Enhanced Personal Optimism (EPO)

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?

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2 responses to “Enhanced Personal Optimism (EPO)

  1. Joan

    Louis, I do not believe you are a pessimist at heart. What is happening in this country, in the world right now is scarry stuff. We all live on credit in this country. We look at credit cards as “free money.” It is not free money. It is a loan that you are taking out every time you use the card, at a very high interest rate. We haven’t lived without credit in most of our lifetimes. We finance everything. And look at our government. Not exactly a role model for any of us. The government cannot fix things for us. We have to fix it. Greed and power have corrupted most of our large corporations. Now we have a mess on our hands that our great grandchildren will still have on their hands when we are long gone. Personally, I believe the market will come back. But let’s clean up our own messes first. Stop using credit. Save money for emergencies. Use cash or debit cards to pay for everything. Teach your children how to handle their money. As far as I am concerned, our schools should be teaching our children about financial responsibility from an early age. Your biggest wealth-building tool is your income. Start using a budget every month, where you place on paper every dollar that you are going to spend before the month begins. It takes a few months before you get used to it, but it works. We cannot change our poor spending habits at the top until we all start changing. I have heard all the doomsday prophecies out there. Frankly, I believe we will come out of this, but it is going to hurt and it is going to hurt for a long time. And it is time for all of us to make changes, including our government. Hopefully, Obama will lead by example. He certainly has a mess to clean up.

    • Nope, I’m not a pessimist. Just tend to lean in that direction from the middle. Totally agree with your comment. Obama will have his hands full getting us out of this mess. Still keeping my personal optimism on “11” and hoping for the best. AND, I’m taking care of a little business to in the event that things get worse before they get better.

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