Fear or Trust
Years ago as a young 26 year old entrepreneur in Atlanta I was invited to speak at an event where President Clinton was also speaking. As people mingled back stage I'll never forget watching him as he put his hand on the shoulder of the Governor and said, “It's all about psychology. You need to understand the psychology of the voters. It's all about psychology.” Not surprisingly Clinton and his team came up with the famous phrase, “It's the Economy Stupid.” They understood that psychology drives elections and the economy.
Fast forward to today, it's no wonder the financial markets continue to spiral downward. The 24/7 media is creating a frenzy of panic and fear that is negatively impacting the collective psychology of the country. I have heard from many people who are more stressed and fearful than they have ever been in their life. And like a horror movie where the things you fear start to appear, our collective fear is making our worst nightmare come true.
We need to realize that the economy is not some abstract entity separate from us. The economy is us. YOU and I are the economy. Our thoughts, behaviors, actions and mood collectively create the economy. Government can try to manipulate our actions through tax plans, regulations, incentives, etc. but in a nutshell WE are the economy. Our collective mood, productivity, innovation, positive energy and execution determines whether the economy is thriving or in a recession. Paying our mortgage helps the economy. Working hard helps the economy. Starting a business helps the economy. Making a product the world needs helps the economy. Replacing our psychology of fear with a psychology of trust helps the economy.
But how can I trust anything, you might ask, when everything I’ve trusted in is falling apart. My answer is that we’ve put our trust and faith in the wrong things. Our government, media, financial institutions and our own actions have shown us that a house built on a foundation of greed cannot stand. The cracks have been exposed and it's a wake up call to all of us. As Charles West said, “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” Our foundations are shaking for a reason. We are meant to realize that security is an illusion. There's no power in having a big bank account. You can’t find peace in your investment portfolio and you’ll never find your true purpose in your 401k plan.
We are meant to stop listening to the media, aka, Chicken Little and have faith in something bigger than ourselves. We are meant to trust in God, not in our balance sheets. We are meant to realize that true power exists not in what seems big and strong and secure but in what is silent and unseen. This is where faith lives.
So instead of starting your morning by turning on the news, consider taking a walk of prayer. Instead of looking down at the paper, look up to the heavens. And instead of listening to the fear mongers, walk outside, close your eyes, smell the fresh autumn air, take a few deep breaths and discover the real peace you seek. Every day, stay positive, do your best to succeed and have faith in a brighter and better future. I believe this is the antidote to fear and it is the true kind of trust that you, me and the economy need right now.