I am staying positive in these difficult economic times by using Enhanced Personal Optimism (EPO). EPO is not my New Year’s resolution. I created EPO a couple of months ago when the economy and the market began to implode in a big way. I decided it was important to keep my feeling of internal well being positive in spite of my dark thoughts about the US economy. What I tell people is that I now keep my EPO volume on “eleven”. You know, one more than ten. If I have to explain that, see the movie Spinal Tap and you will understand. Everyone has seen Spinal Tap right?
I think of myself as a realist with a pessimistic leaning. I try to see things as clearly as I can, but I notice that I often focus a little too much on the negative, and that those negative things often don’t come to pass. I like to plan for the worst and hope for the best. I think planning for the worst is not a bad idea, because if the worst does occur, at least one has considered it, or perhaps even prepared for it and is more likely to handle it well. If the worst doesn’t happen, there is probably not much time and/or energy wasted.
One could say that planning for the worst is negative thinking and not constructive. I disagree. Though we often don’t plan for the worst, we all take precautions in case bad things do happen. It’s why we buy house or car insurance. We are not planning for the worst, but we protecting ourselves in case something bad happens. Suppose we total our car? Or our house burns down? We are financially covered. Or how about health insurance? We don’t expect to get sick or have something major go wrong with our bodies, and yet we pay a lot of money, just in case something does happen. So, in a way, we may not be planning for the worst, but we are definitely taking precautions in the event that something bad does happen.
The reason why I am writing about this is because I am not optimistic about 2009. That doesn’t mean that I am failing to keep up my EPO. As I said, my personal optimism is on “eleven”. I keep it there so that my thoughts of worst case scenarios of what might happen in the U.S. as a result of this financial meltdown we are experiencing do not affect my personal feeling of well being in the present moment. When I think about these worst case scenarios, I direct the thinking and don’t allow the thinking to affect my mood. I believe things will get a lot worse before they get better, if they ever do get better. There is the possibility that the lifestyles that we have enjoyed in the past 50 years in America are over for good and that our lives may become much more difficult in the coming year(s). If that does come to pass, I will be ready. Will you?