).

From a business perspective, there is another important point to consider.  In this highly competitive and turbulent economy, building the value of your business can be achieved by focusing on increasing the free cash flow of your enterprise.  Free cash flow is the “real money” after all expenses that can be returned to the owners of the business.  The value of a business is directly correlated to its free cash flow.  By building the cash flow of the business, you now have the resources – the means– to take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves.  What applies to a business can also be extrapolated to you as an individual.

Famous Amos, the chocolate chip cookie king, had two words to express his business philosophy.  Those two words are “Do It”.  Taking the necessary actions to build the value of your investment will always be of paramount importance.  Good fortune favors the boldAttitude follows action.

May you grow and prosper!

Sanford Kahn is a Business Author and Professional Speaker. His latest book is The Rebellion of a Rogue-Raged EconomistThe book is available on most popular book web sites (amazon.com).  He can be contacted at sanford16@yahoo.com