Categories for Optimism

Healthy (and Less Healthy) Responses to the Economic Situation

As a psychologist, I naturally find myself observing people’s behavior — their choices, what they are saying, and how they are feeling.  And this is the case now, in the midst of the difficult economic times in which we find ourselves (I am consciously choosing not to use the term “financial crisis”.) There are three core aspects to any situation that involves human perception and response: Reality.  What actually “is” — the facts of the situation. (Using a non-related example: the temperature — which is about 30 degrees F. on a mid March day.) Perceptions. How people perceive, view, and... Continue reading...

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March 12, 2009 10:46 am
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Psychology & Wealth – A Collage of Recent Research

The Dark Side of WealthI have been collecting some articles on psychology and wealth from a variety of journals I receive, and recently there was a group of articles published in the Monitor of Psychology which is published by the American Psychological Association.  I thought I would briefly share some of the information reported. One article in the January 2009 Monitor entitled “Mind over money” was an interview with Dr. Paul Zak who is the founder of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies.  He is the author of a recent book, Moral Markets: The Critical Role of Values in the Economy... Continue reading...

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January 19, 2009 7:30 pm
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Dealing with the Impact of the Economic Downturn

Almost all of us in the United States are now starting to personally experience some aspect of the global and national economic crisis.  Whether it is through a personal or family job loss, friends and extended family members who have been laid off, a slow down in your business, or projected reduced sales for next year — the impact is now personal.  This is different than hearing it on the news or reading statistics in a publication. I resent the frenzy and panic the media seems to want to whip up, because this type of communication doesn’t help anyone.  We... Continue reading...

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December 7, 2008 2:17 pm
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Principles for Leading Effectively During Times of Financial Turmoil

This past week the business editor of my local newspaper called and asked me to write a column for business leaders regarding the current financial turmoil. The following is the article I wrote, and which can also be viewed at the newspaper’s website. Few current business leaders have had to navigate the turbulent waters of economic difficulties that we find ourselves in today. But we can learn from those who have studied accomplished leaders and identified characteristics of successful companies that have weathered difficult times. Richard Peterson, who researches the neurological responses associated with financial decisions, says there is a... Continue reading...

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October 5, 2008 1:44 pm
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Antidote to Stressful News

Major (repeated) upheaval in the financial markets.  Hurricane Ike.  Flooding across the Midwest.  Concerns about who will be elected President (from both sides). Bombings in Pakistan.  Political turmoil in Bolivia and Venezuela.  The negative, worry-producing news keeps coming. What’s a person to do?  Ignore it?  Stress out?  Drink more? (I heard a news report that beer and wine sales are up significantly in the last 6 months.) Previously, I have written about the role of thankfulness and gratitude in helping us live more contentedly. Rather than pontificate on the subject further, I thought I would share the things in my... Continue reading...

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September 21, 2008 6:45 pm
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Optimism, Hope, Perseverance and Success

This week I have been reflecting on the role of optimism and hope in life and business. (These thoughts aren’t real “deep” or well-developed, but rather some initial musings.) In the past 10+ years there has been a significant movement within psychology that focuses on the positive side of life (aptly named, positive psychology; see the work by Martin Seligman and others.) This was partly in reaction to psychology and psychiatry’s historical focus on problems — mental illness, psychiatric disorders, dysfunctional relationships, etc. But it was from the realization that a core aspect of many successful people’s lives was their... Continue reading...

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March 30, 2008 7:13 pm
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