The other day, I was challenged by an interesting question from producers and agricultural lenders participating in a seminar. “How does one stay positive in economic times when there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, or the light is a locomotive bearing down on you?” Well, just like the lyrics sung by the Mamas and the Papas, “And the darkest hour is just before dawn.” Let’s hope so! Surely, the sun will be rising on agriculture. The following are a few tips for staying positive during these tough economic times.
First, examine the attitudes of the people with whom you surround yourself. Do they have a positive attitude, seeing the cup half-full, or do they see it half-empty? Your net worth, both financially and mentally, is directly correlated with your network, the people with whom you associate.
Shut off the television and be judicious on your use of social media. In today’s world, extreme views are being highlighted and sometimes result in one losing focus. Yes, everyoneneeds to have views and they need to be expressed; however, one must put those comments in the context of your life.
Never forget about the power of the wisdom of older people. One of my favorite activities was riding through the hayfield overlooking the valley where I live with my landlord Bob. Bob was a common man, a logger, and a farmer. He lived through the Spanish flu where he lost three brothers in three days, The Great Depression, World War II, the radical period in the 1970s, the 1980s farm crisis, and 9/11. Bob’s wisdom was simple; enjoyment is often not materialistic. His favorite activities were listening to rain on a tin roof, the smell of fresh cut hay, and counting the round bales in the field after we were all done making hay. Take the time to enjoy the simple things in life.
Everyone needs a one lane bridge or tunnel. In my travels, these structures bring out the best patience and courtesy from others. Often, a wave of the hand and a smile is received. In today’s high-tech world, occasionally slowing down for a neighbor or a stranger can provide a positive experience.
Another method to stay positive is to take care of and invest in yourself. Daily exercise can lift your spirits. Reading a good book, listening to music, or watching a video can cheer up your psychology. Taking time to reflect and hear the silence can be a powerful endorphin.
Finally, give back. A friend of mine just returned from a mission trip in Guatemala with his church’s youth group. He indicated that this was very uplifting. The trip gave him a new appreciation for what this country has to offer. He commented that it was interesting to see how the attitudes and outlook of the young group changed overnight.
Hopefully, as the days become shorter you can pause to enjoy life’s pleasures and dwell on the positive.
For more from Dr. Kohl, follow his "Road Warrior" blogs.